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, February 25, 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. 

          I clearly remember a few years ago sitting with some couples who were several years older than I was.  They were talking about retirement and how they had also retired from all their responsibilities at church.  They said that it was time to step aside and let somebody else do it.  I was really taken back by this discussion and while I just listened, I thought how can one retire from serving the Lord, especially when there are so many opportunities and needs all around us.    
          Now I realize that as one gets older there are some things that become more difficult to do, especially with physical changes.  But one can adjust and find ways to use the gifts that God has given.  And retirement does provide more time to serve the Lord.  Retirement in the Lord's work should not be an option.  Readjustment may be a better choice.  
          Unfortunately, while I have been talking about older folks, the very same problem exists with others who are much younger.  All sorts of things attract us and take us away from serving the Lord.   Boats, cabins, races, sports, vacations, family, hobbies take us away from serving and worshipping on Sunday.  Jobs, activities, recreation, hobbies limit our availability to serve during the week.  More and more we have to hire professionals to cover areas of service and outreach once done by volunteers.  Maybe we need to memorize and daily quote John 9:4, "As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent Me. Night is coming, when no one can work."  But do we really believe that.
            Is the night coming soon?  I think so.  It may have been that verse that was behind the writing of this week's hymn, "We'll Work Till Jesus Comes". Sometimes dated 1829, the text was written by an unknown author. In many books the song appears as "Anonymous." Some authorities believe that it is from the American folk tradition. 
          In other books, it is attributed to Mrs. Elizabeth King Mills (1805-1829). The daughter of Philip King, she married Thomas Mills, who was a Member of Parliament. No other information about her is available, except that she was a poet who produced what was once a well known hymn, "We Speak of the Realms of the Blest."  But no matter who wrote it, this hymn reminds us of the urgency of serving, while we still can. 
          The stanzas share the story of the Christian's pilgrimage from earth to heaven. In stanza 1 we are told that heaven is a land of rest for which we sigh. In stanza 2 we are told that in contrast this earth is not our home.  In stanza 3 we are told that, therefore, we must flee to Jesus Christ for our rest.  In stanza 4 we are told that Christ will help us through death.  In stanza 5 we are told that finally our tears shall be wiped away.  But the refrain sounds out the commitment, we'll work till Jesus comes ... and we'll be gathered home! 
           Have you "retired" from serving the Lord faithfully?  Maybe this week we need to renew our commitment to serve and share the Gospel with the many that need the good news.  The night is rapidly approaching when we can work no more.


(1)    O land of rest, for thee I sigh!

When will the moment come

When I shall lay my armor by

And dwell in peace at home?

We'll work till Jesus comes,

We'll work till Jesus comes,

We'll work till Jesus comes,

And we'll be gathered home.


(2)"No tranquil joys on earth I know, 

No peaceful, sheltering dome.

This world's a wilderness I know; 

This world is not my home."

We'll work till Jesus comes,

We'll work till Jesus comes,

We'll work till Jesus comes,

And we'll be gathered home.


(3)   To Jesus Christ I fled for rest;

He bade me cease to roam,

And lean for comfort on His breast

Till He conduct me home.

We'll work till Jesus comes,

We'll work till Jesus comes,

We'll work till Jesus comes,

And we'll be gathered home.


(4)    I sought at once my Savior's side;

No more my steps shall roam.

With Him I'll brave death's chilling tide

And reach my heav'nly home.

We'll work till Jesus comes,

We'll work till Jesus comes,

We'll work till Jesus comes,

And we'll be gathered home.


(5)    Our tears shall all be wiped away, 

When we have ceased to roam;

And we shall hear our Father say, 

'Come, dwell with Me at home.'"

We'll work till Jesus comes,

We'll work till Jesus comes,

We'll work till Jesus comes,

And we'll be gathered home.


Listen to it being sung here.   LISTEN


Sunday, February 18, 2024


          Isaac Watts was truly one of the great hymn writers of all time.  He is said to have written over 600 hymns, 52 other works, including a book of logic used widely in universities, and on grammar, astronomy, philosophy and geography.  But in addition to his scholarly books, he wrote most of his hymns in his early twenties. 
          In 1739 he suffered a stroke that left him able to speak but unable to write.  A secretary was provided to transcribe his dictated poems and books.  But over the years he became increasingly weak and eventually bedridden.   He died in 1748.
          Apparently, he was not a very handsome man.  Standing five feet fall, he had an outsized head and a prominent nose.  His skin was tallowy.  One woman, Elizabeth Singer, having never met him face-to-face, fell in love with him through his hymns and poems.  But when she met him she was unsettled.   He fell in love with her but she couldn't bring herself to marry him.  Later she said "I only wish I could admire the casket (Jewelry box) as much as I admire the jewel."
          And, unfortunately that was the end of that brief romance.
          This particular hymn was one of the first written by Watts.  It was inspired by Psalm 46.  "The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge." Psalm 46:7
          God is our refuge, 
our safe place, our retreat, the place we go when we are afraid. And there is a lot of fear going around today. God is also our strength or "power." This is the same word that Jesus uses in in Acts 1:8 when he promises to give us "power" with the coming of the Holy Spirit who now lives within us.
But in the midst of these anxieties, we are reminded that we have the strong refuge, our loving God as we read Psalm 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Here God is presented as a refuge and fortress for His people in a time of earthly upheaval.

           Centuries may have passed but God is still the refuge of His saints. He provides sweet peace and new strength to fainting souls.

           Dear saint may He be your refuge today.

 Listen to it here.   REFUGE


God is the refuge of His saints,
When storms of sharp distress invade;
Ere we can offer our complaints,
Behold Him present with His aid.

Let mountains from their seats be hurled
Down to the deep, and buried there;
Convulsions shake the solid world:
Our faith shall never yield to fear.

Loud may the troubled ocean roar;
In sacred peace our souls abide;
While every nation, every shore,
Trembles, and dreads the swelling tide.

There is a stream, whose gentle flow
Supplies the city of our God,
Life, love, and joy, still guiding through,
And wat'ring our divine abode.

That sacred stream-Thy holy Word-
That all our raging fear controls;
Sweet peace Thy promises afford,
And give new strength to fainting souls.

Zion enjoys her Monarch's love,
Secure against a threatening hour;
Nor can her firm foundations move,
Built on His truth, and armed with power.



Sunday, February 11, 2024


          Many hymns have unusual backgrounds.  Such is this hymn penned in 1707 by a young man, Isaac Watts, when he was only about 20.
          The author's father, Isaac Watts, Sr., was a clothier and a deacon in the Above Bar Congregational Church in Southampton, England.  He and his wife, Sarah, were "Dissenters", Non-Anglicans.  This was a treasonous offense in those days.  About the time that their son prematurely arrived, the elder Watts was arrested.  It is said that Sarah nursed her newborn son while seated on a stone outside the prison.

          After Watts was released, they discovered that they had a very gifted son. He loved books. He learned Latin at age four, Greek at nine and Hebrew at thirteen.  He loved rhyme and verse and wrote poetry.
          After Isaac graduated from grammar school, a wealthy friend offered to send him to school in Oxford.  But he declined since that would have required his becoming Anglican.  Instead, he enrolled in a college level school for Dissenters in Stoke Newington, London.  There he excelled.
         After graduation from college, he returned to Southampton.  There he complained to his father about the dismal singing at church.  Only arrangements of the Psalms were used.  Martin Luther taught his followers to sing hymns, but John Calvin allowed only the singing of the scriptures. Watts argued with his father that singing only the Psalms made them miss important New Testament truth.  His father then challenged him to write a hymn.
          Centering his thoughts on Revelation 5, he did so.  This week's hymn is his first.  Once his congregation was convinced of what Isaac was saying, he began turning out a new hymn each week.  This hymn reveals the amazing breadth of his Biblical knowledge. There are allusions to many Scriptural passages.
           Watts went on to write over 600 hymns, earning him the title of "Father of English Hymnody."

1      Behold the glories of the Lamb
amidst His Father's throne!
amidst His Father's throne!
Prepare new honors for His name,
and songs before unknown,
and songs before unknown.

2     Let elders worship at His feet,
the church adore around,
the church adore around,
with vials full of odors sweet,
and harps of sweeter sound,
and harps of sweeter sound.

3    "Worthy the Lamb that died," they cry,
"to be exalted thus,
to be exalted thus!"
"Worthy the Lamb," let us reply,
"for He was slain for us,
for He was slain for us."

4    Now to the Lamb that once was slain
be endless blessings paid;
be endless blessings paid;
salvation, glory, joy, remain
forever on Thy head,
forever on Thy head.

5    Thou hast redeemed our souls with blood,
hast set the pris'ners free,
hast set the prisoners free,
hast made us kings and priests to God,
and we shall reign with Thee,
and we shall reign with Thee.

6    To Him who sits upon the throne,
the God whom we adore,
the God whom we adore,
and to the lamb that once was slain,
be glory evermore,
be glory evermore.

Listen to this old hymn being sung.   BEHOLD


Sunday, February 4, 2024


Once a month I take time to share one of my favorite hymns.  This month I have chosen What A Friend We Have In Jesus" which has been a personal favorite of mine for years.


          Some hymns are my favorites because of the lyrics, some because of the melody, and some because of the story of its writing.  "What a Friend We Have In Jesus" qualifies for me in all three categories.

          I have found Him faithful in bearing my sins and griefs and giving me peace in return.  Truly He knows my every weakness and He shares all my sorrows.  He shields me and is my source of solace in this crazy world.  What a friend He is to me!  And I can always go to Him and He is there.  The words are my testimony and that makes it a favorite.

          But the story behind the hymn also makes it a favorite.  Joseph Medlicott Scriven was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1819. He fell for a lovely young woman, but on the eve of their wedding she accidentally drowned. Scriven never recovered from the shock. 

         The Irishman began to wander, hoping to forget his sorrow. At age 25, he finally settled in Canada. His faith led him to do menial tasks for poor widows and the sick and He often worked for no wages. He later fell in love again and planned to marry a wonderful Canadian woman. But again, tragedy struck. His fiance died after contracting pneumonia. 

          In 1855, a friend visited an ill Scriven and discovered a poem that he had written for his ailing mother in faraway Ireland. Scriven didn't have the money to visit her, but he sent her the poem as an encouragement. He called it "Pray Without Ceasing." Scriven never intended for the poem to be published, but it made its rounds, and was set to music in 1868 by musician Charles Converse, who titled it "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." Scriven died in 1886, ironically, in an accidental drowning. In his memory, the town of Port Hope Ontario erected a monument with this inscription from Scriven's famous song: "In His arms He'll take and shield thee. Thou wilt find a solace there". 

          Since its publication, this music has been a real inspiration and comfort to many. Possibly today you are facing a trial and need a friend. Jesus is there to bear that burden for you. Just take it to Him in prayer.

(1) What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our

sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry everything to

God in prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit, O what

needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry everything to

God in prayer.


(2) Have we trials and temptations? Is

there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged; take it to

the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful who will

all our sorrows share?

Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to

the Lord in prayer.


(3) Are we weak and heavy laden,

cumbered with a load of care?

Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to

the Lord in prayer.

Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take

it to the Lord in prayer!

In His arms He'll take and shield you; you

will find a solace there.

Listen to it here.  LISTEN