Posted by: rcottrill | June 26, 2017

No Disappointment in Heaven

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Frederick Martin Lehman (b. Aug. 7, 1868; d. Feb. 20, 1953)
Music: Frederick Lehman, with harmony by his daughter, Claudia Faustina Lehman Mays (b. July 15, 1892; d. Feb. 19, 1973)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Frederick Lehman was born in Germany. His family moved to the United States in 1872, at first living in a little one-room log cabin in Iowa. He trusted Christ as his Saviour in boyhood, and went on to a long and active ministry as a pastor, an editor, a gospel song writer and music publisher. He gave us the beautiful hymn The Love of God.

Hundreds of years ago the word “disappointment” meant: to remove from office, as in: the senator broke the law, so he lost his appointed position. Today, the word describes feelings and attitudes when someone lets us down, or something fails meet our expectations.

There is a sense of loss involved, and perhaps we feel sadness, or frustration over it. In the wake of a disappointment, we can also be discouraged and lose hope for the future.

In Greek mythology, Tantalus is said to have displeased the gods. As a punishment, he was condemned to stand forever in a pool whose waters fled whenever he stooped to drink. Above his head was a tree bearing luscious fruit, but the branches always shifted away when he reached for some. It becomes an apt parable of perpetual disappointment.

In our lives, many expectations carry with them such a possibility. That’s because we’re dealing with fallible human beings, in a broken world. Peggy Noonan is an acclaimed author and columnist with the Wall Street Journal. Years ago she served as a speech writer for President Ronald Reagan. But she wrote more recently, “Don’t fall in love with politicians, they’re all a disappointment. They can’t help it, they just are.”

So, is there anything positive about these painful feelings? Yes, there can be. And Noonan’s words illustrate it. Perhaps our hopes need to be adjusted to reality. To think that voting one man or woman into office is going to solve society’s ills is naive. We need to temper our expectations with a better knowledge of how things are. Politicians are only human after all, and they often have to deal with complex problems for which there is no perfect solution.

Disappointment tests our goals and values, to show whether they need to be refined. In that sense, it can become a blessing in disguise. If we are able to learn from the past and get a better understanding of future possibilities, the present may become a bridge between disappointment and renewed hope.

Church ministry has its own challenges and struggles. Bob Dale, a pastoral ministry consultant, notes that there are three particular periods in a clergyman’s ministry that are often especially difficult. The first comes early on, when some of the idealistic dreams of seminary days are hit by a dose of reality. The second comes around age forty, when the pastor realizes he hasn’t reached many goals he set for himself. And the third comes later, when he faces the insecurity of retirement years.

Pastor Frederick Lehman was going through some of these things at the age of forty-six. He and his family were apparently facing some financial troubles. In addition, he says, “As I sat disconsolately at my desk one Monday morning, after a particularly disappointing Sunday, Satan helped me to count my disappointments.”

These thoughts may be what the Bible describes as “fiery darts of the wicked one,” darts of disappointment and blame. Against them, we are to raise up “the shield of faith” for our protection (Eph. 6:16)–faith in the great promises of God. When Pastor Lehman did that, he reports, “The Spirit flashed a picture into my brain of what a Christian’s prospects were to be after this life is over. Like a panorama I saw beyond the disappointments in this vale of tears.”

The book of Revelation describes some of the things that will be missing in heaven: sorrow, crying, pain, and death (Rev. 21:4). The trials of this life are put in perspective as we contemplate the blessings to come (II Cor. 4:17). As he thought on these things, Lehman took up his pen and wrote words and melody for a gospel song called No Disappointment in Heaven.

CH-1) There’s no disappointment in heaven,
No weariness, sorrow or pain;
No hearts that are bleeding and broken,
No song with a minor refrain.
The clouds of our earthly horizon
Will never appear in the sky,
For all will be sunshine and gladness,
With never a sob or a sigh.

I’m bound for that beautiful city,
My Lord has prepared for His own;
Where all the redeemed of all ages
Sing “Glory!” around the white throne;
Sometimes I grow homesick for heaven,
And the glories I there shall behold;
What a joy that will be when my Saviour I see,
In that beautiful city of gold.

Questions:
1) What disappointments are you currently dealing with in your life?

2) How has the Lord brought encouragement to you?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | June 23, 2017

There Is No Death

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Oswald Jeffrey Smith (b. Nov. 8, 1889; d. Jan. 25, 1986)
Music: Charles Austin Miles (b. Jan. 7, 1868; d. Mar. 10, 1946)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Oswald Smith born, died)
The Cyber Hymnal (Oswald Smith)
Hymnary.org

Note: Oswald Smith wrote over a thousand poems and hymns. From 1915 to 1959, he served as the pastor of Peoples Church in Toronto, Canada. He received a letter from Austin Miles on November 22, 1939, who was impressed with his poem There Is No Death, and who wrote the music for it, and had it published that same year.

Who is the oldest person you know? Likely many of us are acquainted with someone who has reached the century mark, or even surpassed it by a few years. (Most who do are women.) And living much beyond that is extremely rare.

The oldest person in modern times whose date of birth has been verified is a French woman named Jeanne Calment (1875-1997). She lived 122 years and 164 days. Canadian Mary Ray (1895-2010) lived 114 years and 294 days. Recently, the last known person to be born in the nineteenth century died. As far as official records show, there is no one left alive who was born in 1899 or before.

In the early days of human history, the Bible tells us of some individuals who lived for nearly a thousand years. Adam lived 930 years (Gen. 5:3-4), and Methuselah 969 years (Gen. 5:27)–the longest of any person on record. Some have been skeptical of this longevity, but several things must be kept in mind.

¤ In the days before sin entered human experience, conditions were optimal (cf. Gen. 1:31), and only gradually deteriorated afterward.

¤ The climate was uniformly ideal, there was no pollution, and human DNA was in pristine condition.

¤ Further, God wanted to populate the earth rapidly, so that man could have dominion over it, and take care of it for Him (Gen. 1:28).

¤ Also, He wanted a means to transmit His message to man accurately, before it was written down. Because His revelation passed through fewer generational links, early on, this was facilitated. (Methuselah may have lived long enough to have known both Adam and Noah.)

After the flood of Noah’s time, the climate became more harsh, and other conditions deteriorated rapidly. The common age of human beings dropped accordingly. Abraham died at the age of 175 (Gen. 25:7), and Moses at 120 (Deut. 34:7), and he speaks of a common limit in his time of seventy or eighty years (Ps. 90:10).

The Bible is filled with a litany of death from the time of Adam onward, yet it makes this remarkable statement: “Christ…has abolished death” (II Tim. 1:10). What? No death? Of course, many deaths are recorded in Scripture, including that of Jesus Himself, though He rose again. But the text is speaking of life beyond the grave. The Lord Jesus declared:

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die [physically], he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (Jn. 11:25-26).

“Whoever believes in Him should not perish [come to eternal ruin] but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:15).

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never [not under any circumstances] perish” (Jn. 10:28).

Oswald Smith wrote an unusual hymn about that called There Is No Death. Before we see some of the words, here’s how Dr. Smith spoke about himself and his destiny.

“Some day you will hear that Oswald Smith is dead. Don’t you believe it. At that moment I will be more alive than ever, for I have an indestructible life….Men may destroy my body, but they cannot kill me. They may damage the house in which I live, but I am immortal. Cut off my arms if you will, but I am still alive. Sever my legs, but still I live. Take off my head, and what have you done. You have damaged and destroyed my dwelling, but have not touched me.”

In 1939, Smith put this message into the words of a song:

1) There is no death, the Christian cannot perish;
God’s Word is true, eternal life is mine.
I once was dead, but now I’ll live forever,
For I am saved by Christ, my Lord divine.

There is no death, O glory, hallelujah!
The Son of God has suffered in my place.
He took my death that I might live forever,
And He has saved me by His sovereign grace.

2) There is no death, my sins are gone forever;
My Saviour died and He is all my plea.
Death cannot reign, for lo, its pow’r is broken,
Since Jesus lives to save eternally.

Questions:
1) How does the confidence that, through Christ “there is no death,” affect your daily life?

2) How does the awareness that millions upon millions do not have eternal life in Christ affect your life day by day?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Oswald Smith born, died)
The Cyber Hymnal (Oswald Smith)
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | June 21, 2017

That Old, Old Story Is True

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: D. B. Watkins (no data available)
Music: Edwin Othello Excell (b. Dec, 13, 1851; d. June 10, 1921)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Edwin Excell)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: We know nothing about Watkins, except that he likely wrote this following song around 1886. Musicians such as Excell likely received poems all the time that the authors hoped could be set to music.) I’ve sung this one as a solo in years gone by. You’ll see that there is a kind of refrain. But because it’s somewhat different in each stanza, it has to be printed each time, making the stanzas a dozen lines long.

The Greek story teller Aesop is believed to have lived about twenty-six centuries ago, but the book Aesop’s Fables continues to be read and enjoyed. Androcles and the Lion, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, and The Tortoise and the Hare (“Slow and steady won the race”) and more, have delighted children and adults over the years.

Aesop’s tales, with their talking animals and other strange happenings, weren’t intended to be an record of actual events. They’re made up stories designed to teach moral lessons, something like that parables of Jesus. That is quite different from a non-fiction book, though there can be moral and spiritual lessons there, too.

For example, in 1954-55, during months when he was recovering from back surgery, then-senator John Kennedy wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning book Profiles in Courage. He told of men born in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries, United States senators who dared to stand on a moral principle, rather than clinging to party loyalty. And that does take courage.

In Kennedy’s book we find out about real people such as lawyer, statesman, and orator, Daniel Webster. When I was young, I visited an American museum with my parents where I was allowed by the curator to hold Webster’s rifle. It brought the reality of his life home to me. Historical narratives enable us to look at real events and see how individuals affected not only their own time, but changed the course of history.

Which brings us to the Bible. It does contain some fictional stories, such as the aforementioned parables of Christ. But conservative commentators (of which I am one) believe it is God’s inspired Word, infallible in its entirety, and that its account of history is true and trustworthy, from creation (Gen. 1:1) to where its narrative sections end during the time of the Apostle Paul (Acts 28:30-31).

One event of critical importance to Christians is the resurrection of Christ. The Bible teaches that the Son of God came to earth, and died to take upon Himself the punishment for our sins (I Cor. 13:3). We are saved eternally through personal faith in Him (Jn. 3:16). But “if Christ is not risen, [our] faith is futile; [we] are still in [our] sins!” (vs. 17). A dead saviour is no saviour at all. Praise the Lord, the Bible’s record of the resurrection of Christ is true.

But one who looked upon the Saviour’s victory over death as a fabrication was Albert Ross (1881-1950). In 1930, working under the pen name Frank Morison, he began a book in which he intended to prove the resurrection story to be fictional and a hoax. But, the more he studied his subject, the more convinced He became that Jesus did, indeed, rise from the grave. His book, Who Moved the Stone? is still in print.

As stories go, the biblical account of the life of Christ is an old one. It’s likely He was born in Bethlehem in 5 BC, and that He was crucified, buried and rose again in AD 30. But there are still multitudes who need to hear about all of that–and many want to, if only someone would tell them.

The gospel song by Catherine Hankey (1834-1911) expresses a call from those in need:

Tell me the old, old story
Of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory,
Of Jesus and His love.

Yes, it is an old story. But those who tell it need to assure those who listen (or read) about the Lord Jesus, and about His death and resurrection, that these things are true. They really happened, and they’re relevant to our lives today. That’s what Watkins’s song tells us.

CH-1) There’s a wonderful story I’ve heard long ago,
’Tis called “The sweet story of old;”
I hear it so often, wherever I go,
That same old story was told;
And I’ve thought it was strange that so often they’d tell
That story as if it were new;
But I’ve found out the reason they loved it so well,
That old, old story is true.

That old, old story is true,
That old, old story is true;
But I’ve found out the reason they loved it so well,
That old, old story is true.

CH-2) They told me of a being so lovely and pure,
That came to the earth to dwell,
To seek for His lost ones, and make them secure,
From death and the power of hell;
That He was despised and with thorns He was crowned,
On the cross was extended to view;
But oh, what sweet peace in my heart since I’ve found
That old, old story is true.

That old, old story is true,
That old, old story is true;
But oh, what sweet peace in my heart since I’ve found
That old, old story is true.

Questions:
1) What are some things that make “that old, old story” meaningful and relevant today?

2) What can you say to someone who tells you, “I don’t believe the Bible; it’s just a bunch of old myths”?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Edwin Excell)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | June 19, 2017

O Tender and Sweet Was the Master’s Voice

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Ellen Jane Knight Bradford (b. _____, 1839; d. _____, 1899)
Music: Edward H. Phelps (data lacking)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: The title I’ve used for this gospel song is the first line, but it’s actual title, I believe, is Over the Line. Mrs. Bradford wrote a few hymns and they can be found on the Cyber Hymnal.

T o “draw a line in the sand” is an expression used since ancient times. Whether there’s an actual line or it’s only symbolic, it marks a point of decision. Either the person has defined such a point for himself, or he’s established it for someone else. Whichever the case, if that line is crossed, there will be inevitable consequences. Stepping over becomes a kind of point of no return, beyond which it is difficult if not impossible to go back to the way things were.

For example, one boy might scratch out a line with his toe in the dirt of a playground and say to another boy, “If you cross that line, we’re enemies, and I’m going to punch you in the nose!” The second boy could walk away and avoid a fight, or decide to cross over and do combat.

There is a kind of line in the sand drawn by Jacob and his uncle Laban. Jacob had lived with his uncle for many years, then he left to return to his family in Canaan. And because the relationship of the two men was strained and often contentious, they decided to make a pledge of permanent separation. Out in the wilderness, the two men set up a heap of rocks, as a divide both would vow not to violate.

“Then Laban said to Jacob, ‘Here is this heap and here is this pillar, which I have placed between you and me. This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not pass beyond this heap to you, and you will not pass beyond this heap and this pillar to me, for harm’” (Gen. 31:51-52).

At a national level, a government might say, “Our line in the sand is chemical warfare. If that other nation makes use of that, we pledge there will be serious results.” But if none of the promised consequences follow a violation, those who’ve drawn the line lose credibility, and future lines drawn may simply be ignored.

In the spiritual realm there is a line crossed in God’s plan of salvation. A line that divides eternal condemnation from eternal bliss. The Lord Jesus put it this way:

“He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed [i.e. crossed the line] from death into life” (Jn. 5:24).

+Later, it’s said, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new [i.e. a new life has begun]” (II Cor. 5:17).

Crossing that line became the literal experience of a young student attending Yale University in 1878. Though not a Christian, perhaps out of curiosity, he attended one of the meetings of American evangelist Dwight Moody. Beside him sat a gentleman visiting from England who, after the meeting, encouraged him to put his faith in Christ. He walked with the young man to his home, where he prayed for his new friend’s salvation, then went on his way.,

The fellow was deeply affected by the experiences of the evening. Approaching the house, he stopped suddenly, made a deep line across the graveled path with his cane, and said, “Now, I must decide this question, for or against Christ, tonight. If I cross the line my life shall be for Him; but if I go around it, it will be for the world.”

He pondered the life and death decision for about half an hour, finally crying out, “O God, help me to decide aright!” Then he stepped purposefully over the line he’d drawn, having decided to become a Christian. Once in the house, he went at once to his father’s room to tell him of his decision.

His father, who was a pastor, told the story from the platform at Moody’s meeting the next day. At the meeting was Edward Phelps, the newspaper editor of a Springfield, Massachusetts paper. He published the account in his paper the next day, where it was read by Ellen Bradford, who wrote the words of this song and sent it to Phelps, who was able to compose a tune for it.

Ira Sankey, Moody’s soloist and music director, says the Lord used the song in the conversion of thousands, all over the world.

CH-1) Oh, tender and sweet was the Master’s voice
As He lovingly called to me,
“Come over the line, it is only a step–
I am waiting, My child, for thee.”

“Over the line,” hear the sweet refrain,
Angels are chanting the heavenly strain:
“Over the line,” why should I remain
With a step between me and Jesus.

CH-2) But my sins are many, my faith is small;
Lo! the answer came quick and clear;
“Thou needest not trust in thyself at all,
Step over the line, I am here.”

CH-4) Ah, the world is cold, and I cannot go back,
Press forward I surely must;
I will place my hand in His wounded palm,
Step over the line, and trust.

Questions:
1) Have you crossed over the line and put your faith in the Saviour? If not, please take a look at the article God’s Plan of Salvation.

2) If you are a Christian, is there another kind of line you need to cross over (to deal with a harmful habit, to forgive someone who has wronged you, or commit to involvement in some specific Christian service)?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | June 16, 2017

Help Me, O Lord

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Frances Jane (“Fanny”) Crosby (b. Mar. 24, 1820; d. Feb. 12, 1915)
Music: Help Me, by Ira David Sankey (b. Aug. 28, 1840; d. Aug. 13, 1908)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Fanny Crosby)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Fanny Crosby, with her 8,500 (or so) songs is the most prolific gospel song writer of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her songs radiate devotional warmth and are very singable, reasons why so many are still in use. It’s not unusual for a hymn book to contain a couple of dozen of them. But there are always forgotten gems that can be retrieved by careful study. This is an example, a beautiful and practical prayer of dedication. It was the theme hymn of the Bible college my wife and I attended, many years ago.

Dedicated. It’s a common enough word. We speak of dedicated doctors, dedicated teachers, or dedicated athletes, and so on. And what do we mean by that? The dictionary says that to be dedicated means: to be devoted, wholly and earnestly, to some person or purpose; to be wholly committed to something.

For a teacher, that will translate itself into whatever will help students to learn and develop. For a doctor, it will be expressed in a deep concern for the health of his patients. For the athlete looking forward to competing in the Olympics, hours of training and practice, day after day, will often crowd out the enjoyment of leisure activities, or indulging in rich foods.

That is the price to be paid to be the best one can be at whatever the goal is. Other things will be seen as having a lower priority, so that time, talents, training, and more can be invested in whatever is related to the main purpose. Sacrifices will be made, in order that excellence may be achieved and maintained in the end.

The Bible uses several similar words dozens of times, Old Testament and New. But there the meanings has more of a spiritual significance. In the Scriptures, to dedicate means: to set apart for God, or for a sacred purpose, specifically the service of the Lord. In addition to the word dedicate, a number of other words are used that mean the same thing: hallow, sanctify, and consecrate. And words such as holy and saint likewise mean set apart.

When we pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Matt. 6:9), we are expressing the desire that God’s name be reverenced, separated from anything that is demeaning or irreverent–like what happens when His name is used carelessly, as a swear word.

The Bible says we Christians are “sanctified,” set apart for God, by faith in Him (Acts 26:18). Through faith in Christ to save us, we become “saints” of God, His set apart ones (I Cor. 1:2). Then, by the inner working of the Spirit of God, we are transformed and begin to live in a new way.

Paul wrote to the Christians at Corinth and, after listing about ten examples of sinful behaviour, he added, “Such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified [pronounced righteous] in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (I Cor. 6:9-11). And Peter calls on believers to “sanctify [be completely devoted to] the Lord God in your hearts” (I Pet. 3:15).

The Christian life isn’t easy. There are many challenges and obstacles to be faced. The way we maintain a holy walk is through prayer, and the study and consistent application of the Word of God to the choices we make, and what we do and say. The Lord Jesus prayed to His heavenly Father, ““Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (Jn. 17:17).

“Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word” (Eph. 5:25-26).

In 1895, gospel song writer Fanny Crosby provided a prayer about that, for the ones who have made a dedication of their lives to the Lord–which Romans describes this way:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies [once and for all as] a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed [i.e. keep on being transformed] by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2).

CH-1) Help me, O Lord, the God of my salvation;
I have no hope, no refuge but in Thee;
Help me to make this perfect consecration,
In life or death Thine evermore to be.

CH-2) Help me, O Lord, to keep my pledge unbroken;
Guard Thou my ways, my thoughts, my tongue, my heart;
Help me to trust the word which Thou hast spoken,
That from Thy paths my feet may ne’er depart.

CH-3) Help me, O Lord, when sore temptations press me;
O lift the clouds that hide Thee from my sight;
Help me, O Lord, when anxious cares distress me,
To look beyond, where all is calm and bright.

CH-4) Help me, O Lord, my strength is only weakness;
Thine, Thine the power by which alone I live;
Help me each day, to bear the cross with meekness,
Till Thou at last the promised crown shalt give.

Questions:
1) What area mentioned in this hymn is a special struggle for you?

2) What are you doing to find the strength you need to deal with this and live a godly and productive Christian life?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Fanny Crosby)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | June 14, 2017

Jesus, These Eyes Have Never Seen

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Ray Palmer (b. Nov. 12, 1808; d. Mar. 29, 1887)
Music: Sawley, by James Walch (b. June 21, 1837; d. Aug. 30, 1901)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Ray Palmer)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Dr. Ray Palmer was both a beloved American pastor and a hymn writer. His best known hymn is My Faith Looks Up to Thee, but today we’ll look at another of his creations, a lovely hymn about the realized presence of God. The Cyber Hymnal gives a date of 1858 for it, but Hymnary.org has a publication from 1855 that includes it.

Walch’s tune Sawley, in the Common Metre (8.6.8.6) is a fine one. But if you are more familiar with Crimond (to which we sing The Lord’s My Shepherd), it works well too.

Unseen, but not unknown. Many famous people we’ve never had a chance to meet have, nonetheless, been a great help to us in various ways, or brought us countless hours of inspiration and pleasure.

For example, Thomas Edison died in New Jersey, in 1931, and very few still around today can claim to have met him face to face. Yet every time we turn on a light, or listen to a recording, or watch a movie, we have him to thank in part. In a way, we’ve actually come to know him, to some degree, through the products of his inventive mind.

People still read A Christmas Carol, or Oliver Twist, though author Charles Dickens has been gone for nearly one hundred and fifty years. Or they delight in the adventures of detective Sherlock Holmes, though Sir Arthur Conan Doyle died in 1930.

The sublime music of the oratorio Messiah was written by George Frederick Handel in 1741, and the oratorio Elijah, by Felix Mendelssohn, was first performed back in 1846, yet these masterpieces continue to bless multitudes today. And when it comes to our hymnals, the sacred songs of Isaac Watts, John Newton, Charles Wesley, Philip Bliss, Fanny Crosby, and hundreds of others do likewise, though their creators are no longer with us.

The same can be said in a way, of course, for the Lord. Christ promised to be with His followers continually (Matt. 28:20).

“He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear” (Heb. 13:5-6).

But it’s His spiritual presence we have today, not His physical form. Christ died in AD 30. Then forty days after His resurrection (Acts 1:3), He ascended back to the throne of God in heaven (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 1:1-3). Yet we know Him and love Him today, and are blessed by His presence, even though He’s not perceived with our physical eyes.

Peter writes of “Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (I Pet. 1:7-8), just as the writer of Hebrews speaks of Moses enduring the rigours of the wilderness with the Israelites by seeing [by faith, and spiritual insight] Him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:26-27).

One evening, Pastor Palmer was at home, sitting in his study, preparing a sermon for the coming Sunday. And he tells us:

“I needed a volume from my closed bookcase on the other side of the room. I rose from my chair and walked over to get it. As I opened the door, the very book appeared straight to my hand.”

Many of us have likely had a similar experience. We go to find something we need, and we come upon it so easily it almost seems to put itself into our hands. But Palmer saw a spiritual truth in this little incident.

“At once it occurred to me that in some such way the face of Christ would be unveiled to us, and the thought so filled my heart that I turned to my desk and composed the hymn.”

His hymn says:

CH-1) Jesus, these eyes have never seen,
That radiant form of Thine;
The veil of sense hangs dark between
Thy blessèd face and mine.

CH-2) I see Thee not, I hear Thee not,
Yet art Thou oft with me;
And earth hath ne’er so dear a spot,
As where I meet with Thee.

CH-3) Like some bright dream that comes unsought,
When slumbers o’er me roll,
Thine image ever fills my thought,
And charms my ravished soul.

CH-4) Yet though I have not seen, and still
Must rest in faith alone,
I love Thee, dearest Lord, and will,
Unseen, but not unknown.

CH-5) When death these mortal eyes shall seal,
And still this throbbing heart,
The rending veil shall Thee reveal,
All glorious as Thou art.

Questions:
1) What evidence do believers have of the constant presence of Christ?

2) How does the awareness of His presence affect your words and actions?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Ray Palmer)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | June 12, 2017

Jesus Loves the Little Children

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Clare Herbert Woolston (b. _____, 1856; d. _____, 1927)
Music: George Frederick Root (b. Aug. 30, 1820; d. Aug. 6, 1895)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (George Root)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Woolston and his wife Agnes lived in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He served as a Baptist pastor, and wrote a number of books of object lessons for use in children’s ministry. Little else seems to be known about him.

Interestingly, George Root wrote the tune here to the words, “Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys are marching,” during the Civil War. After the war, wanting to use the tune for a more enduring purpose, he asked Woolston to create some words to fit it, and this is the result.

If you’ve ever watched a detective story on television, you have some idea of what they look for in order to find and convict the guilty. There’s the physical evidence of the crime scene that often points the way. Then, there are things like means and opportunity to commit the crime. And finally, motivation. Why did he or she do it?

The “why” question is often asked in the Bible too–over four hundred times. Sometimes the query is directed to God. For example, the psalmist asks, “Why do You hide Your face from me?” (Ps. 88:14). He’s wondering why he doesn’t sense the presence of the Lord, as he did in former times.

Sometimes there is an answer available for our own spiritual “why?” questions. As we study His Word, and look at puzzling circumstances from that perspective, we gain a new understanding. However, since the Lord is infinitely above us in so many ways (Isa. 55:8-9), there will be times when we cannot see why He does things the way He does.

That is one reason the Son of God took on our humanity. He reveals God to us in ways we can grasp more fully. It’s interesting that one of the names used for Christ is “the Word” (Jn. 1:1). We use words to translate one language into another. And the Lord Jesus translates God into our humanity.

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14).

One of the things that’s revealed through Christ’s days on earth is His loving concern for little children. He welcomed them and held them in His arms, and blessed them (Mk. 10:13-16). He used a child’s humility and simple trust as an example for us all (Matt. 18:2-5), and He warned of dire consequences for any who would dare to lead children astray (Matt. 18:6).

Christ love for children is highlighted in an old Sunday School chorus, written by Clare Herbert Woolston, a pastor in New Jersey. But many likely are not aware that there are also three stanzas to the song.

CH-1) Jesus calls the children dear,
“Come to Me and never fear,
For I love the little children of the world;
I will take you by the hand,
Lead you to the better land,
For I love the little children of the world.”

Then comes the better known refrain, that many of us sang years ago.

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

The question is: Why did the Lord Jesus (and why does He) love and delight in children? We cannot know entirely, but here are a few possibilities to ponder.

1) Because He created them (Jn. 1:3). They are an important part of His overarching and eternal purpose for creation (Rom. 11:36).

2) Because He sees their wonderful potential, not just in a general sense, but the potential of each individual child.

3) Because, as noted above, He delights in their simple trust and their love for Him, which He views as a model for young people and adults.

4) Because He rejoices in their spontaneous and unaffected joy. Adults so often hold back in expressing their feelings. (“What will people think of me?”) But children openly celebrate blessings life brings their way.

5) Because, He wanted to counteract negative views of children. The disciples tried to keep parents from bringing their children to Jesus (Matt. 19:13), and the Pharisees were indignant when children joined in praising Him (Matt. 21:15-16), suggesting that many adults reluctantly tolerated them, and preferred them to keep silent or out of the way.

6) Because, as the warning of Matthew 18:6 reminds us, children are vulnerable in an adult world. The attention and love of Christ for them shows His concern and his desire that they be protected.

These could be some of the some reasons why the Lord Jesus loved children while He was on earth, and why He loves them now.

Questions:
1) What kind of ministries to children does your church have?

2) Are there others for children that you would like to see used by your congregation?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (George Root)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | June 9, 2017

How You Will Love Him!

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Eben Eugene Rexford (b. July 16, 1848; d. Oct. 18, 1916)
Music: Bentley DeForest Ackley (b. Sept. 27, 1872; d. Sept. 3, 1958)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Bentley Ackley)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Eben Rexford wrote hundreds of hymns, but he is best known today for his secular ballad, Silver Threads Among the Gold (“Darling, I am growing old, / Silver threads among the gold.”) Actually, it relates to the present theme, expressing the endurance of married love into old age. But the hymn we will look at came about in another way, and it speaks of our love for the Lord being awakened.

Below, I’ve used Dr. E. V. Hill and his wife to illustrate marital love and devotional. On one occasion I had an opportunity to hear him preach in person, at Moody Bible Institute, in Chicago. He had us on the edge of our seats as he spoke on “When Was God at His Best?”

The word “love” has been so misused that, at least for some, its true meaning and intent have been lost. They’ve adopted a kind of “I’ll love you if…” idea that misses the mark considerably. I’ll love you if you do as I want? I’ll love you if you please me, I’ll love you if you make me feel good, and so on. But that’s about getting, not about giving–which is the essence of true love.

Love is a commitment to give to others, sacrificially, for their good and blessing. At its summit it should be an “I’ll love you whatever…” kind of love, not diverted by obstacles. In marriage, that’s to be both a mutual and a lifelong commitment. As the traditional vows express it: “I take thee…to love and to cherish, till death do us part.” (To cherish means: to treat as dear, and care for tenderly.)

To see how that worked out in one couple’s life, consider the experience of Dr. E. V. Hill (1934-2003) and his wife. An evangelical pastor, and a great orator in the pulpit, Hill served a large church in Los Angeles for more than four decades, and was a friend and supporter of Dr. Martin Luther King. During the struggle for civil rights, he faced many dangers, as did other black leaders.

One day, Hill awoke to find his wife missing from the house. He was puzzled and concerned until, shortly afterward, she returned, saying she’d been out for an early morning drive. Rather unusual. But listen to why she’d done that. She was afraid that one of her husband’s enemies had planted a bomb in their car, and she didn’t want him to be the one to be killed. That is an example of true love!

Years later, Dr. Hill preached at his wife’s funeral service. He spoke of his beloved as “a gift that only God could give,” and spoke on Job 1:21, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

The love of Christ provides the supreme example of a love that does not waver with our own weakness and waywardness. Just before He went to the cross, we read, “Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (Jn. 13:1). And it was that love that sent Him to Calvary. “Son of God…loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). The Bible declares that “[Nothing] shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:35-39). And “We love Him because He first loved us” (I Jn. 4:19).

Evangelist Billy Sunday, the converted pro ball player, had a wide impact in the days between Dwight Moody’s ministry and that of Billy Graham. On one occasion in 1909, as he was preaching, he made this statement about the Lord Jesus Christ: “How you will love Him when you know Him!” His pianist at the meeting, B. D. Ackley, was struck by the phrase, and asked Eben Rexford to write a gospel song with that theme. When the text was finished, Ackley provided a tune.

CH-1) Ye who wander, of sin grown weary,
Lonely and far from the safe home-fold,
Come and learn what the love of Christ is,
Love whose gladness can ne’er be told.

O, how you’ll love Him when you know Him!
Know the Christ who died to set you free;
On Calv’ry’s cross His heart was broken,
Broken there for you, for me!

CH-2) Come, and coming, find peace and pardon
Waiting for you at the place of prayer;
Kneel and ask for a soul forgiven,
Christ is yearning to meet you there.

Questions:
1) How will loving Jesus be evident in your life day by day?

2) Do you find it true that the more you know Him (and know about Him) the more you love Him?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Bentley Ackley)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | June 7, 2017

God Is Waiting in the Silence

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Oswald Jeffrey Smith (b. Nov. 8, 1889; d. Jan. 25, 1986)
Music: Bentley DeForest Ackley (b. Sept. 27, 1872; d. Sept. 3, 1958)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Oswald Smith)
The Cyber Hymnal (Oswald Smith)
Hymnary.org

Note: Many years ago I heard a friend sing this song as a solo, and it deeply impressed me. I thought it might be a great way to begin a worship service, to simply stand up and sing it, reminding people that God is there, and He is waiting for a response from us. So I decided to use it in this way, one Sunday morning.

It didn’t work. I don’t know what your church is like, but in this particular service, babies were squawking, and adults were still talking. Some late arrivals were finding seats. There was anything but “silence,” and the mood and message of the hymn was all but extinguished. In our present church, it might work better just before the Bible message, after the children have been dismissed to Children’s Church.

The play has received a great deal of comment and criticism over the six decades since Samuel Beckett wrote it. It has been called brilliant, labeled absurd, and condemned as vulgar. Take your pick.

Waiting for Godot is performed on a stage devoid of scenery, except for a tree and a rock. The two main characters, threadbare tramps, converse, as they wait for someone named Godot. Three other characters come along and enter the rambling discussion.

That’s it. Godot never appears. In fact Beckett confessed he not only didn’t know who Godot was, he wasn’t even sure he existed. So, what’s the point? That question has led to endless speculation. Is the dark drama a picture of political confusion? Of Freudian psychology? Or a mockery of religion? One guess seems as good as another, though Beckett said the meaning is simple, and he was surprised so many didn’t get it.

The ragged hobos are likely hoping for a handout from Godot. If only he would come, he’d surely help them out. But he is never going to come. Whatever else is intended by it, the play, it seems to me, presents a hopeless view of life–that we’re all bereft beggars, looking for something that never materializes. And life has no meaning, our existence is only a brief vanity. As one character in the play puts it, “They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more.”

That’s rather like the view expressed in Ecclesiastes. That this mortal life “under the sun” is vanity–an empty nothing (Ecc. 1:1-2), an endless round of birth and death, planting and harvesting, gain and loss, round and round (Ecc. 3:1-8). But the difference between Beckett’s view and that of Solomon is that the latter provided an antidote for hopelessness. He was describing the dead-end street followed by secular man, but assures us there is a better road. When we factor in God and eternity, the present is invested with new meaning and a living hope (Ecc. 12:13-14), a hope anchored, after Solomon’s time, in the finished work of Christ (I Pet. 1:3).

What are we waiting for? What are we expecting out of life? While so many are waiting and watching for some fantasy helper, God is waiting for them, and seeking for them.

“God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God” (Ps. 53:2). “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth…the Father is seeking such to worship Him” (Jn. 4:23). “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine [fellowship] with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20).

In 1938, Canadian pastor and hymn writer Oswald Jeffrey Smith published this beautiful worship hymn expressing the thought that God is waiting, and earnestly desiring, those who will respond to His loving call. Though there is, in His Word, a call for sinners to trust in Christ and be saved, this song is also a call to professing Christians to get serious about living for God.

1) God is waiting in the silence,
For a heart that He can fill;
He must find it cleansed and empty,
With a spirit calm and still.

God is waiting in the silence,
Oh, to know that He is near!
Earth recedes and heaven opens,
God is waiting, God is here.

3) God is waiting in the silence,
As the world goes rushing by;
Will not someone stop and listen,
Answer quickly, “Here am I”?

Mike Martin was a Christian, but a rather lukewarm one. As he himself put it, he was “not working at it.” Then one day he heard Smith’s song over the radio–“Will not someone stop and listen, answer quickly, ‘Here am I’?” And Mike, deeply convicted, spoke to the radio, “Lord, I’m coming now. You don’t have to wait any longer.”

From that day on he became an active and ardent servant of God. He founded a youth organization in Seattle, called King’s Teens, to help troubled young people. He was involved in starting a Christian radio station, and a Christian publisher, along with youth camps and other ministries. Through his efforts the Lord blessed and transformed thousands of lives.

Like Mike, none of us has to wait any longer to respond to God’s call. He is not a hopeless fantasy like Godot. The Lord will be the Saviour of all who will call on Him in faith (Rom. 10:13), and He stands ready to direct and empower our service through His Spirit.

Questions:
1) What do you believe God is waiting on you to do today?

2) How will you respond to His will for you?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Oswald Smith)
The Cyber Hymnal (Oswald Smith)
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | June 5, 2017

Father, Whate’er of Earthly Bliss

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Anne Steele (b. May ___, 1716; d. Nov. 11, 1778)
Music: Naomi, by Hans Georg Nägeli (b. May 26, 1773; d. Dec. 26, 1836)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Hans Nageli)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Without much question Anne Steele was the greatest woman hymn writer of the eighteenth century. In the devotional depth of her many hymns, she has been compared to Frances Havergal who came along a century later. But while many of Miss Havergal’s hymns (Take My Life and Let It Be; Lord, Speak to Me; Like a River Glorious; Who Is on the Lord’s Side?) are still sung today, Miss Steele’s are largely unknown–indeed, few Christians in the 21st century have even heard of her. This needs to be remedied!

Anne Steele was born, and lived out her entire fifty-two years in Broughton, Hampshire, in England. She was the oldest daughter of a timber merchant, who served the local Baptist church as a lay pastor for forty years, without remuneration.

Anne’s life was dotted with tragedies, making the present hymn all the more poignant and meaningful. When she was three, her mother died. When she was nineteen, a severe hip injury left her permanently disabled. Three years later, she was engaged to be married, but it’s been reported her fiancee drowned the day before their wedding. (Wikipedia claims later research contracts this tragedy, but for whatever reason she seems to have remained single.) Yet the things that could have left her bitter made her better. Out of her trials came a rich treasury of devotional verse–144 hymns, and 34 metrical versions of Psalms.

In spite of her gifts as an author, Anne preferred to remain in the background. Her poems were not even put in print until about ten years before her death, and were published then under the pen name Theodosia. Earlier, when she sent off two volumes of verse to a publisher, her father wrote in his journal:

“This day Annie sent part of her composition to London to be printed. I entreat a gracious God, who enabled and stirred her up to such a work, to direct in it and bless it for the good of many.”

As to the present hymn, the three brief stanzas come from a ten-stanza poem entitled “When I Survey Life’s Varied Scene.” It was a contemporary of Steele’s, Augustus Toplady (who gave us the hymn Rock of Ages), who selected and published separately the three stanzas as “The Request,” now known as Father, Whate’er of Earthly Bliss.

We face many trials in this life. Some are of our own making, but many are not. And God is able to take all these experiences and bring good out of them (Rom. 8:28). Our suffering deepens our trust in God and brings ultimate glory to Him. As Paul put it:

“He [the Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (II Cor. 12:9).

Times of difficulty challenge us, and build character.

“The testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect [mature] and complete, lacking nothing” (Jas. 1:3-4).

The child of God who is steadfast in faith in suffering will be rewarded one day.

“Our light affliction, which is but for a moment [relatively speaking], is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (II Cor. 4:17).

Anne Steele prays for a calm and thankful heart, in spite of her troubles. She wants to focus on her relationship with the Lord. These are commendable sentiments for every Christian.

“Now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Pet. 1:6-7).

CH-1) Father, whate’er of earthly bliss
Thy sovereign will denies,
Accepted at Thy throne, let this
My humble prayer, arise:

CH-2) Give me a calm and thankful heart,
From every murmur free;
The blessing of Thy grace impart,
And make me live to Thee.

CH-3) Let the sweet hope that Thou art mine
My life and death attend,
Thy presence through my journey shine,
And crown my journey’s end.

As weeping friends gathered around Anne Steele’s deathbed, on November 11th, 1778, her final words were, “I know that my Redeemer liveth” (quoting from Job 19:25-26). On her tombstone is this tribute:

Silent the lyre, and dumb the tuneful tongue,
That sung on earth her great Redeemer’s praise;
But now in heaven she joins the angelic song,
In more harmonious, more exalted lays.

Questions:
1) What has been your attitude toward your own troubles and trials?

2) Have you been able to see ways in which the Lord can use them for good?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Hans Nageli)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

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