Posted by: rcottrill | January 14, 2019

Nothing Satisfies but Jesus

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: Lelia Naylor Morris (b. Apr. 15, 1862; d. July 23, 1929)
Music: Lelia Naylor Morris

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Lelia Morris)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Ohio church organist and hymn writer Lelia Naylor gave us many fine songs. In 1881 she married Charles Hammond Morris. This is the reason in some song books she is called Mrs. C. H. Morris.

It’s frustrating to make a purchase, then find that the product isn’t what we needed, or doesn’t work as promised. But our annoyance may be compounded when we learn from the seller “there are no returns” on the product.

On the other hand, it’s encouraging when we’re told, before putting out the money, that the store or company policy is “Satisfaction guaranteed.” Essentially, this is a promise that, if the customer isn’t satisfied, the item can be returned and a full refund will be given.

Beyond the issue of who bears the responsibility, an important factor of public relations (“P. R.”) is involved. What will the customers tell their friends? And how will this affect the business’s bottom line later on? In the first instance, we may warn others not to do business there. In the second, we more likely will tell our friends how fair and helpful they’ve been to us.

Some larger companies, restaurant chains, car dealerships, and so on, have a whole department responsible for public relations. Their job is listening to customers, and communicating with everyone about what they have to offer, and how concerned they are that customers are happy with their product or service. We see television commercials along that line. They may even include actual customers telling us how well the company treated them, and how satisfied they are with their purchase.

The Bible uses various forms of the word “satisfied” many times. Sometimes, it points to what is not satisfying, particularly because its benefits aren’t lasting. But also, human nature being what it is, we can often become dis-satisfied with the things of this life. All we want is more. “The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing” (Ecc. 1:8). “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity” (Ecc. 5:10).

But more often the biblical theme is a positive one–about the soul satisfaction found in God, and of the abundance of blessings in and through Him.

“For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness” (Ps. 107:9).

“You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing” (Ps. 145:16).

“I will bless You while I live…my soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips” (Ps. 63:405).

“Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days!” (Ps. 90:14).

The Lord Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (Jn. 10:10).

“[God] is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20).

“He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Tit. 3:5-6).

And “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (II Cor. 9:8).

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst’” (Jn. 6:35).

All of this raises the question: Why do so many insist on looking elsewhere to find fulfilment and satisfaction in life? “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?…Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live” (Isa. 55:2-3). In spiritual and eternal terms, abundant satisfaction is found in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, and Him alone.

Published in 1905 is a song by Lelia Morris called Nothing Satisfies but Jesus. It expresses the truths discussed above.

CH-1) Nothing satisfies but Jesus,
Bread of life to mortals giv’n;
May His presence now refresh us
Like the morning dew from heav’n!

Give me Jesus, give me Jesus;
Take the world, but give me Jesus;
To satisfy with every blessing,
His love and peace my soul possessing;
To all beside my heart replies:
There’s naught but Jesus satisfies!

CH-2) Since I heard the voice of Jesus,
Since mine eyes beheld the King,
All my love, my heart’s affection,
All I have to Him I bring.

CH-3) With His joy my heart is thrilling,
All my hope in Him I see;
Doubt and gloom and fear dispelling,
Christ is all in all to me!

Questions:
1) What are some of the areas in which Christ brings satisfaction beyond what the world can offer?

2) What are some reasons many search for satisfaction elsewhere?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Lelia Morris)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | January 10, 2019

After

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: Napoleon Bonaparte Vandall (b. Dec. 28, 1896; d. Aug. 24, 1970)
Music: Napoleon Bonaparte Vandall

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal (N. B. Vandall)
Hymnary.org

Note: Vandall’s given names were unusual–to say the least. He preferred to be called “Jack,” instead. Otherwise song books usually just have his initials, N. B. Vandall.

There are things that can look attractive on the outside, even beautiful, but have ugliness lurking beneath the surface. People can be that way too. We call them hypocrites. The term comes from the Greek word hypokrit, meaning a stage actor, one who’s skilled at pretending to be what he’s not.

The Lord Jesus harshly criticized the Jewish leaders of His day for that very thing. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matt. 23:27). “Whitewashed tombs”–what a powerful image! Pretty on the outside, but corrupt within.

Thinking along these lines brought to mind two hit songs of years ago. The music of both is lovely. But the lyrics express hopelessness and despair.

The first, After the Ball, by Charles Harris, was written in 1891, and became one of the most popular songs of its time. It tells of a dance, where “bright lights were flashing in the grand ballroom.” But in the midst of the gaiety, one man’s foolish mistake and proud heart brought lifelong sorrow and loss. Harris’s song says:

After the ball is over,
After the break of morn–
After the dancers’ leaving;
After the stars are gone;
Many a heart is aching,
If you could read them all;
Many the hopes that have vanished,
After the ball.

The second song, Dancing in the Dark, with lyrics by Howard Dietz, is a hit from a 1931 Broadway show. Again, it’s framed with a pretty melody, but the words express something quite different.

Dancing in the dark,
Till the tune ends
We’re dancing in the dark,
And it soon ends….
We’re here and gone.
Looking for the light
Of a new love
To brighten up the night.

Life seems just a dance in the dark, a little fleeting pleasure, apparently leading nowhere but to more darkness.

Oh how different is the Christian gospel! No dead end there. While it recognizes the reality of trials and disappointments in this life, it points to something far better up ahead. Through faith in Christ, we receive the gift of everlasting life. “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23; cf. Jn. 3:14-15; 5:24).

But that’s only half the story. The eternal life God gives is not simply an endless existence. It is a life of infinite blessing, in close fellowship with God. “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (Jn. 17:3). “To me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain….having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Phil. 1:21, 23).

“Far better” than even the best of earth’s temporal pleasures. And without the things we struggle with and grieve over here and now (Rev. 21:4). In fact, the Lord is able to take the trials of this life and use them to build our faith, and accomplish other good purposes (Rom. 8:28). “For 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).

That was the view of N. B. Vandall when his son was struck by a car and suffered severe injuries. When Vandall went to the Lord in prayer, he was reminded of God’s “after”–which became the title of a song he wrote. Praise the Lord, the boy did recover. But the experience strengthened Vandall’s joy at the prospect of the life to come.

And notice the clear contrast between Charles Harris’s song and this one. For Harris, “after” the glitter and glamour of the ball came heartache and loss. For Vandall, after the trials and troubles of this life, came a glorious eternity with the Lord. Which would you choose?

1) After the toil and the heat of the day,
After my troubles are past,
After the sorrows are taken away,
I shall see Jesus at last.

He will be waiting for me–
Jesus, so kind and true;
On His beautiful throne,
He will welcome me home–
After the day is through.

2) After the heartaches and sighing shall cease,
After the cold winter’s blast,
After the conflict comes glorious peace–
I shall see Jesus at last.

Questions:
1) What warning does the Bible give about planning for the future (James 4:13-15)?

2) What Scriptures give you the assurance that an eternity of blessing awaits the child of God?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal (N. B. Vandall)
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | January 7, 2019

Thine, 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: Robert Harkness (b. Mar. 2, 1880; d. May 8, 1961)
Music: Robert Harkness

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Robert Harkness)
The Cyber Hymnal (Robert Harkness)
Hymnary.org

Note: Robert Harkness was a pianist and gospel song writer who gave us many songs himself, and wrote music for the songs of others. He was born in Australia, and is buried in London, England. But he also traveled extensively as the accompanist for evangelist Reuben Archer Torrey (and his song leader Charlie Alexander), and in later years, traveled on his own.

We’ve likely all seen one from time to time. The sign on a fence, that says in bold letters, NO TRESPASSING! There are variations: Private Property, Keep Out; or, No Admittance– Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted. And perhaps a warning of electronic surveillance, or the presence of guard dogs is included.

Some signs convey the message in colourful ways. One says, No Animals, No People, No Vehicles, No Excuses. Another warns, “If You Can Read This Sign, You’re in Range!” And still another has a grave marker, topped by a sign that says, “Here Lies the Last Trespasser.” More polite (if not more successful) is, “Please Respect Our Property–No Trespassing.”

To trespass is to enter an area unlawfully and unwelcome, going where we have no right or permission to go. Sometimes the prohibition involves, private property, or maybe it’s a wildlife preserve, or government land, or that of an industrial facility. In the latter case, there may be a manned check point, and signs might read, “Restricted Area, Authorized Personnel Only.”

Reasons for these limitations vary. In some cases, it’s to keep the would-be trespasser from personal danger. Perhaps the area includes the presence of hazardous materials, or it’s a military firing range. Other times, it could involve farmers tired of hunters treading down precious crops, or endangering their livestock. Or a family swimming pool that is off limits to public use for safety reasons, and because of insurance requirements.

But there’s another kind of trespassing that applies to the Christian life. When we trust in Christ as our Saviour, the Word of God urges us to surrender to Him as Lord of our lives. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God [after what He has done in saving you], that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1).

First Corinthians puts it another way: “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price [the shed blood of Christ]; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Cor. 6:19-20).

Several times in Scripture the Lord is described as “jealous.” It means He is rightfully zealous to protect His own reputation, and will not share His throne with anyone or anything else.

“You shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name [or reputation] is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exod. 34:14).

Those who are children of God by faith in Christ (Gal. 3:26) ought to share His zeal in this. In the words of a hymn by Andrew Reed:

Holy Spirit, all divine,
Dwell within this heart of mine;
Cast down every idol throne,
Reign supreme, and reign alone.

It’s as if, with the Lord on the throne of our hearts, we put up a NO TRESPASSING sign, and will not allow anything to enter our lives and take priority and influence over His will for us, and His glory in us. Idolatry might not involve a stone idol. It can be anything that usurps control or has influence over our allegiance to God and His Word. Our determined loyalty to the Lord should declare, “No Admittance!” to anything that would challenge it.

The present song, published in 1944, and for which Mr. Harkness wrote both words and music, is called simply, Thine, Lord. It reflects the desire of Romans 12:1 that heart loyalty be our ready and joyous response to “the mercies of God.”

1) When I think of Jesus dying on the cross for me,
Thine, Lord, would I be;
Freely giving up His life from sin to set me free,
Thine, Lord, would I be.

Thine, Lord, only Thine, Thine, Lord, only Thine.
Take me, use me as Thou wilt dear Saviour,
Thine, Lord, only Thine; Thine, Lord, only Thine.

3) When I think of Jesus, coming back to earth again,
Thine, Lord, would I be;
Coming in great glory as the King of kings to reign,
Thine, Lord, would I be.

Questions:
1) What does the statement, “Thine, Lord” (or Yours, Lord), mean to you, personally?

2) Is there some area of your life where you find it difficult to give the Lord full control?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Robert Harkness)
The Cyber Hymnal (Robert Harkness)
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | January 3, 2019

A Mighty Fortress

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: Martin Luther (b. Nov. 10, 1483; d. Feb. 18, 1546)
Music: Ein feste Burg, by Martin Luther

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Martin Luther) (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Martin Luther was a brilliant Augustinian monk, and a professor of theology at the University of Wittenberg. Studying the book of Romans, he became concerned that some traditional teachings of the Church of Rome were contrary to the Scriptures. On October 31, 1517, he posted his 95 Theses (propositions to be debated), on the door of the Wittenberg Church–which was used as a kind of bulletin board.

When asked what he would replace all the rituals and images and relics of the church with, his answer was, “Christ.” Luther’s fundamental position was summarized by five “solas,” the Latin word for alone: Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), Sola fidè (faith alone), Sola gratia (by grace alone), Sola Christus (through Christ alone), Sola Deo gloria (glory to God alone).

His views were rejected by the church, and in a time of harassment and persecution, he very much depended on the Lord for protection. Martin Luther is credited with returning congregational participation to the worship of the church. Including this, his most famous hymn, he wrote nearly three dozen of them, providing his own tunes for many of them.

A
t the beginning of the Second World War, Singapore was the major British military base in South-East Asia and a key to their defense planning in the South Pacific.

With 100,000 troops, and massive fortifications that were heavily armed, it was dubbed “Fortress Singapore,” and was considered impregnable. But on February 15, 1942, the base was captured by the forces of Japan, and 80,000 troops became prisoners of war. British prime minister, Winston Churchill, called it the worst disaster in British military history.

Like other disasters and defeats, it’s a stark reminder that human ingenuity and armed might are no guarantee of security. Before the Battle of Waterloo, one of Napoleon’s generals reminded him that, “Man proposes, but God disposes.” But Napoleon, arrogantly retorted, “I want you to understand sir, that Napoleon proposes, and Napoleon disposes.” Later, his forces were beaten, and he was taken captive.

The Bible tells us:

“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes” (Ps. 118:8-9).

Numbering of chapters and verses is slightly different in some Bible versions, but Psalm 118:8 is often considered the middle verse of the entire Bible. It fits well as a central theme. Self rule and self confidence brought the fall of man, and have been our problem ever since. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding,”warns Proverbs 3:5. And instead of a military fortress, we need to trust in God Himself as our Protector and Defender.

Several times in Psalms, God is referred to as our divine Fortress. For example:

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust” (Ps. 18:2).

“You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me” (Ps. 31:3).

“Blessed be the Lord my Rock…my lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge” (Ps. 144:1-2).

The opening words of Psalm 46, call God our “Refuge”–which translates the same Hebrew word rendered “fortress” in the above verses. And it is this psalm that became the basis for Martin Luther’s powerful hymn, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. He also composed the tune. And it’s not only Luther’s greatest hymn, but the greatest of the Protestant Reformation. It is still being sung more that four centuries after he wrote it. (Note: In the second stanza, “Lord Sabaoth” means Lord of Hosts.)

CH-1) A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.”

CH-3) And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

CH-4) That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Questions:
1) In what ways is “our ancient foe” (Satan) clearly at work in today’s world?

2) In your view, who are the most effective champions today, faithfully proclaiming the Word in writing or the spoken word?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Martin Luther) (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | December 31, 2018

What Shall I Give Thee, Master?

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: Homer W. Grimes (no data available)
Music: Homer W. Grimes

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

Note: Rev. Homer W. Grimes was an American evangelist and gospel song writer who served the Lord, with both music and the spoken word, during the mid-twentieth century. Here is his advertising for a series of his meetings. Little more is known of him. He wrote words and music for Jesus Gives Me a Song, and another called simply Singing (“My soul has found its music…). His song, What Shall I Give Thee, Master? was published in 1934. It speaks well to the issue discussed below.

When Christmas approaches, or a birthday celebration, we likely begin thinking about what would make an appropriate and appreciated gift for someone. In some cases, it could be an easy matter to deal with. In others, for various reasons, it could be a challenge.

If the gift is for a young person just setting up house, many needs might suggest themselves. Or if it’s someone passionate about a particular hobby, that might provide some options. But what if it’s someone hard to buy for? It’s not a very glamorous or creative gift, but money is often given. Then the individual can purchase something needed or desired. A slightly different choice is a gift card for some shop or restaurant we know the person likes.

But what if he or she is extremely wealthy, and seems to have everything already? What would ten dollars in a greeting card do for Bill Gates? To an infinitely greater degree, Christian are put in such a position, when it comes to giving to the Lord.

God created all things (Col. 1:16; Rev. 4:11). This gives Him the rights of ownership over them. How can one of His creatures enrich the Lord of creation? David recognized the problem. After he’d collected the materials for his son Solomon to use in building the temple in Jerusalem, David offered a prayer of thanksgiving to God, saying:

“Who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You” (I Chron. 29:14).

Actually, the solution to what we can give is we can give God ourselves. Though He has the rights of a Creator over us, this goes a step further in that it’s a willing surrender. The Bible puts it this way:

“ I beseech [plead with] you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God [because of all He’s done for you], that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1).

There are several things to note in this important verse. This is something we should do willingly. God is requesting it, not ordering it. He wants it to come from the heart. Second, we should act in thankful recognition of the blessings of our salvation through faith in Christ. Third, when we commit our “bodies” to Him, this includes all of their gifts and potential–our time, talents and treasures. And finally, in contrast to the Old Testament animal sacrifices which were slain, this is to be a living sacrifice, the surrender of our lives to Him.

The dedication of ourselves will include our consistent obedience to the Lord, and ongoing trust in Him. It will also involve, our service for Him. We are to “serve the Lord with gladness” (Ps. 100:2). And “we should serve in the newness of the Spirit” (Rom. 7:6), “not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” (Rom. 12:11). “As each one has received a gift [time, talents, treasures], minister it [serve with it] to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (I Pet. 4:10). These are appropriate gifts for the Lord.

1) What shall I give Thee, Master?
Thou who didst die for me.
Shall I give less of what I possess,
Or shall I give all to Thee?

Jesus, my Lord and Saviour,
Thou hast giv’n all for me;
Thou didst leave Thy home above
To die on Calvary.
What shall I give Thee, Master?
Thou hast giv’n all for me;
Not just a part or half of my heart,
I will give all to Thee.

3) What shall I give Thee, Master?
Giver of gifts divine.
I will not hold time, talents or gold–
For everything shall be Thine.

Questions:
1) What do you think of the old expression “saved to serve”?

2) What God-given gifts are you currently using to serve the Lord?

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

Posted by: rcottrill | December 24, 2018

Tell Me His Name Again

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: George Bennard (b. Feb. 4, 1873; d. Oct. 10, 1958)
Music: George Bennard

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

Note: George Bennard was an American evangelist and gospel song writer. For some years, he and his wife worked with the Salvation Army. But later he ministered on his own, in both the United States and Canada. The story behind the present song reminded both my wife and me of another, the one behind the song Tell It Again.

When a couple is expecting the birth of a baby, there’s often much discussion about what that new son or daughter will be called. Perhaps the child will be named after a relative, or some famous person. Or a name will be chosen for its meaning, to encourage good character and worthy aspirations.

Many sons are named after their fathers. But few would go to the extreme of former heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman. He has five sons, all named George! Not only does this seem to show a lack of creativity, it’s also a recipe for confusion. To avoid this, each of the five is often called by a nickname: George Junior, Monk, Big Wheel, Red, and Little Joey.

Someone has counted 3,237 personal names in the Bible. The longest is Maher-shalal-hash-baz (Isa. 8:1, 3), and several, with only two letters, such as Er (Gen. 38:3) and Og (Num. 21:33), tie for the shortest. A number of names are used by more than one person. For example, there are three Sauls, and several Marys. But there are also quite a few characters entering Bible history who are not named at all.

Perhaps surprisingly, there are 956 names or descriptive titles for God in the Scriptures. Like the facets of a diamond, each shines with its own beauty, and reveals something special about the person of the Lord. He is Almighty God (Gen. 17:1), the I AM (Exod. 3:14), the Most High God (Ps. 78:35), and much more.

When we get to the New Testament, and beginning with the very first verse, the incarnation of God the Son brings the introduction of the personal name Jesus, used more than nine hundred times. Jesus translates the Greek form of the Old Testament Hebrew name Joshua. It means the Lord [Jehovah] Is Salvation, marking Him out as the Saviour.

“She [Mary] will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).

Many times in the Word of God the name Jesus is tied to a declaration of His saving purpose and power. “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Tim. 1:15). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). He is “our Lord and Saviour” (II Pet. 1:11; 3:18). And, as Christians, we are expecting His second coming. We’re “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:13).

Years ago, when China was open to the proclamation of the gospel, a missionary doctor told of a very old woman who attended one of his church services, and listened intently to the simple message of Jesus’ love for lost sinners. He reported that, after the message was given, she opened her heart to the gospel. Leaving the meeting, she trudged miles back along the dusty road to her humble home. But many days later she returned to the mission station, and said to the doctor, “He has saved me, but I cannot remember His name. Will you tell me His name again?”

That story touched the heart of George Bennard. In 1913 he’d written what has become one of our best known hymns, The Old Rugged Cross. But two decades afterward he gave us a lesser known song, Tell Me His Name Again, inspired by the question of the elderly Chinese woman.

1) They told me love’s sweetest story,
They told me a wonderful name.
It thrilled all my soul with its glory,
It burned in my heart like a flame.
They told me of One who so loved me
That in heaven He could not remain;
He came down to seek and to save me,
Oh, tell me His name again.

Oh, tell me His name again,
And sing me that sweet refrain,
Of Him who in love came down from above,
To die on the cross of shame.
The story my heart has stirred,
The sweetest I’ve ever heard;
It banishes fear, it brings hope and cheer,
Oh, tell me His name again.

2) They say He was born in a manger,
That there was “no room in the inn;”
That in His own world was a stranger,
Yet loved it in spite of its sin.
They say that His path led to Calv’ry,
And that one day He died there in shame;
He gave His great life as a ransom,
Oh, tell me His name again.

It’s JESUS–a truly wonderful name!

Questions:
1) When did you first hear about the Lord Jesus?

2) What is your favourite hymn about Him?

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

Posted by: rcottrill | December 17, 2018

My Task

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: Maude Louise Ray (b. ___, circa 1880; d. (date unknown); S. H. Pickup (b. ___, 1877; d. ___, 1952)
Music: Emma Louise Hindle Ashford (b. Mar. 27, 1850; d. Sept. 22, 1930)

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

Note: Around the beginning of the twentieth century, Maude Louise Ray was the assistant editor of a magazine called The New York Evangelist. She wrote a brief poem summarizing Christian duty, calling it My Task. Later, a pastor (likely Stanley Howard Pickup, of Ontario, according to the Cyber Hymnal) added a third and final stanza.

The word “task” has been around for centuries. We may use it to refer to work of any kind, but there’s often an added dimension to it. A task can be defined as an assigned duty. The original was related to the word tax. It’s labour we have been called to perform, a responsibility that’s been laid upon us.

A parent may say to a son or daughter in the home, “I want your room tidied up before supper.” Or an employer may say to an office worker, “See that those files are sorted in alphabetical order.” In either case there is a prescribed duty involved, an obligation to be fulfilled.

The word is found in the Bible a number of times. When the Israelites were in bondage in Egypt, they were commanded to make bricks for Pharaoh’s building projects, and treated harshly if the quota was not met. “Why have you not fulfilled your task in making brick?” (Exod. 5:14). Later, regarding the holy duties of the Levites, God said, “Aaron and his sons shall go in and appoint each of them to his service and his task” (Num. 4:19).

The priests and Levites were to be materially cared for by the nation, so they could give their time to religious duties. In Nehemiah’s day, he assigned to trustworthy workers the distribution of food to them. “They were considered faithful, and their task was to distribute to their brethren” (Neh. 13:13).

The word task isn’t found in the New Testament (New King James Version), but words such as duty, ought, owe, and due, convey a similar meaning. For example, if we claim to be believers, we should act like it. “He who says he abides in Him [i.e. is in fellowship with the Lord] ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (I Jn. 2:6).

“We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples [failings] of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Rom. 15:1). We should thank God for spiritual progress of others (II Thess. 1:3; 2:13). And, as with Israel under the Mosaic Law, Christians in the local church are to support materially and help the servants of God (Rom. 15:27; I Cor. 9:9-11).

We each should show love to one another, emulating the sacrificial love of Christ (I Jn. 4:11; 3:16). This love is demonstrated with stunning humility in the upper room. So much so that, at first, Peter shrank from it. There, their Master and Lord took the place of a servant, and washed the feet of the others (Jn. 13:2-11). Then, He said:

“If I, your teacher and Lord, have washed your feet, you must be ready to wash one another’s feet. I have given you this as an example so that you may do as I have done” (Jn. 13:14-15).

The example, of course, is one of humble service, and not confined to one thing. Foot washing was a common need at that time, because of dusty roads and the open sandals that were worn. Our own service, in the name of Christ, may consist of a wide variety of things. But there is to be no pride in it.

“When you have done all those things which you are commanded [by the Lord], say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’” (Lk. 17:10).

The song we’re looking at here speaks of such things as love, servanthood, purity, prayer, consistency, and obedience to God. It’s what we’re to do, as Christians. That’s part of our God-given task.

CH-1) To love someone more dearly every day,
To help a wandering child to find his way,
To ponder o’er a noble thought and pray,
And smile when evening falls,
And smile when evening falls:
This is my task.

CH-2) To follow truth as blind men long for light,
To do my best from dawn of day till night,
To keep my heart fit for His holy sight,
And answer when He calls,
And answer when He calls:
This is my task.

CH-3) And then my Saviour by and by to meet,
When faith hath made her task on earth complete,
And lay my homage at the Master’s feet,
Within the jasper walls,
Within the jasper walls:
This crowns my task.

Questions:
1) Looked at in the light of this song, what are your God-given “tasks” today?

2) How well did you do with the tasks God gave you yesterday?

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

Posted by: rcottrill | December 10, 2018

You Must Open the Door

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: Ina Duley Ogdon (b. Apr. 3, 1872; d. May 18, 1964)
Music: Homer Alvan Rodeheaver (b. Oct. 4, 1880; d. Dec. 18, 1955)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Ina Ogdon)
The Cyber Hymnal (Ina Ogdon)
Hymnary.org

Note: In 1934, Ina Ogdon published You Must Open the Door. Mrs. Ogdon and her husband James were both school teachers in Ohio. She wrote many gospel songs as well, including the popular Brighten the Corner Where You Are, which has a touching story behind it. The present song captures the theme of a text in Revelation.

Security devices of all kinds are popular these days–cameras and alarms that can be set up in a home to thwart burglers. When an intruder tries to enter, perhaps lights go on, sirens sound, and the would-be thief’s image is recorded. There may also be an automatic phone call to the security firm. It seems to work. Owning a dog often does too. It’s estimated that houses without some kind of security system are three times more likely to be broken into.

On the other hand, most of us enjoy welcoming family and friends into our home. There’s a humorous welcome mat that, instead of being imprinted with the usual WELCOME, says, “Oh no! Not You Again!” But that’s meant as a joke. We likely look forward to having visitors. We just want to be allowed the right to decide who, and when.

Burglary is an unwanted and unwelcome violation of our space, it involves a forced entry into the place where we want to feel comfortable and safe. It’s the intrusion of someone determined to do us harm in one way or another. Millions of home burglaries occur in North America each year. About a third of them include a physical assault. But even if nothing valuable is taken, and no one’s physically harmed, a break-in can instill fear and anxiety that lingers for a long time.

The word welcome is used several times in the New Testament, translating several different Greek words. One of these (hupodechomai) means to take by the hand, to receive as a guest. For example, we read that when the Lord Jesus came to the town of Bethany, “a certain woman named Martha [the sister of Mary and Lazarus] welcomed Him into her house” (Lk. 10:38). A tax collector named Zacchaeus did the same, and “received Him joyfully” (Lk. 19:6).

The Apostle Paul commends the Thessalonian believers for welcoming God’s truth.

“You received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God” (I Thess. 2:13).

Today, Christ is not physically present in the world. But we welcome Him into our hearts and lives when we believe what the Bible says about Him. The Lord Jesus says,

“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 [feast and fellowship] with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20).

That invitation was extended to a lukewarm, self-satisfied church that seems to have shut the Lord out (vs. 16-17). But it can also represent the individual who is called upon to receive (believe on and trust in) the Saviour.

“As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (cf. Jn. 1:12).

Revelation 3:20 is depicted in a famous painting by William Holman Hunt (1827-1910). Hunt called it The Light of the World. It pictures Christ, holding a lantern, standing before a door, preparing to knock. A notable thing about the painting is that there is no handle or latch on the outside of the door. The wordless message is that the one inside must open the door to Christ. He graciously waits a welcome into the individual’s life.

1) There’s a Saviour who stands at the door of your heart;
He is longing to enter–why let Him depart?
He has patiently called you so often before,
But you must open the door.

You must open the door,
You must open the door;
When Jesus comes in, He will save you from sin,
But you must open the door.

2) He has come from the Father salvation to bring,
And His name is called Jesus, Redeemer and King;
To save you and keep you He pleads evermore,
But you must open the door.

Questions:
1) Have you welcomed the Lord Jesus into your heart and life? (If not, I invite you to read God’s Plan of Salvation.)

2) How are you sharing, or helping others to share, the wonderful message of salvation?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Ina Ogdon)
The Cyber Hymnal (Ina Ogdon)
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | December 3, 2018

Stand by Me

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: Charles Albert Tindley (b. July 7, 1851; d. July 26, 1933)
Music: Charles Albert Tindley

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Charles Tindley)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Charles Tindley married Daisy Henry when he was seventeen. Together they had eight children, some of whom would later assist him with the publication of his hymns. One of the sons, Albert, sang at our church in Ontario, many years ago.

The young man busied himself tidying and sweeping the floor of a small church in Philadelphia. He was the janitor, and this was part of his regular routine. Little in his life at that time suggested the wonderful ways God would use him in the future.

He was Charles Albert Tindley. His story is one of striving to overcome hardship, and succeeding, by the grace of God. The African American son of Charles and Esther Tindley, Charles’s father was a slave, but his mother was a free woman. Thus, he was born free, but brought up among enslaved people. His mother died when he was four years old, and he was separated from his father a year later. Charles was raised by his Aunt Caroline.

In that day, slave owners considered it dangerous for blacks to receive an education. But after the Emancipation Proclamation young Charles taught himself to read and write. He moved to Philadelphia, where he started work as a janitor, attending school in the evenings, and taking a correspondence course. He mastered Hebrew and Greek, largely on his own, and prepared himself for Christian ministry.

In 1902 he became the pastor of the church where he’d once worked as janitor. It grew steadily under his leadership until, at the time of his death, it had 12,500 members. Most unusual for the time, it was an integrated congregation, with both blacks and whites serving in leadership positions. In spite of Pastor Tindley’s objections, the church was renamed the Tindley Temple Methodist Church.

As well as being a busy pastor, Charles Tindley wrote a number of fine gospel songs. In fact, he is considered one of the founding fathers of American gospel music. He wrote: We’ll Understand It Better By and By; Nothing Between My Soul and the Saviour; and Take Your Burden to the Lord and Leave It There. His song I’ll Overcome Some Day was adapted by the Civil Rights Movement, and became We Shall Overcome.

What we’ll look at here is Tindley’s 1905 song Stand by Me. There’s a popular song from 1960 that uses that title–and even claims to be inspired by the original. But there’s a serious difference. The later number is a love song (“Darlin’ Stand by Me”), whereas Tindley’s is a prayer hymn, that makes clear again and again he’s calling on God for help.

To “stand by” someone is to be loyal and supportive, and the Bible tells us, especially in the book of Psalms, that the Lord draws near, and stands by those who trust in Him. “You are near, O Lord,” says the psalmist (Ps. 119:151).

¤ “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1).

¤ “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth” (Ps. 145:18).

But the Lord Jesus identified a problem with some of His hearers. “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honour Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matt. 15:8). Yet when we truly seek Him, in sincerity, He is there.“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (Jas. 4:8).

There are five solid stanzas to Charles Tindley’s song. One seems to make reference to his struggle against racial prejudice: “In the midst of persecution, stand by me” (Stanza 4).

CH-1) When the storms of life are raging,
Stand by me;
When the storms of life are raging,
Stand by me;
When the world is tossing me
Like a ship upon the sea
Thou who rulest wind and water,
Stand by me.

CH-2) In the midst of tribulation,
Stand by me;
In the midst of tribulation,
Stand by me;
When the hosts of hell assail,
And my strength begins to fail,
Thou who never lost a battle,
Stand by me.

CH-5) When I’m growing old and feeble,
Stand by me;
When I’m growing old and feeble,
Stand by me;
When my life becomes a burden,
And I’m nearing chilly Jordan,
O Thou “Lily of the Valley,”
Stand by me.

Questions:
1) In what experience in the past were you especially conscious of the Lord standing by you?

2) For what trouble or trial ahead do you need the Lord to stand by you?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Charles Tindley)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | November 26, 2018

Nothing But Leaves

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: Mrs. H. S. Lehman (no further data)
Music: Mrs. H. S. Lehman

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

Note: In 1924 an author, known only as Mrs. H. S. Lehman, published this song called Nothing But Leaves, and she also wrote a number of other songs. She published a couple of books in 1928, so, at a guess, she was born in the latter part of the nineteenth century.

In a search for more information, including her given names, I discovered a book she had authored and personally autographed. But, she signed it only “Mrs H. S. Lehman,” adding the text John 5:24 (as shown to the left). If you know more about this author, please let me know.

Disappointments–mild or otherwise–are a part of life. We may be counting on fine weather to attend a ball game on the week-end, only to find the darkening skies bring torrents of rain, and the game is cancelled. Or we may expect a new dishwasher to give us years of service, only to have it break down in a month.

Five centuries ago, the word actually had a political application. To “dis-appoint” an official meant to undo his appointment, to remove him from office. It could happen when one was put in place, with the expectation he would do well, but he had to be removed when he was found to be corrupt. The Bible warns, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes” (Ps. 118:9).

But what of the Lord’s expectations of us? Is He ever disappointed? In one way, no. Not in the sense of being surprised by our moral failures and disobedience. He is omniscient and “knows all things” (I Jn. 3:20). He knows well what’s in our hearts (Lk. 16:15; Jn. 2:25). However, God is still grieved, when He sees us on a destructive path, and saddened when we fail to fulfil His wise purposes (Eph. 4:30).

This relates to one of Christ’s most unusual miracles. The details are recorded by both Matthew (Matt. 21:18-21) and Mark (Mk. 11:12-14). What makes it unusual is it’s the only one of about three dozen miracles found in the Gospels whose intent was to destroy, rather than to heal and help.

The Lord was approaching the city of Jerusalem, with His disciples, and the Bible says, “He was hungry” (Matt. 21:18). So when they spotted a fig tree, He approached, hoping to find something to eat, but found “nothing on it but leaves” (vs. 19). With that, Christ cursed the fig tree, and it withered and died.

It was spring, and not yet the season for ripe figs. But there might have been some fruit left from the previous growing season. More likely, there should have been fresh buds of sprouting figs. These were often picked by the poor for food. Their absence was a sign the tree would not bear fruit later on. It was failing to fulfil its expected purpose.

Some have accused Christ of being petty and vindictive in what He did. But this cannot be. First of all, as the Creator (Jn. 1:3), He has a right to do as He chooses with His creation. But also, He may have been aware that not only was the tree no producing fruit, but that it would never improve. In such a case, a farmer would likely chop the tree down to save it using up precious moisture and nutrients from the ground.

Further, many commentators see this little incident as having prophetic significance. The fig tree is used in Scripture as a symbol for the nation of Israel (Hos. 9:10). And God had specially blessed Israel, expecting her to be, as His servant, a witness to the Gentile peoples (Isa. 41:8; 43:10). However, the nation had repeatedly strayed from God. Spiritually barren, they had nothing to offer to others around. And what happened to  them?

Within a few days the Jews would call for the crucifixion of Christ, and in AD 70, Jerusalem would be destroyed, and the people scattered. It could be the Lord’s action is to be taken as a foreshadowing of this. It should be added that, in Israel’s case, this did not mean the utter and final destruction of the nation. A believing remnant of Israel will be returned to its former glory (and greater) at Christ’s return (Rom. 11:1, 26). But it presents a sober warning for them, nonetheless.

In her song, Mrs. Lehman applied this condition to individual believers, on this side of the cross. Christians are to be producing both the inward fruit of Christian character (Gal. 5:22-23), and the outward fruit of an effective service for Christ (Jn. 15:16; Rom. 1:13). But what if we are lacking spiritual fruit? The author deals with this and the two kinds of fruit in the three stanzas of her song.

What she does not do is explain that if someone professes to be a Christian, but is not bearing fruit, there is reason to doubt the reality of his or her profession. And for a fruitless believer there should be an expectation of discipline by the Lord (Jn. 15:1-8; Heb. 12:5-11).

1) The Master is seeking a harvest
In lives He’s redeemed by His blood;
He seeks for the fruit of the Spirit,
And works that will glorify God.

Nothing but leaves for the Master,
Oh how His loving heart grieves,
When instead of the fruit He is seeking,
We offer Him nothing but leaves.

2) He looks for His likeness reflected
In lives that are yielded and true;
He’s looking for zeal in the winning
Of souls He’s entrusted to you.

Questions:
1) What aspect of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 6:22-23) do you have most trouble producing?

2) What are you doing to bear fruit in the lives of others for the Lord, by His grace?

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

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