Posted by: rcottrill | January 21, 2019

The Stranger of Galilee

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 (Lelia Morris)
Hymnary.org

Note: Lelia Naylor Morris (listed in some song books as Mrs. C. H. Morris) gave us many fine gospel songs, including: Sweeter as the Years Go By; Nearer, Still Nearer; Let Jesus Come into Your Heart; What If It Were Today? and more. The present song seems more of a solo number, but it has a good message.

What do we mean when we label someone a stranger? The term is rooted in a Latin word meaning from outside–speaking of those who are outsiders. We don’t know them, they’re not part of our group. They’re from another locality, aliens or foreigners, possibly even speaking a different language.

If you’ve ever had to move to a new place, perhaps because of your job, you likely have some small idea of what it’s like to be a stranger in town, with no family or friends around to turn to. It can be intimidating to know no one. Where do folks shop for groceries? What about hospitals, doctors, churches, schools, theatres, recreational facilities, and more?

Welcome Wagon International was created to deal with that. The organization was founded in 1928, and it continues to operate in both Canada and the United States. Having adjusted over time to changing demographics and needs, they’ve expanded to offer help to newlyweds, and couples looking forward to the arrival of a baby.

But basically, Welcome Wagon was designed to contact new home owners after they move in, providing a map of the area, a list of significant places in town, and advertisements for local businesses, and sometimes including coupons for bargains, and offering assistance in other ways. Churches often do something similar. They watch for new arrivals in the area around the church, and call on them to introduce the church’s programs, and offer to help in practical ways. With all of this, the strangers in town may soon be strangers no more.

In the Bible, some form of the word stranger is used more than a hundred times. The Lord appeared to Abraham when he lived in the city of Ur, in Mesopotamia, telling he to go to a new land he’d never seen before. And God made a covenant with Abraham, part of which included the land of Canaan.

“I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger [or foreigner], all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession” (Gen. 17:8).

Then through a series of circumstances described in the latter part of Genesis, and the beginning of Exodus, the descendants of Abraham (the Israelites) ended up in cruel bondage in the land of Egypt. The Lord used Moses to lead them out of slavery, and later Joshua brought them into the land God had promised them.

This experience was expected to give them concern and compassion for those who were strangers in their midst. God told them, “You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exod. 22:21). And the Bible assures us, “The Lord watches over the strangers” (Ps. 146:9).

In the New Testament, when the Lord Jesus came on the scene, He was a stranger to many, and they had no idea of His true identity. They saw His miraculous power, heard His dynamic teaching, and wondered. There’s a phrase repeated in the Gospels that highlights the widespread puzzlement: “Who is this?” When the Lord healed a man, and also forgave his sins, the outraged Jewish leaders questioned, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Lk. 5:21; cf. 7:49; 9:9)

The question stirred up the whole city of Jerusalem, when the Lord made His Triumphal Entry, fulfilling a prophecy identifying Him as Israel’s Messiah (Zech. 9:9).

“When He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, ‘Who is this?’” (Matt. 21:10).

But when faith reaches out to Him, the Spirit of God gives new insight, warms our hearts toward Him, and He’s a stranger no more. That’s the thrust of a gospel song called The Stranger of Galilee, written by Lelia Morris.

1) In fancy I stood by the shore, one day,
Of the beautiful murm’ring sea;
I saw the great crowds as they thronged the way
Of the Stranger of Galilee;
I saw how the man who was blind from birth,
In a moment was made to see;
The lame was made whole by the matchless skill
Of the Stranger of Galilee.

And I felt I could love Him forever,
So gracious and tender was He!
I claimed Him that day as my Saviour,
This Stranger of Galilee.

2) His look of compassion, His words of love,
They shall never forgotten be,
When sin-sick and helpless He saw me there,
This Stranger of Galilee;
He showed me his hand and His riven side,
And He whispered, ‘It was for thee!”
My burden fell off at the piercèd feet
Of the Stranger of Galilee.

Questions:
1) If Christ is not a Stranger, but our Saviour and Lord, and Friend, what differences should this make in our lives?

2) Do you know someone who recently trusted Christ as Saviour? What is their testimony about the changes this has brought?

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

Posted by: rcottrill | January 17, 2019

All Will Be Well

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: Mary Bowly Peters (b. _____, 1813; d. July 29, 1856)
Music: Ar Hyd Y Nos (meaning all through the night) , a traditional Welsh tune dating from well before 1784. To it we sing an English version of All Through the Night.

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Mary Peters, was the wife of an Anglican clergyman. With her writings, Mary Peters also contributed hymns to publications of the Plymouth Brethren. the present hymn is sometimes known by its first line, Through the Love of God Our Saviour.

A bountiful harvest is a beautiful sight to see. Whether it’s a field of golden grain, or an orchard with fruit-laden trees, or row on row of vines heavy with grapes, it delights those who’ve laboured long to produce it, and will bless all who’ll receive it.

On Thanksgiving Sunday, many churches have decorations that put the fruits of the field on display. Entering the building and being greeted with the aroma of freshly picked apples, or grapes, brings a smile. The display is a reminder of the multiplied blessings of God, to whom we raise songs of thanksgiving.

There’s something that could well be added to those tokens of blessing, but I’ve never seen it done. I’m referring to a hymn book, which contains a rich treasury that has blessed the church for centuries. Most hymnals have from six to eight hundred songs. Not all are outstanding poetry, but some are. Not all express a depth of biblical truth, but some certainly do. Together, they provide for God’s people a vehicle for united praise and prayer, teaching and testimony.

Some of our hymns and gospel songs focus on one main idea, exploring its implications and emphasizing that single point. But there are others so rich that nearly every line adds another significant Bible-based truth. Hymns such as: How Firm a Foundation; Peace, Perfect Peace; More Holiness Give Me; and, At Even, When the Sun Was Set, are examples of this. They can be read, as well as sung, and make a worthy resource for personal meditation and prayer.

A lesser known hymn like that is All Will Be Well, published in 1847. It makes me think of the cluster of grapes cut down by the Israelite spies sent into Canaan. The Bible says it was so big “they carried it between two of them on a pole” (Num. 13:23). That’s a lot of fruit! And there’s so much of heaven’s bounty, in Mrs. Peters’ hymn it would take several articles to explore it fully.

Consider a few things, with related Scripture texts.

¤ Mentioned a couple of times is the love of God. The Bible tells us this is a fundamental characteristic of His (I Jn. 4:8), and His love for us is both a saving and keeping love (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 8:39).

¤ “Free and changeless is His favour” celebrates the boundless grace of God (Eph. 2:4-7).

¤ We learn too about the power of the shed blood of Christ (Eph. 1:7).

And we have the sealing of God’s Spirit (i.e. the presence of the Spirit of God in the believer is God’s seal of ownership and guarantee of our future, Eph. 1:13-14).

¤ The hymn reminds us the Lord will defend and protect us (Heb. 13:5-6).

¤ And bring us through times of tribulation, giving songs even in sorrow and pain (Job 35:10; Acts 16:23-25).

¤ He watches over us, and meets our needs in life and in death (Phil. 1:21), providing what Mary Peters calls “a full salvation” (Heb. 7:25).

¤ We have available the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:14), and God’s provision for our needs, through Christ (Phil. 4:19)

¤ We can be happy and content in prayer (Phil. 4:6-7), and fruitful in service for the Lord (Jn. 15:5, 16).

CH-1) Through the love of God our Saviour,
All will be well;
Free and changeless is His favour;
All, all is well.
Precious is the blood that healed us;
Perfect is the grace that sealed us;
Strong the hand stretched out to shield us;
All must be well.

CH-2) Though we pass through tribulation,
All will be well;
Ours is such a full salvation;
All, all is well.
Happy still in God confiding,
Fruitful, if in Christ abiding,
Holy through the Spirit’s guiding,
All must be well.

CH-3) We expect a bright tomorrow;
All will be well;
Faith can sing through days of sorrow,
All, all is well.
On our Father’s love relying,
Jesus every need supplying,
Or in living, or in dying,
All must be well.

Questions:
1) Which of the blessings the hymn deals with mean the most to you just now?

2) If you were writing the hymn, what other blessings would you include?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

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 5, 2019

Divided Loyalties?


QUESTION:
What do you think of division between worship music and gospel music? You get two directions: one you sing hymns at the church; second in order to proclaim gospel to the culture you adapt all varieties of music genres and styles, fashion, and other pop-culture stuff, [label it] Christian, and sing about God, Jesus, faith, etc. What do you think about this division?

ANSWER: I suppose it depends somewhat on what we think of as contemporary Christian music. There are some fine newer songs. But there are also ones so saturated with worldliness in the text, the music, and then in the use (or performance) of them, that they become something God hates (I Jn. 2:15-17; cf. II Cor. 6:14 and 7:1).

I believe very great caution is needed in following the path you suggest. Now, first, you have to realize where I’m coming from. The blog has been designed to inform believers about our great heritage of sacred music, especially our English hymnody since the Reformation (along with English translations of songs going back into biblical times). I’ve focused mainly on the hymns found in evangelical Protestant hymnals since the 1950’s. I believe churches that decide to abandon this heritage are robbing their people of a rich treasury, valuable for doctrine and devotion.

I haven’t made a detailed study of contemporary religious music, but most of what I’ve seen is doctrinally shallow and not worthy to be compared to the great hymns of the faith. We shouldn’t just be mouthing mushy sentiments or shallow truisms with our sacred spiritual songs, perhaps singing a few words over and over, and over again. We’re to be “teaching and admonishing one another” (Col. 3:16). Further, the style of the music is sometimes so worldly that it obscures or cancels out the message.

I was in a service recently where a pastor decided to play a religious rock song called Behold, the Lamb, because he thought it suited the theme of his message. So, we were subjected to a couple of minutes of deafening din and pounding drums, with a singer screaming or screeching over and over, “Behold, the Lamb of God, behold, the Lamb of God.” But the band never got to the end of that wonderful Bible verse, “who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29). I was horrified. It cut out the point of the verse about the plan of salvation. What we heard was carnal, not Christian.

I went on YouTube and listened to the song by the same group, several times. The accompanying picture of the band showed long-haired, leather jacketed young men, with sullen expressions on their faces. They were obviously trying to be as much like the world as possible. Is that what God wants? No, the Bible says, “Come out from among them and be separate” (II Cor. 6:14–7:1). That song failed to present the truth of the gospel.

Back in the late nineteenth century, the great preacher Charles Spurgeon was scheduled to preach to an audience in an enormous auditorium. He was concerned that all present would be able to hear him. (No sound amplifiers in those days.) He and a friend went to the empty auditorium, and Spurgeon had his friend go to various spots and listen, while the preacher stood on the platform and said in a good clear voice, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” many times over.

Unknown to them, there was a man on the roof doing some repairs, and he heard that verse repeated again and again. The Holy Spirit used it to convict him, and he put his faith in Christ and was saved. God’s Word has power. And when we use music that truly reflects and enhances its message, so do our hymns.

I have a friend who, decades ago, was a drummer in a rock band. They played the loudest and hardest rock of the day, along the lines of Led Zeppelin and Jimmie Hendrix. Then, wonderfully, several of them got saved, and they decided to go to church. In they came to a gospel service, one Sunday night, long hair and all. And the congregation sang the good old hymns of the faith, from hymn books. My friend said it was an amazing experience. “Instantly,” he said, “our spirits responded to those songs. It was like coming home.”

I have another friend, on the board of an evangelical church. And they decided to bring contemporary religious music into the church, rock bands and all, so they could bring in more people. Then, the idea was that they would present solid messages from God’s Word, or involve them in Bible study groups. My friend told me that, yes, they drew a big crowd, but they found many of those that came were there for the wrong reasons. They liked the music, but they wanted no part of the truths of God, or the deeper things of spiritual life.

And I have yet another friend who worked in a church that bypassed the music issue in this way. They opened a coffee house in the city, where Christian workers met day by day with street people. They got to know the customers, listened to them, talked to them about life, and about the Lord. Many were saved through that ministry. One Sunday night, about twenty of them came to a service at our church, gave their testimonies, and were baptized. What a blessing!

The often thunderously loud rock music of the world, with its pounding beat, is designed specifically to do three things (not counting that it’s intended to make money for the music makers). 1) The music is meant to give listeners an exciting, overpowering adrenalin-pumping experience. 2) It is often an expression of rage, and rebellion. 3) It’s beat is a musical simulation of lustful sexual rhythms and behaviour. (The rockers themselves admit these things, but also check out the dress of the performers, antics on stage, and facial expressions, and so on.)

Being in services where this kind of music is used (even with some christianized words) is like having on open pipe in the wall pumping sewage into the sanctuary. The Lord was concerned that when the Israelites got into Canaan, they would see how the heathen worshiped their gods, and might want to copy this in how they worshiped Him. “How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise,” they would say. But God said, “You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abomination to the Lord, which He hates, they have done to their gods” (Deut. 12:29-32).

Does what you’re suggesting ever work? Perhaps. Sometimes. God sometimes uses strange instruments. On one occasion, He spoke through a donkey (Num. 22:28)! But this practice of trying to straddle two worlds can also be prey to excesses and abuses that are not honouring to the Lord. If the songs are strongly Christian–with good solid biblical lyrics–and are accompanied by music that provides a suitable framework, that’s fine. But if we try to copy the world in evangelistic services, instead of a call to holiness, we’re simply saying, “You can have all this, and Jesus too.”

We don’t need to create an adrenaline rush with pounding music, gyrating musicians, flashing lights, smoke, and all the rest. We have the thrilling power of the gospel to present (Rom. 1:16), in the power of the Spirit of God (I Cor. 2:4-5). God’s work in our lives is done from the inside out, not from the outside in (Rom. 12:2).

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

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