Posted by: rcottrill | September 16, 2016

Jesus Led Me All the Way

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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: John Willard Peterson (b. Nov. 1, 1921; d. Sept. 20, 2006)
Music: John Willard Peterson

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal (John Peterson)

Note: John Peterson wrote many singable songs on a wide variety of subjects. Sometimes he provided both words at music. Other times, one or the other, or he arranged the music of others. Here is a brief sampling of some of his songs that we’re still singing, decades after they were written.

All Things Word Out for Good
Heaven Came Down and Glory Filled My Soul
Isn’t the Love of Jesus Something Wonderful
It’s Not an Easy Road
Jesus Is Coming Again
Over the Sunset Mountains
Shepherd of Love
Springs of Living Water
Surely Goodness and Mercy

It’s a Latin proverb, a verbis ad verbera, roughly meaning: from talking to hitting! It speaks of how a verbal argument can sometimes escalate into an actual fist fight. In more general terms that has to do with cause and effect, the way particular results spring from what came before–how one thing has led to another.

There are examples of that in literature. In Shakespeare’s play, Richard III, the king is portrayed as a conniving villain. But author Josephine Tey, believing that to be a totally inaccurate picture, wrote a fascinating mystery story, The Daughter of Time, to set the record straight.

Author Robert Louis Stevenson was passing a boring afternoon drawing a map, when he began to envision a search for buried treasure, complete with pirates, and he set the map aside and began writing the classic Treasure Island.

Sometimes a book can lead, not just to the writing of another book, but to new inventions. Beginning in the 1920’s, in a series of adventure novels about a character named Tom Swift, the teen-aged fictional hero invented some amazing futuristic things–such as an electric gun, which later gave others the idea of the taser, and a “photo telephone” that inspired the creation of what we have now with our smart phones.

The same thing has happened in our English hymnody, one song has been a factor in the creation of another. The singing of the gospel song O How I Love Jesus led Philip Bliss to write the song Jesus Loves Even Me, focusing more on the Lord’s love for us. Margaret Clarkson grew dissatisfied with the more negative picture of missionary work in her hymn So Send I You, which moved her to write a new hymn (of the same name) to balance the picture.

The writing of the present hymn came about this way. In 1954, Christian musician Alfred B. Smith (1916-2001) was enlisted to lead the singing at the Founder’s Week Conference, at Moody Bible Institute, in Chicago. With some five thousand people gathered, many of them experienced singers, Smith said it was like leading one big choir.

At the close of one session, he had them sing Fanny Crosby’s song of faith, All the Way My Saviour Leads Me. What a thrill it was to all, as they sang together in four-part harmony, ending with “This my song through endless ages– Jesus led me all the way.” Smith himself was overwhelmed with that thought, and asked them to repeat the last line, softly, without the accompaniment of the great organ and the two grand pianos–

“Jesus led me all the way.”

God’s people can’t always see clearly how the Lord leads us along, but He does. Of the Israelites in the wilderness the Bible says, “You [Lord] in Your mercy have led forth the people whom You have redeemed” (Exod. 15:13). Through many trials–and repeated failures to trust the Lord–He brought them at last to the Promised Land.

The New Testament says, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). It’s an identifying characteristic of the redeemed: “All who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (NASB). And, “Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ” (II Cor. 2:14). Even when we go through times of difficulty and carry wearying burdens, we are on the winning side, and the Lord will lead us through to victory.

But, back to that conference session. It was broadcast over the radio, and listening in that day was another gospel musician, John Peterson. Shortly afterward, he met his friend Al Smith, and mentioned the great personal blessing the singing of Fanny Crosby’s hymn had been, with the repeating of “Jesus led me all the way.” To which Smith replied, “Why don’t you write a complete song, using Fanny’s last line as the title.” And he did.

1) Some day life’s journey will be o’er,
And I shall reach that distant shore;
I’ll sing, while ent’ring heaven’s door,
“Jesus led me all the way.”

Jesus led me all the way,
Let me step by step each day;
I will tell the saints and angels
As I lay by burden down,
“Jesus led me all the way.”

2) If God should let me there review
The winding paths of earth I knew,
It would be proven, clear and true–
Jesus led me all the way.”

1) Looking back a few years, can you see instances of the Lord’s leading in events and decisions?

2) What are some of the means the Lord uses to lead His people?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal (John Peterson)


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