Posted by: rcottrill | March 1, 2017

Shining for Jesus

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Words: Johnson Oatman, Jr. (b. Apr. 21, 1856; d. Sept. 25, 1922)
Music: John Robson Sweney (b. Dec. 31, 1837; d. Apr. 10, 1899)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Johnson Oatman)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: There is some discrepancy as to who wrote this song. Oatman published his version in 1895. But Hymnary.org displays a hymn book page from 1902 (of a song version copyrighted in 1899) written by Charles Inglis, coupled with an “Old Melody” harmonized by C. C. Case (Charles Clinton Case). I have no more information on Charles Inglis. The Wordwise Hymns link speaks of Inglis as the author, but it seems like his was a reworking of Oatman’s earlier work.

The tune arrangement is only slightly different (using dotted eighths and sixteenth notes several times). The words in the first to stanzas are the same. But then there are changes. Inglis uses Oatman’s third stanza as his second. He skips Oatman’s second stanza altogether, which is a loss, as it talks about the cross. Inglis’s last two stanzas are different, and they do have merit.

3) Shining for Jesus in a world of sin;
Shining for Jesus, bringing lost ones in;
Shining for Jesus, glorifying Him;
Shining all the time for Jesus.

4) Shining for Jesus while He gives me grace;
Shining for Jesus while I run the race;
Shining for Jesus, till I see His face;
Shining all the time for Jesus.

Suspended in the blackness of space above our heads, exotic and mysterious, earth’s storied moon has been the subject of speculation down through many centuries.

In AD 79, Greek author Lucian wrote what he called a True History of a war between aliens on the moon and the sun. Dante, in his Divine Comedy, published in 1321, claimed the moon is inhabited by the souls of those who have broken vows during their lifetime. In his 1901 novel The First Men in the Moon, H. G. Wells described a moon inhabited by hostile creatures who capture the men who land among them.

Fantasies all. But we often don’t make good prophets, or even good guessers, when it comes to scientific development. Aerospace engineer, Wernher von Braun (1912-1977) once said, “I’m convinced that before the year 2000 is over, the first child will have been born on the moon.” It didn’t happen. And though it was an amazing achievement for Apollo 11 to actually reach the moon in 1969, the reality of what was discovered is much less spectacular than human imagination or the conjectures of science fiction suggest.

We watched on television as Neil Armstrong stepped down onto the moon’s surface, with his “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” And we saw what he saw. Endless vistas of barren rock and moon dust. There were no native inhabitants to be found, no animals, no plants, no sign physical life. It’s a dead thing, a pile of ancient rock. And unlike the stars which generate their own light, the moon can only reflect the light of the sun–which is itself a star.

The moon is mentioned many times in the Bible. When it was created it was described as “the lesser light,” when compared to the sun (Gen. 1:16). Nevertheless it’s a glorious sight, on a clear night, to look up and see that shining silvery orb. In a way, it humbles us. “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him?” (Ps. 8:3-4).

Not only are human beings created to bring praise and honour to the Lord. It’s the same for the sun moon and stars. “Praise Him, sun and moon; praise Him, all you stars of light!” says the psalmist (Ps. 148:3). They do this not by a conscious choice or spoken words, as we do, but simply by being what God has created them to be, fulfilling the purpose for which the Almighty designed them.

Our Creator sovereignly appointed the sun to mark the days (by sunrise and sunset), and “He appointed the moon for seasons [appointed times]” (Ps. 104:19). The meaning of that is likely this: Israel used a lunar calendar, with months thirty days long. Their annual holy days were scheduled according to the months as defined by the phases of the moon (Lev. 23:4-44).

The nature of the moon has a further spiritual application. Of Christians it is said, “Now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8). But, like the moon, we do not shine with our own light, for we have none, spiritually. We are to be reflectors of the light of the Son of God, the One who declared, “I am the light of the world” (Jn. 8:12). By God’s grace, we are to “shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life [the message of God’s Word]” (Phil. 2:15-16).

Johnson Oatman published a gospel song about that in 1895. It says:

CH-1) Shining for Jesus everywhere I go,
Shining for Jesus in this world of woe;
Shining for Jesus, more like Him I grow;
Shining all the time for Jesus.

Shining all the time, shining all the time;
Shining for Jesus, beams of love divine;
Glorifying Him every day and hour;
Shining all the time for Jesus.

CH-2) Shining for Jesus, for He died for me;
Shining for Jesus, for He set me free;
Shining for Jesus, let the whole world see,
Shining all the time for Jesus.

Questions:
1) In your view, what things are involved in “shining for Jesus”?

2) What things can cause our light to be dim?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Johnson Oatman)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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