Posted by: rcottrill | June 16, 2017

Help Me, O Lord

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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