Posted by: rcottrill | July 21, 2017

People Need the Lord

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Words: Greg Nelson (b. Sept. 10, 1948); and Phill McHugh (b. _____, 1951)
Music: Greg Nelson and Phill McHugh

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (none)

Note: Nelson and McHugh are contemporary hymn writers who’ve produced songs both separately and as a team. Greg Nelson is also a music producer who has produced recordings for both Christian and theatrical artists.

Truth is a word we use to describe things that conform to reality, things that are factual, accurate and honest. Its opposite is error, falsehood or deceit.

Truth can often be verified, or error revealed, by a study of the evidence. But there is a kind of truth that is assumed to be self-evident. A statement that seems so obviously true we hardly need to bother checking it is called a truism. Here are a few examples of truisms.

Life is difficult.
Everything happens for a reason.
All bachelors are unmarried.
Patience is a virtue.
“All that glisters [i.e. glitters] is not gold” (from Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice).

But there is an assumed truism in America’s Declaration of Independence that can be challenged. “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” it begins, “that all men are created equal.” This is obviously true, said the founding fathers: all men are created equal. Yet they did not accept it as true in a practical sense. What of the growing number of slaves back then? Thomas Jefferson himself was a slave owner, and the general view was that the Africans were an inferior race, beneath their white masters.

The Bible is in a truth category all its own, since it is, in its entirety, the inspired and trustworthy Word of God (II Tim. 3:16). “The testimony of the Lord is sure” (Ps. 19:7). “Every word of God is pure [tested and found true]” (Ps. 30:5). “The word of God…lives and abides forever” (I Pet. 1:23). “Your word is truth,” said Jesus to His heavenly Father (Jn. 17:17).

When He was examined by Pontius Pilate, the Lord said, “Everyone who is of the truth [a true believer] hears [and heeds] My voice” (Jn. 18:37). To which the governor replied, likely with a scornful, sarcastic tone, “What is truth?” (vs. 38). Yet the One who is the very embodiment of truth stood before Him. “I am…the truth,” He told His disciples (Jn. 14:6). “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (Jn. 1:17).

To return to that statement from the Declaration of Independence, yes, all human beings are equal in the sight of God. We all descended from Adam, a unique creation of God, and all are loved by God. Sadly, we’re equal in a darker sense too. We all share the corruption caused by Adam’s sin (Rom. 3:23). We all face an eternal death sentence as a result, but God has provided a remedy for all who’ll receive it (Rom. 6:23).

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him [Christ] the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6; cf. Jn. 3:16).

Certainly for Bible-believing Christians, it has reached the level of a truism that people–all people everywhere–need the Lord. With the psalmist we can only cry, “I am poor and needy; make haste to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer” (Ps. 70:5; cf. Acts 4:12).

Which brings us to the present song. Greg Nelson and Phill McHugh were trying create a new song one day in 1983. But, short on ideas, they decided to take a break for lunch.

Later, seated in a restaurant, they were approached by a waitress. As she smiled at them, they realized she was making an effort to look cheerful, but really wasn’t. There was a kind of emptiness in her eyes and she seemed sad and lonely. “She needs the Lord,” the men said to each other.

And as they looked around the restaurant, they saw other anxious, careworn, faces devoid of hope. The thought came to them both, “People need the Lord,” and we need to write about that. That afternoon, they produced an eloquent gospel song on the theme that begins:

Ev’ry day they pass me by, I can see it in their eye;
Empty people filled with care, headed who knows where.
On they go through private pain, living fear to fear.
Laughter hides the silent cries only Jesus hears.
People need the Lord.

1) What evidence do you see around you that “people need the Lord”?

2) What are you doing–or what could you do–to help them find Him?

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (none)


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