Posted by: rcottrill | November 27, 2017

Is My Name Written There?

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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: Mary Ann Pepper Kidder (b. Mar. 16, 1820; d. Nov. 25, 1905)
Music: Frank Marion Davis (b. Jan. 23:1839; d. Aug. 1, 1896)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Not a great deal is known of Mary Ann Pepper, who became Mrs. Mary Ann Kidder. There is even some confusion over the details of her life. Phil Kerr, in his usually reliable book Music in Evangelism (1962), says Mrs. Kidder was a Baptist, and she spent her entire life in Massachusetts. But preeminent scholar of hymnology, John Julian, in his massive (1,768 pages) Dictionary of Hymnology (1907), wrote that Kidder was a resident of New York City for 46 years, and she was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Until there’s more confirming data, I’m inclined to favour Julian, as he was half a century closer to her time.

If we hope to stay organized, making lists is a part of life. In many homes there’s a weekly shopping list, of groceries and toiletries, and more things to be purchased. There are also to-do lists of home projects or other activities we need to fit into our busy schedules. And at Christmas time, we may make a list of who we’re planning to give gifts to, and what the gifts might be.

Then, there are the “Top Ten” lists that describe either what’s the best or the most popular in various categories–books, movies, songs, and so on. In 1977, the first Book of Lists was published, with hundreds of lists, some fascinating, others bizarre. Lists of: the world’s greatest libel suits, of dogs that bite, of people accused of being Jack the Ripper, and much more.

In New York City, in the late nineteenth century, something called the Social Register was developed, a list of prominent families said to be the socially elite in polite society–mainly well-to-do, white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPS). The “Establishment.” To be on the list was seen to be a doorway to success; to be omitted from it could be a serious barrier.

But there’s another list of people that were hated, and facing mortal danger, rejected just because of their ethnic background. During the days of the Second World War in Europe, millions of Jews were imprisoned and killed by the Nazis. But one who did his part to prevent this slaughter was, remarkably, a prominent Nazi himself.

Oskar Schindler (1908-1974) was a German industrialist who operated several factories. And “Schindler’s List” identified Jews that he went out of his way to hire to work for him. Gradually, he took on the role of their protector. He used bribery and other means to keep them out of the clutches of the Gestapo, even, at one point setting up a hospital in the back of one of his factories to help Jews that were too old or sick to work. Before he was done, Oskar Schindler had saved the lives of twelve hundred Jews.

When we turn to the Bible, we find more lists. Because tribal identity in Israel was important, and associated with God-given tribal territories, there are lists of families with their tribes (Num. 1:1-4; Neh. 7:5). But God has His list, too, called the Book of Life. That may be the one referenced by the Lord Jesus, when He says:

“Rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Lk. 10:2).

When we get to the book of Revelation, we find the Book of Life spoken of seven times. It soon becomes clear that this is a list of all who have, through faith, been granted eternal salvation.

“There shall by no means enter it [the heavenly kingdom] anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

“Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15).

Given this eternal peril, there is some urgency to making sure that we are among those who will joyfully gather around the throne of God in the future. A jailer in Philippi asked the question one day, “What must I do to be saved?” And missionaries Paul and Silas responded, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:30-31). That is, believe that, when Christ died on the cross, He paid the debt of your sin in full (Jn. 3:16). The jailer and his family did just that (vs. 34).

In 1876, Mary Ann Kidder gave us a hymn about being found listed in the Book of Life.

CH-1) Lord, I care not for riches, neither silver nor gold;
I would make sure of heaven, I would enter the fold.
In the book of Thy kingdom, with its pages so fair,
Tell me, Jesus, my Saviour, is my name written there?

Is my name written there,
On the page white and fair?
In the book of Thy kingdom,
Is my name written there?

CH-2) Lord, my sins they are many, like the sands of the sea,
But Thy blood, O my Saviour, is sufficient for me;
For Thy promise is written, in bright letters that glow,
“Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them like snow.”

Questions:
1) Are you confident today that your name is written in the Book of Life? (If not, please read God’s Plan of Salvation.)

2) Other than John 3:16, what is another great verse on the subject of salvation?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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