Posted by: rcottrill | October 15, 2018

Make Me a Blessing

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2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
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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: Ira Bishop Wilson (b. Sept. 6, 1880; d. Apr. 3, 1950)
Music: Ira Bishop Wilson

Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal (Ira Wilson)

Note: Ira Wilson was born and raised in Iowa. In his early years, he showed an interest in music, and his older sister taught him to play the violin and the organ. After attending Moody Bible Institute, in Chicago, he went to work for the Lorenz Publishing Company, publishers of sacred music. He spent the rest of his life there, using his musical gifts to produce choral arrangements of hymns, and other church music.

The saying has been attributed to an IBM computer programmer. We know it’s been around since the mid-1950’s. “Garbage in, garbage out” is a reminder that we can’t expect computers to come up with correct calculations if we feed in wrong data. In general terms, what we enter will affect what is produced. Stated positively: Feed in what is correct and helpful, and there will be a greater probability that what is produced will be correct and helpful.

The principle can be applied to child rearing too. Poet Alexander Pope gave us, “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.” Early influences and training tend to show themselves in adult years. As the Bible puts it, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).

But let’s bring it down to the personal level. There’s a sense in which our minds store data and put it to later use, just as a computer does. If we focus our attention on things that are corrupt and corrupting, that will have a strong influence on our thinking. What kind of books and magazines do we read? What kind of movies and television shows do we watch? What sites do we visit on the Net? If they emphasize or glorify what is vulgar and sinful, what then? This is why the Bible urges us:

“Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praise worthy–meditate on these things” (Phil. 4:8).

Some years ago, I used to visit a senior citizen who found it difficult to get out. As I was leaving, she frequently ended our conversation with this benediction: “May the Lord bless you and make you a blessing.” This is close to what the Lord told Abraham:

“I will bless you…and you shall be a blessing” (Gen. 12:2).

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others” (I Pet. 4:10, NIV).

“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them” (Rom. 12:6).

Blessings in, blessings out.

Certainly the blessings of God are given for us to enjoy. “God…gives us richly all things to enjoy” (I Tim. 6:17). But it mustn’t stop there. God’s blessings are a stewardship, and a stewardship brings responsibility. We are to seek out ways in which God’s blessings can be shared to the benefit of those around us. The Lord asked Moses, “What is that in your hand?” (Exod. 4:2). It was his shepherd’s rod. And when he wielded it in obedience to God, some mighty works were done.

In the 1940’s Ira Wilson was visited by his friend Phil Kerr, who told him what a blessing one of his songs had been. But when Phil played it, Ira Wilson didn’t recognize it. He had forgotten he’d written the song decades earlier. It’s one still found in many hymn books. Make Me a Blessing expresses the hope and prayer that God will bless us so that we can be a blessing to others.

1) Out in the highways and byways of life,
Many are weary and sad;
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife,
Making the sorrowing glad.

Make me a blessing, make me a blessing,
Out of my life may Jesus shine;
Make me a blessing, O Saviour, I pray,
Make me a blessing to someone today.

3) Give as ‘twas given to you in your need,
Love as the Master loved you;
Be to the helpless a helper indeed,
Unto your mission be true.

1) What individuals do you know that are facing difficulty, or have a special need?

2) What gifts, talents, opportunities do you have that you could use for the Lord this week, perhaps to help the one(s) noted above?

Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal (Ira Wilson)


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