Posted by: rcottrill | October 17, 2018

Jesus Is Always 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: Bertha Mae Lillenas (b. Mar. 1, 1889; d. Mar. 13, 1945)
Music: Bertha Mae Lillenas

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (Bertha Lillenas) (Bertha Lillenas)

Note: Bertha Mae Lillenas was the wife of prolific gospel song writer and music publisher Haldor Lillenas. The Lillenas’s had two children. And Mrs. Lillenas was a gifted musician in her own right. An ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene, she served as an evangelist, singer, composer and pianist. In 1934 she published a song called Jesus Is Always There, reflecting the promises of God’s Word. Her tunes are usually quite singable, and because she herself had a lower voice, the songs are often pitched within reach of those of us who can appreciate that.

It’s wonderful to have someone you can count on. Someone you trust to stick with you, ready to offer counsel, encouragement, or help in some way. “We’re there for you.” That phrase is part of the advertising for a dentist, a police force, a bank, a labour union, a television news outlet, and more. One even says, “There for you, no matter what.”

Realistically, though, we realize that these are human beings, and human organizations. They may fail to do as they promised, for a multitude of reasons. A husband or wife who has vowed otherwise may prove unfaithful. Or it may be discovered that a company or organization is corrupt and their pledge means little. Trite phrases such as, “We’ve got your back,” may actually mean they’re ready to stab us in the back!

Only Almighty God can be relied upon to always tell us truthfully and accurately the way things are. He is “a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He” (Deut. 32:4). Because of His holy perfection, “God…cannot lie” (Tit. 1:2).

“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Num. 23:19).

This assurance relates to the promise of His presence with each believer. We know that God is what theologians call omnipresent. “‘Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the Lord” (Jer. 23:24). But to the saints of God this has a more immediate and personal dimension. He is, in the words of the psalmist, “a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1). The Lord is actively involved in our lives. “He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper” (Heb. 13:5-6).

Though He’s promised to return one day (Jn. 14:3; cf. Acts 1:10-11) the disciples of Christ faced the prospect of His departure. The Lord had fulfilled His mission to pay our debt of sin on the cross, and had risen from the tomb. After some days of instruction given to His followers, He prepared to ascend back to His Father (Lk. 24:50-53). But among His last words are these: “Lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). The Amplified Bible gives extra emphasis to that significant promise:

“I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age.”

And “where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20). “By this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us” (I Jn. 3:24).

Let it be noted that the divine presence is not only for times when things are going well, but when we are struggling too. We have the assurance of His compassionate understanding of our needs (Heb. 4:14-16), and of the resources of heaven to meet them. “God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).

Lillenas’s song is certainly reassuring. Of the first line of the refrain I would add, “Never a burden that He doth not carry, if we ask Him to, and allow Him to. Sometimes, we suffer things that we need to bring to Him, “casting all [our] care upon Him, for He cares for [us]” (I Pet. 5:7).

1) Sometimes our skies are cloudy and dreary,
Sometimes our hearts and burdened with care;
But we may know, whate’er may befall us,
Jesus is always there.

Never a burden that He doth not carry,
Never a sorrow that He doth not share;
Whether the days may be sunny or dreary,
Jesus is always there.

3) When we are walking through the green pastures,
Or over mountains rugged and bare;
Precious the thought and sweet the assurance,
Jesus is always there.

4) “Lo, I am with you alway,” is written,
God will not fail to answer our prayer;
Trusting His Word, we rest on His promise–
Jesus is always there.

1) Has there been a situation recently when you particularly sensed the nearness of the Lord?

2) In what way was this a blessing and a help to you?

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (Bertha Lillenas) (Bertha Lillenas)


  1. I don’t “drop by” often but when I do, it is always a blessing. I believe hymns are the eternal string that ties every generation together. We can add our beloved “contemporary,” (meaning written in the 21st-century) songs, but many will fade away and be forgotten. Thanks for all your research!

    • Great to hear from you–and I share your desire to encourage the singing of sacred songs that are pleasing to the Lord. After all “What is highly esteemed among men [may well be] an abomination in the sight of God” (Lk. 16:15). The other thing that concerns me is whether the songs really say anything–anything biblical and significant. We are to be offering our praise and prayers to the Lord in song, and also testifying to and teaching one another (Col. 3:16). So, what are we teaching?

      In our church, the pastor and I work together on the worship service. I try to find songs that will complement and enhance the truths presented in the sermon. In this way, I believe the latter can have an even greater impact. The closing hymn is often one expressing personal commitment to, or praise for, what has just been taught.

      But I have witnessed a service leader flipping through the hymn book, five minutes before a meeting, looking for something to sing. He has done this with no awareness of what the pastor will be speaking about, and the congregation tends to get his favourites over and over. This is not right, and it misses a golden opportunity!

      P.S. Often I include a bulletin insert with an article on a hymn we’ll be singing, adding a further emphasis. And, my wife–who is our piano accompanist–chooses songs for the prelude that point to the service theme as well. (Many see the pre-service as a time for conversation more than meditation, but I do hope her ministry has some effect. It often does for me.

      Drop by any time. 🙂

      • Agree!!! I choose the hymms and my husband is the pastor. I’d like to say that we coordinate everything, but it doesn’t always happen. However, it’s always a blessing to see the Lord take over and put it all together! Blessings to you!
        PS I like your idea about the insert! My husband usually has a handout, and I thinkg I’ll try to put a hymn history on the back, maybe once a month.

      • Having a bit of a rough day here, and your lovely note was a tremendous encouragement. Regarding bulletin inserts, feel free to use anything on my blog. That’s what it’s there for. An attribution would be nice, but it isn’t necessary. Just pick and choose what looks like it might be helpful.

        On Sunday our pastor is preaching on “All or Nothing” (Matt. 11:20-24), about the indifference and lukewarmness of some who heard the Lord Jesus–as a warning to us. For hymns, I chose: More About Jesus; Living for Jesus; Fill All My Vision; All for Jesus (wish our congregation knew the tune Wycliff, as it’s better than the common one); and O Jesus, I Have Promised (as a closing hymn of commitment). There’s a bulletin insert with an article on Avis Christiansen’s Fill All My Vision that I’m hoping will reinforce the message.

        Regarding Wycliff, I’d never sing it as fast as my friend Dick Adams plays it on the Cyber Hymnal. It should be meditative, not a horse race! 🙂 (Andante, my friend, Andante.)

        God bless.


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