Posted by: rcottrill | March 31, 2017

Washed in the Blood of the Lamb

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
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.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

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: Tullius Clinton O’Kane (b. Mar. 10, 1830; d. Feb. 12, 1912)
Music: Tullius Clinton O’Kane

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: I came across this song in a rather unusual way. I was reading one of Dorothy Sayers mystery stories called Strong Poison. In it, her detective hero, Lord Peter Wimsey quotes the refrain of the hymn:

Sweeping through the gates of the New Jerusalem,
Washed in the blood of the Lamb.

The “New Jerusalem” is a name for the heavenly city where God dwells (Rev. 21:2). The hymn is speaking of the death of believers, and how the sufferings of this life, either the kind that come through illness (stanza 3), or persecution (stanza 4), will all be behind us in heaven (stanza 5). But it is his reference to children who come to Christ that I focus on here (stanza 2). Their deaths were an even more familiar sorrow a century and more ago, before the development of new drugs and medical techniques to save them.

Tullius O’Kane was a genial teacher and school principal in Ohio. He also wrote quite a number of hymns, sometimes both words and music. As noted, one stanza of this one affirms the capability of young children to trust in the Saviour and have a meaningful relationship with Him. I can affirm that myself, having come to Christ at the age of seven.

One cold, blustery day O’Kane had occasion to go from his residence to the railroad depot, about a mile distant, and in his route had to cross the river on a suspension foot-bridge. As he came down to the bridge, he thought of “the river of death,” so cold, with no bridge except what the Lamb of God has done for us (Jn. 1:29).

Then, he says, the words of the dying Cookman came to his mind, and he exclaimed to himself: “Who, who are these beside the chilly wave?” Words, melody and refrain seemed to come all at once and all together, so that by the time he arrived back at his home, the composition was complete. The reference to “Cookman” speaks of a Methodist pastor named Alfred Cookman (1828-1871) who, when he lay dying, spoke of “sweeping through the gates of the New Jerusalem.”

Children are amazing. Take Alexandra Scott, for example. Alex was born in 1996. Then, just before her first birthday she was diagnosed with cancer. Four years later, in spite of failing health, she decided to open a lemonade stand, to raise money to help children with cancer. That year, with the help of her older brother, she raised two thousand dollars. And it became an annual event for the family.

Alex finally succumbed to cancer, and died in 2004. But, inspired by what she’d done, others set up their own lemonade stands. Participation in that project has continued to spread, and $120 million has been raised for the cause to date, all because one little girl got an idea, and followed through with it.

Yes, children are amazing. However Jesus’ disciples seemed to think that dealing with children was a waste of the Master’s time. They tried to keep them away from Him (Mk. 10:13). But “He was greatly displeased and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God’” (vs. 14). The Apostle Peter seems to have learned the lesson. In his first sermon after the birth of the church, he appealed “to you and your children” (Acts. 2:39).

The Lord admired the simple trust of the young, and their desire to please God, considering that to be an example to those who are older. To lift a verse out of its original context, sometimes it’s true that “a little child shall lead them” (Isa. 11:6). Christ also warned of severe judgment faced by any who would mistreat a child who trusted in Him (Matt. 18:1-6).

Children are capable of strong faith, and a life-changing commitment to the Lord. Two examples of this come from the country of Wales.

Mary Jones (1784-1864), in her early teens, learned to love the Word of God. She longed to study the Scriptures more thoroughly, but Bibles were scare where she lived. One copy was passed around from home to home, but that meant long gaps between each person’s reading and study. To get a Bible of her own, Mary walked 26 miles (42 km) barefoot, to where she could obtain one. The pastor who met her was inspired by her zeal. He became deeply concerned about the need for more copies of God’s Word, and worked to meet it. Four years later, the British and Foreign Bible Society was formed to send Bibles around the world.

Fast forward a hundred years. A pastor stood before a group and asked, “What does Jesus Christ mean to you?” “He’s the hope of the world,” one responded. “But that’s not what I’m asking,” said the pastor. “What does he mean to you?” Finally a little girl named Florie Evans spoke up. With deep fervour and sincerity she said, “I love the Lord Jesus with all of my heart.”

Those words stirred the hearts of those present, and God used little Florie’s testimony to begin a great spiritual awakening called the Welsh Revival (1904-1905). More than one hundred thousand put their faith in Christ, churches were packed for years to come, and whole towns were transformed. The special working of God’s Spirit eventually spread across Britain, into Europe, and over to America.

There are many other examples of such things. The sincere faith of a child has had an impact on many in different ways. O’Kane’s hymn speaks of them in his second stanza as among the redeemed in Glory. All who will be there are blood-washed saints of God.

“To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Rev. 1:5-6, NKJV).

CH-1) Who, who are these beside the chilly wave,
Just on the borders of the silent grave,
Shouting Jesus’ power to save,
Washed in the blood of the Lamb.

Sweeping through the gates of the new Jerusalem,
Washed in the blood of the Lamb,
Sweeping through the gates of the new Jerusalem,
Washed in the blood of the Lamb.

CH-2) These, these are they who, in their youthful days,
Found Jesus early, and in wisdom’s ways
Proved the fullness of His grace,
Washed in the blood of the Lamb.

CH-5) Safe, safe upon the ever shining shore,
Sin, pain, and death, and sorrow are all o’er;
Happy now and evermore,
Washed in the blood of the Lamb.

Questions:
1) Do you know a child whose faith is an inspiration to adults around?

2) What characteristics of that faith have you observed which are a lesson to all?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | March 29, 2017

Somebody Cares

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
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.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

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: Fanny Edna Stafford (details unknown)
Music: Home Alvan Rodeheaver (b. Oct. 4, 1880; d. Dec. 18, 1955)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Homer Rodeheaver)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: The words of this song were written by Fannie Edna Stafford, of whom we know little. We do know she was a semi-invalid for many years, and was subject to discouragement and depression. But one day the Lord spoke to her heart and brought special peace and comfort. Wanting to share the blessing, she wrote some lines of verse on a postcard, and sent them to gospel musician Homer Rodeheaver–whom she’d never met. Timidly she asked if the words were worth setting to music. He thought they were, and he did.

A politician said recently, “Many people are telling me…” “Who are these people?” countered an interviewer. “What facts and statistics do they cite? What’s the source of their information?” (Questions to which there was no response.) It’s an old trick. Be ambiguous and vague, and you can claim almost anything. Experts say, or somebody did so-and-so, but we’re not told who did.

When I was a college instructor, students had to write papers for me on a variety of subjects. One important feature of each paper was to be what’s called attribution. In footnotes, the student had to identify who made a statement he quoted, or where the key ideas and theories presented came from. The absence of this information weakened the paper, and lowered the grade given.

This kind of retreat into ambiguity appears with regard to spiritual things too. Middleweight boxing champion Rocky Graziano called his 1955 autobiography Somebody Up There Likes Me. One supposes he meant God, but was it the God of the Bible, or some other god? As to music, in 1951 a Johnny Lange song was recorded by Mahalia Jackson, Elvis Presley, and others. It’s subject was Somebody Bigger Than You and I, but not once in the song was this “Somebody” named.

What’s the reason for the avoidance of the Lord’s name? Is it meant to be a kind of guessing game–we’re given some clues, and left to figure it out for ourselves? Or does the song-writer not really know much at all about the Lord? Or is the author or the singer lacking in courage, and unwilling to appear too “religious”? Or is it a matter of money–that clearly identifying the God of the Bible might turn off those of other faiths, and decrease record sales? (It’s likely a mixture of these.)

The Bible urges us to speak with clarity about spiritual things. “For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle?” (I Cor. 14:8). God says, “I am the LORD [Jehovah], that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another” (Isa. 42:8). We need to identify the Lord by name, in order that hearers can consider Him, and their responsibility to Him.

When Paul was in Athens, he used religious vagueness as a springboard for preaching the gospel, saying, “As I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you” (Acts 17:23). He identified the true God as the Maker of all things, and called people to repentance and faith in Him (vs. 24-31).

This brings us to the present gospel song, published in 1905. The song, called Somebody Cares, says some wonderful things, things well worth pondering. My only concern is that the “Somebody” is not identified until the second-to-last line of the final stanza. If this Somebody “wants you to know Him,” as the writer says in stanza one, then she should make Him better known!

Pharaoh asked Moses, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?” (Exod. 5:2). Likely the question was asked sarcastically, since he subsequently showed no sincere desire to become a believer (cf. Job 21:14-15). But there are surely others who are open to the gospel, and desirous of knowing more about God.

It wasn’t necessary for Stafford to name the Lord Jesus Christ seventeen times, as Luther Bridgers does in He Keeps Me Singing, or eighteen times, as Robert Lowry does in Nothing But the Blood of Jesus (counting repeated refrains in both). But calling Him by name in each stanza would help a great deal.

CH-1) Somebody knows when your heart aches,
And everything seems to go wrong;
Somebody knows when the shadows
Need chasing away with a song;
Somebody knows when you’re lonely,
Tired, discouraged and blue;
Somebody wants you to know Him,
And know that He dearly loves you.

CH-3) Somebody loves you when weary;
Somebody loves you when strong;
Always is waiting to help you,
He watches you—one of the throng
Needing His friendship so holy,
Needing His watch-care so true;
His name? We call His name Jesus;
He loves everyone, He loves you.

Questions:
1) What are the things you would most want others to know about the Lord Jesus Christ?

2) What hymns do you know that say, clearly, a lot of important things about Him?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Homer Rodeheaver)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | March 27, 2017

He’s a Wonderful Saviour

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
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.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

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: Virgil Prentiss Brock (b. Jan. 6, 1887; d. Mar. 12, 1978)
Music: Blanche Kerr Brock (b. Feb. 3, 1888; d. Jan. 3, 1958)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Virgil and Blanche Brock)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Virgil Brock was a pastor, evangelist, and gospel song writer, serving in Indiana and the surrounding area. He was ably assisted by his wife Blanche, a former school teacher, a singer, pianist and composer. Together they were known as the Singing Brocks. Though Virgil lacked a knowledge of music theory, he produced over five hundred songs, with a musical assist from his talented wife.

We have seen the word “wonderful” several times in these articles. In Old English, a wundor was something astonishing. A wonder is marvelous and amazing. It stirs and excites our emotions as we are struck by its unexpected beauty, excellence, or power.

There are many wonders in nature. In our temperate climate, each season of the year has its own. In the fresh fall air, we enjoy the beautiful colour of the leaves, and winter can be a wonderland of dazzling snow drifts and frosted trees. In the spring, the warming air brings forth welcome green shoots, a sign of reviving life. In summer there are the flowers of every colour and shade to please the eye.

There are wonders in science and invention too, many of which were only the stuff of fiction when our parents or grandparents were born. The development of electric lighting, the telephone, computers, and air travel–which eventually led to journeys into space. Add to that motion pictures, radio, television, and the Internet, in the area of communication and entertainment, and life-saving medicines and procedures that have meant better health, and an increase in the average life span.

There are many wonderful people too, heroes of different kinds. There are the feats of Sergeant Alvin York in the First World War, and the inspiring oratory of Winston Churchill in the Second. After the war, there was the daily courage of Jackie Robinson, as he faced bigotry and hatred to help desegregate baseball.

And a young Canadian comes to mind. Terry Fox (1958-1981) contracted cancer, and it eventually took his life. But, before that, he accomplished an incredible feat. To raise money for cancer research, he ran across Canada from the east coast to Thunder Bay, Ontario–running the equivalent of a marathon each day, for 143 days, on one leg and a prosthesis! His legacy is continued with an annual Terry Fox Run.

But without any question, the most wonderful person of all is the Lord Jesus Christ. In prophecy, before His coming as a Babe in Bethlehem’s manger, Isaiah proclaimed, “Unto us a Child is born…and His name will be called Wonderful” (Isa. 9:6)–meaning that people would marvel, both at His holy character and His powerful works. In the New Testament, the word is used of the miracles of Jesus (Acts 2:22).

As the Saviour of redeemed sinners, He continues His wonderful work today. It’s not surprising Paul testified, “For me, to live is Christ,” and that he had “a desire to depart and be with Christ” (Phil. 1:21, 23). Peter recognized, “To you who believe, He is precious…whom having not seen you love” (I Pet. 2:7, 8). Countless others have found it so as well.

During a meeting conducted by the Brocks in 1918, they were thrilled by the testimony of a traveling salesman who told of leading a friend to faith in Christ, and then of having the same privilege with the man’s entire family. All through his description of this experience, he exclaimed, over and over, “Oh, He’s a wonderful Saviour to me!” The next morning, the Brocks wrote words and music of a song based on those words.

CH-1) I was lost in sin, but Jesus rescued me,
He’s a wonderful Saviour to me;
I was bound by fear, but Jesus set me free,
He’s a wonderful Saviour to me.

For He’s a wonderful Saviour to me,
He’s a wonderful Saviour to me;
I was lost in sin, but Jesus took me in:
He’s a wonderful Saviour to me.

CH-3) He is always near to comfort and to cheer,
He’s a wonderful Saviour to me;
He forgives my sins, He dries my every tear,
He’s a wonderful Saviour to me.

CH-4) Dearer grows the love of Jesus day by day,
He’s a wonderful Saviour to me.
Sweeter is His grace while pressing on my way,
He’s a wonderful Saviour to me.

Questions:
1) What is the most wonderful thing about the Lord Jesus to you, personally?

2) How does this realization affect your life, day by day?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Virgil and Blanche Brock)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | March 24, 2017

Lord, Make Me an Instrument

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
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.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

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: (unknown, see Note below)
Music: Eternal Life, by Olive Dungan (b. _____, 1903; d. _____, 1997)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (none)
Hymnary.org

Note: This is a lovely song often called the Prayer of St. Francis–though there isn’t any evidence that Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) wrote it. It does, however, have some similarities to the words of a companion of Francis’s, named Giles of Assisi:

“Blessed is he who loves and does not therefore desire to be loved; blessed is he who fears and does not therefore desire to be feared; blessed is he who serves and does not therefore desire to be served; blessed is he who behaves well toward others and does not desire that others behave well toward him; and because these are great things, the foolish do not rise to them.”

The actual text in question here can’t be traced back further than 1912, when it was printed in Paris, in a small magazine called La Clochette (The Little Bell). Around 1920, a French Franciscan priest printed the prayer on the back of an image of St. Francis, without attributing it to him. And in 1927 it appeared in the Quaker magazine, Friends’ Intelligencer, under the mistaken title “A Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.” This seems to be how the false idea of its origin grew. There are many versions of the prayer on YouTube, some with Dungan’s melody. But you will have to endure the repeated assertion that the words are Francis’s, which they, almost to a certainty, are not.

As the overall heading of these articles suggests, we are dealing with words here, their meaning, and application. We consider many words we use every day, but particularly the ones found in our traditional hymns, and used in the Bible.

This time, the word is instrument. An instrument is a tool, an implement, a piece of equipment which provides the means, or medium to do something. Often the word is associated with musical instruments. Whether something small, such as a harmonica, or massive like a cathedral pipe organ, these are devices used to make music.

“Praise the Lord with the harp; make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings” (Ps. 33:2).

There are other kinds of instruments–though we may not commonly associate the word with them. In Scripture, the Hebrew word for implements or utensils is also used of weapons of war (I Chron. 12:37). And today a surgeon’s scalpel is an instrument used for doing surgery; a stove is an instrument for preparing meals; a plow is an instrument used to prepare fields for planting.

But now we come to an especially exciting use of the word. Christians can think of themselves as instruments of God to be employed in His service.

“We are His workmanship [handiwork], created in Christ Jesus [i.e. through faith in Christ] for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).

Early on, the Apostle Paul (then called Saul) was described by the Lord as, “a chosen vessel [or implement] of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15). Speaking later of our human frailty, Paul wrote, “we have this treasure [the gospel of grace] in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (II Cor. 4:7).

And we are responsible to make sure we keep that vessel clean, so the work of God through us will not be hindered. “Each of you should know how to possess his own vessel [body] in sanctification and honour, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God” (I Thess. 4:4-5). “If anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honour, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work” (II Tim. 2:21).

Our bodies are an instrument that can be used to accomplish the will of God. Another word that is sometimes used is channel (related to the word canal). Just as a channel or canal is the means by which water is delivered to where it is needed, so we become channels of God’s love and grace to others. What a privilege that is! And, yes, what a responsibility!

Though Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace is sometimes thought of as a Roman Catholic prayer, it is also found in several Protestant hymnals, including Hymns for the Family of God (Paragon Associates Incorporated, 1976), and Worship and Rejoice (Hope Publishing Company, 2001), where it is called Make Me a Channel of Your Peace.

Its message is biblical (e.g. Romans 12:1-21; II Pet. 1:1-11), and it has been widely accepted as a fine description of what it means to live a God honouring life.

As to the last statement, that “it is in dying that we are born to eternal life,” if the author intended this to say that eternal life will be granted to those who live good lives, that is not what the Bible teaches. Eternal life is ours as a free gift of God, when we put our faith in Christ (Jn. 3:16, 36; Acts 16:30-31; Gal. 3:26; etc). But it is true that dying in Christ, and being raised in Christ, by faith, are the basis for eternal life (Rom. 6:5; Gal. 2:10).

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace:
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Questions:
1) Which of the things listed in the song stands out as something you have tried to do?

2) Which of the things in the song is a thing you especially need to work on more?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (none)
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | March 22, 2017

‘Twas Jesus’ Blood

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
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.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

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: Harry Dixon Loes (b. Oct. 20, 1892; d. Feb. 9, 1965)
Music: Harry Dixon Loes

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Harry Loes born, died)
The Cyber Hymnal (Harry Loes)
Hymnary.org

Note: His given name was Harold Loes, but he took the middle name Dixon to express his admiration of Rev. Amzi Dixon, who was at the time the gifted pastor of Moody Church, in Chicago. From 1939 until his retirement, Mr. Loes served on the music faculty of Moody Bible Institute, and contributed dozens of fine gospel songs to the Christian community.

There’s an average of five litres of blood in the human body. About once a minute, it is circulated completely around the body, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the cells, and carrying away carbon dioxide and waste. The blood does a wonderful job of cleansing our bodies.

The actual filtering is done when the blood passes through the kidneys. When these are not functioning properly, harmful residues can build up, making the individual seriously ill. The doctor may suggest the possibility of planning for a transplant. Meantime, dialysis is the answer. Dialysis puts the blood through a filter outside the body, returning it again afterward. My friend Jim was on dialysis for many years, and it enabled him to carry on a relatively active life, in between trips to the hospital for the treatment.

There is a spiritual parallel. What is accomplished by the blood in our bodies is only a small picture of the purifying power of the blood of Christ. In the Old Testament, the Levitical priests offered animal sacrifices to make atonement for sin, because “without shedding of blood there is no remission [no forgiveness]” (Heb. 9:22). But no permanent cleansing of sin could be brought about by the death of an animal (Heb. 10:4). This was only a temporary provision, a picture of what was to come through the death of Christ on the cross (Jn. 1:29; I Cor. 15:3).

Now that Christ has died and risen again, “We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). When an individual puts his or her faith in Christ, the Bible says, “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (I Jn. 1:7), washed “whiter than snow,” as David puts it (Ps. 51:7).

“Our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ…gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Tit. 2:13-14).

Given the message of God’s Word, it’s not surprising that many hymn writers have written songs about the blood of Christ and it’s power. Here are a few examples. William Cowper’s hymn There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood was inspired by an Old Testament prophecy, “There shall be a fountain opened to the house of David [i.e. from the family of David] and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness” (Zech. 13:1).

Echoing what was said earlier, a gospel song by Lewis Jones says There Is Power in the Blood, and one by Canadian hymn writer Civilla Martin assures us The Blood Will Never Lose It’s Power. Robert Lowry’s hymn asks, “What can wash away my sin?” and it answers, “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” Elisha Hoffman makes the message practical and personal with Are You Washed in the Blood?

To this may be added a 1941 gospel song by Harry Dixon Loes, a song of testimony entitled simply ‘Twas Jesus’ Blood.

1) A sinner, lost, condemned was I,
Doomed an eternal death to die;
But Jesus died for me,
He bore sin’s penalty,
On Calv’ry’s hill was lifted high.

‘Twas Jesus’ blood that ransomed me,
From chains of sin He set me free,
While ages roll my song shall be:
‘Twas Jesus’ blood that ransomed me.

2) I ne’er could be at peace with God,
But for the cleansing, crimson flood,
No one but Christ could win
Atonement for all sin–
He signed my pardon with His blood.

Questions:
1) What does Peter mean when he speaks of Christ’s blood as “precious” (I Pet. 1:18-19)–precious why, in what way?

2) What is your favourite song about the precious blood of Christ?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Harry Loes born, died)
The Cyber Hymnal (Harry Loes)
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | March 20, 2017

Lord, I Want to Be a Christian

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
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.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

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: (unknown)
Music: (unknown)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Both the text and tune of this song were first published in Folk Songs of the American Negro (1907), compiled by brothers Frederick Jerome Work (1871-1925) and John Wesley Work, Jr. (1873-1925), who laboured long to preserve the heritage of music found in the oral tradition and culture of the slaves of America in earlier years.

T hings can be quite different outside and inside–different in how they appear to us and what they actually are like.

There can be, for example, a cleverly made plastic replica of a famous statue. It may have the appearance of the artist’s creation, chiseled from hard and heavy marble. But pick it up and you will realize the difference. It doesn’t have the weight and substance of the original. It’s an hollow imitation.

This can be the case with people too. Perhaps actors or actresses play wonderful characters in films or on television, portraying moral and reliable family members in fictional stories. But when details of their personal behaviour appear in the news, we discover they’re nothing like that. That their lives present a sad history of marital unfaithfulness, dishonesty, abuse of others, and so on.

Or what about the woman who seems well off, and moves in a social circle of people who are wealthy and powerful, but it’s discovered that she lives way beyond her means and is, in fact, deeply in debt? Or the man who boasts of his talents and accomplishments, but we learn that it’s all an act and a fraud?

In the time Christ was on earth, many of the Pharisees were like that. They were the religious conservatives of the Jewish world. They not only claimed to be faithful followers of the Law of Israel, but adopted hundreds of man-made rules meant to show how very pious they were. And they loved to show off their religiosity to others (Matt. 6:5).

But, for many of them, it was all a hollow sham. The Lord compared them to “whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matt. 23:27). They were among those who “honour Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matt. 15:8). Outside and inside.

There’s an old African-American spiritual that relates to all of this. We do not know the poet’s name, but historians have placed the time the song was created to be during the ministry of an evangelist named Samuel Davies, who served in the state of Virginia between 1748 and 1756. During that time, a slave came to Davies to learn more about the Christian faith. He said to the evangelist:

“I come to you, sir, that you may tell me some good things concerning Jesus Christ and my duty to God, for I am resolved not to live any more as I have done….Sir, I want to be a Christian in my heart.”

What did he mean by that last statement? Likely this. He had observed his slave masters attending church, and talking about their religion. But, he wondered how they could truly be filled with the love of Christ and enslave other human beings, so often cruelly mistreating them. The man wanted the kind of Christianity that affected the inside, as well as the outside of his life.

It was out of that encounter that the spiritual was born. And it was intended as more than a prayer. It was a kind of declaration of purpose, a testimony of how the singer was determined to live. In succeeding stanzas it says:

Lord, I want to be a Christian in-a my heart, in-a my heart,
Lord, I want to be a Christian in-a my heart.
In-a my heart, in-a my heart,
Lord, I want to be a Christian in-a my heart.

Lord, I want to be more loving in-a my heart…

Lord, I want to be more holy in-a my heart…

Lord, I want to be like Jesus in-a my heart.

And there’s another stanza of the song less often sung today. It comes just before the last one above, and says:

I don’t want to be like Judas in-a my heart…

Judas Iscariot was a hypocrite and deceiver (Jn. 12:4-6). This had a special meaning in the slave culture. Slave owners and overseers liked to play one slave off against the others. Those who brought them tales of the misbehaviour of another slave were given special privileges. But this was seen among the slaves as a betrayal of their people, much like the way Judas betrayed Christ (Matt. 26:14-16).

May the simple declarations of this old song be our own, as we walk in faith and obedience toward God.

Questions:
1) What will the difference be between a person who tries to act like a Christian on the outside, and one who is a Christian from the inside out?

2) Do you have a favourite spiritual?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | March 17, 2017

Jesus Will Walk with Me

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
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.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

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: Haldor Lillenas (b. Nov. 19, 1885; d. Aug. 18, 1959)
Music: Haldor Lillenas

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Haldor Lillenas born, died)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: In 1922, hymn writer Haldor Lillenas, who wrote about four thousand songs, gave us this one about his confidence in the Lord’s continuing presence.

Walking has long been used as a gentle, low-impact form of exercise. It strengthens the heart, lowers risk of disease, helps with weight loss, gives new energy, and releases feel-good endorphins which help to reduce stress and anxiety. Further, walking with others provides opportunities for friendly conversation, and encourages participants to be faithful in maintaining an exercise program.

The pressure of finding time in a busy schedule, or a lack of discipline on our part can hinder us from keeping it up. And winter weather in our Canadian climate certainly discourages walking. But city dwellers have found facilities such as malls where they can walk indoors.

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible uses forms of the word “walk” nearly four hundred times. Sometimes it’s speaking of physical walking, as when a couple returning to their home in the village of Emmaus were joined along the way by the risen Christ (Lk. 24:15, 17). Other times, the word is used in a symbolic sense to picture the believer’s earthly pilgrimage, as we walk with God. There’s a stirring and infectious spiritual about that.

Walk together children, don’t you get weary,
Walk together children, don’t you get weary;
O talk together children, don’t you get weary–
There’s a great camp meeting in the Promised Land.

The Lord addresses the nation of Israel after they’d strayed from Him, asking, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3). Just as we can only enjoy one another’s company on a walk if we follow the same path, so, spiritually, we can only have fellowship with God when we go His way–since He will never accommodate Himself to walking the sinner’s way. (It’s interesting that the word “confess,” in First John 1:9, means literally to agree–i.e. agree with God about our sin. Confession is admission we’re going the wrong way, and want to adjust our walk to God’s way.)

In the New Testament, our word is used many times to describe the Christian life, a life of day by day, step by step, faith and obedience toward God. Just as, when we walk physically, we repeatedly obey a message from our brain to take a step, and we step out trusting that we’re going the right way, and in confidence that we can step safely, so it is in our spiritual walk. This is the focus of John Sammis’s fine gospel song Trust and Obey, which begins, “When we walk with the Lord…”

We are to “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16). The Amplified Bible expands upon this in a helpful way: “Walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit, [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit].” This will involve walking by faith (Rom. 4:12; II Cor. 5:7), walking “properly”–i.e. behaving morally (Rom. 13:13), and walking in love (Eph. 5:2). We are to “walk in newness of life [in Christ]” (Rom. 6:4), and walk in a way that’s fitting for those God calls to Himself (Eph. 4:1). The Christian walk is described elsewhere as walking in the light (I Jn. 1:7).

Since earliest times, living with consistent faith in God, and living righteously, have been described as walking with God. For Adam and Eve, this seems to have included some kind of physical revelation of God’ s presence (Gen. 3:8), but most times it involves a spiritual awareness of His presence that significantly affects how we live our lives. Thus Enoch and Noah are said to have walked with God (Gen. 5:22; 6:9).

For His part, the Lord promises believers His presence with us. This is a special encouragement to those who face persecution and oppression because of their faith. “He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” (Heb. 13:5-6).

CH-1) Jesus will walk with me down through the valley,
Jesus will walk with me over the plain;
When in the shadow or when in the sunshine,
If He goes with me I shall not complain.

Jesus will walk with me,
He will talk with me;
He will walk with me;
In joy or in sorrow, today and tomorrow,
I know He will walk with me.

CH-2) Jesus will walk with me when I am tempted,
Giving me strength as my need may demand;
When in affliction His presence is near me,
I am upheld by His almighty hand.”

CH-4) Jesus will walk with me in life’s fair morning,
And when the shadows of evening must come;
Living or dying, He will not forsake me.
Jesus will walk with me all the way home.

Questions:
1) What is your own experience of sensing the presence of the Lord with you?

2) How have you dealt with the situation when you have stumbled in your walk?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Haldor Lillenas born, died)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | March 15, 2017

No One Understands Like Jesus

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
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.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

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: John Willard Peterson (b. Nov. 1, 1921; d. Sept. 20, 2006)
Music: John Willard Peterson

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (John Peterson)
The Cyber Hymnal (John Peterson)
Hymnary.org

Note: Over a long career Peterson wrote over a thousand hymns, both words and music, and several dozen musicals and cantatas.

It’s rude. It’s hurtful. To retort, “Who cares?” in response to what others are saying is to show how small we are, how out of touch with the needs and feelings of another human being. To say, “Who cares?” is to demolish a bridge of hope and trust that may never be rebuilt.

Caring about (and for) others is a significant aspect of social interaction. It’s a part of what makes life meaningful and fulfilling. Many have written perceptively about it. One said, “The simple act of caring is heroic.” Another, “Only those who care about you can hear you when you’re quiet.” And still another, “The closest thing to being cared for is to care for someone else.”

Even so, the opposite of caring can often be seen. A craving for personal advantage and advancement can swallow up concern for others. A couple of examples come to mind from Scripture.

One is Ahithophel, a close friend an advisor of King David. He is likely the one David had in mind when he described, “a man like me, my close friend in whom I confided. We would share personal thoughts with each other; in God’s temple we would walk together among the crowd” (Ps. 55:13-14, NET).

But when the king’s son Absalom led a rebellion against his father, Ahithophel quickly deserted his long-time friend and joined the ill-considered uprising. No wonder David grieved, “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me” (Ps. 41:9).

Judas Iscariot in the New Testament was one of the twelve followers of Christ, those who walked and talked with Jesus for about three years, and who were specially trained for future ministry. But Judas turned against his Master, secretly plotting to betray him for a payment of thirty pieces of silver. The Lord knew all about it, and applied to Judas David’s sorrowing words about Ahithophel, seeing in them a further fulfilment (Jn. 13:18, 26; cf. Ps. 41:9).

Who cares? Ahithophel didn’t, when he thought more of his own advancement and personal power than of his friend the king. And Judas didn’t care enough to remain loyal to his Lord. Later, he was so desperately remorseful over what he’d done that, like Ahithophel, he “went and hanged himself” (Matt. 27:5; cf. II Sam. 17:23).

How wonderful that the care and compassion of the Lord for us is more enduring than that! In the same psalm in which David expresses pain over the unfaithfulness of his friend, he urges us, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you” (Ps. 55:22). And Peter, who witnessed the perfidy of Judas, echoed his words: “Casting all your care [anxiety] upon Him, for He cares [is deeply concerned] for you” (I Pet. 5:7).

Hymn writer John Peterson learned to do that during a difficult time. He wrote of an occasion, years ago, when he was working for an unnamed Christian organization. A supervisory position opened up, and his superiors said he would be promoted to it. Peterson was pleased at the advancement, and believed he could handle the job.

However, without notice or explanation, a man was brought in from outside the company and given the position. The caustic remarks of the new man toward Peterson further pained him. Discouragement gripped him. He felt alone and forsaken, and was tempted to become bitter, until he began thinking about the great compassion of the Lord. Who cares? He does!

It was those thoughts that led to the writing of a hymn.

1) No one understands like Jesus
He’s a Friend beyond compare;
Meet Him at the throne of mercy,
He is waiting for you there.

No one understands like Jesus,
When the days are dark and grim;
No one is so near, so dear as Jesus,
Cast your ev’ry care on Him.

3) No one understands like Jesus,
When the foes of life assail;
You should never be discouraged,
Jesus cares and will not fail.

Questions:
1) Did you ever have a time when you felt betrayed by a friend?

2) What did you do about this?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (John Peterson)
The Cyber Hymnal (John Peterson)
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | March 13, 2017

Jesus Lives, and So Shall I

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
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.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

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: Christian Fürchtegott Gellert (b. July 4, 1715; d. Dec. 13, 1769)
Music: Lindisfarne, by John Bacchus Dykes (b. Mar. 10, 1823; d. Jan. 22, 1876)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Christian Gellert was a German university professor. Something of his story is found in the Wordwise Hymns link. This resurrection hymn was written in German in 1751. When he was told in December of 1769 that he was likely to die in an hour, he lifted up his hands with a cheerful look, and exclaimed, “Now, God be praised, only an hour!”

There have been a number of quite different English translations of the words. This has led to several different tunes being used, as one had to be chosen to fit the particular text. The translation found in the Cyber Hymnal is by Frances Elizabeth Cox (1812-1897). It begins:

Jesus lives! no longer now
Can thy terrors, death, appall us.

There is another version by Philip Schaff (1819-1893). Still another, the first displayed on the title page by Hymnary.org, is by John Dunmore Lang (completed in 1826). It is the one I’ve used here.

Follow the Leader is a children’s game that has been around for at least a couple of centuries– though it was called Follow My Leader at first. A leader is chosen, and the others line up behind. They must go wherever the leader does, and do what he (or she) does, or be out of the game.

The general principle of following the lead of another has been applied to marching, and dancing, as well as to symphony orchestras. It also provides an analogy to what happens in politics or religion. A leader emerges, being selected by a group. The selection is usually based on various predetermined criteria: the past history of the individual, his evident training and ability, a sheer force of personality, and more.

In the political arena, procedures are established for nominating candidates and voting on them. Sometimes the selection produces widespread satisfaction, and the majority follow their captain enthusiastically. Other times the leader fails to live up to expectations. In extreme cases the one appointed is shown to be incompetent, or even dishonest. He loses his following, and is either voted out of office or impeached. Charged with offenses disqualifying him from the position, he is duly dismissed.

In church ministry, similar things can happen, either with regard to one who heads a para-church organization, a church denomination, or one who provides leadership over a local congregation. Leaders are chosen based on their compatibility with the doctrinal position and policies of the group, their understanding of what the job entails, and some ability demonstrated in earlier experience.

Christlike character is also an area of great importance for Christian leaders. Paul told the Corinthian believers, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (I Cor. 11:1). Or we might say, follow me to the extent that I follow my Leader. Sadly, there have been instances of sinful behaviour that have resulted, not only in dismissal of the individual, but in a shadow being cast upon the whole group, a circumstance that can hinder their ministry for some time to come.

The incarnate Son of God was (and is) a Leader beyond all others, and frequently, during the years of His earthly ministry, He issued a call to individuals to, “Follow Me” (e.g. Matt. 4:19; 8:22; 9:9; 16:24; 19:21). It was a summons to discipleship, to learn from Him things needed for their future ministry, after He ascended back into heaven. But it is another application of following Him that we look at here.

The Lord Jesus referred to this, just prior to His crucifixion, but the disciples misunderstood. He said to them, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward” (Jn. 13:36). The Lord had spoken of His coming betrayal (Jn. 13:21), and His followers were aware of the growing hostility of the Jewish leaders. They thought perhaps He was going into hiding, but He was speaking of His ascension, His return to the Father’s right hand, after His resurrection from the dead (Lk. 24:50-53).

The Bible teaches that because Christ rose from the dead He has provided the means for all who believe on Him to be victorious over death. “Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits [the first of many] of those who have fallen asleep [i.e. in death]” (I Cor. 15:20). It is in light of this that Jesus was able to say, “Because I live, you will live also” (Jn. 14:19).

Based on the latter text, Christian Gellert has given us a fine hymn.

1) Jesus lives, and so shall I.
Death! thy sting is gone forever!
He who deigned for me to die,
Lives, the bands of death to sever.
He shall raise me from the dust:
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

5) Jesus lives, and death is now
But my entrance into glory.
Courage, then, my soul, for thou
Hast a crown of life before thee;
Thou shalt find thy hopes were just;
Jesus is the Christian’s Trust.

Questions:
1) What are some of the reasons Christ had to rise again?

2) What is your favourite resurrection or Easter hymn?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | March 10, 2017

A Sinner Made Whole

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
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.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

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: William McPherson Lighthall (b. _____, 1865; d. Apr. 26, 1949)
Music: Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (b. Aug. 18, 1856; d. Sept. 15, 1932)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Charles Gabriel)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Born in Quebec, Canada, Lightall eventually moved to the United States. For more than thirty years, he worked as a station agent and telegrapher for the railroad. He was active in his church, served as a member of the local school board, also working with the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavour, and the YMCA. He wrote a number of gospel songs.

Sometimes it’s said of a spry senior citizen that he’s “hale and hearty.” To say the man is hearty is to say he’s lively and energetic, even in old age. But hale is a hold-over from the word hāl in Old English many centuries ago. It’s the way they used to say the word “whole,” meaning (in this case) sound in body, unimpaired by disability. To be hale and hearty is to be both physically healthy and vigorous.

We all aspire to that, as the years add up But it’s often not the case. Movement for many becomes restricted and painful with age, and debilitating illness visits and stays longer. Not to belabour a discouraging point beyond what’s necessary here, the insurance companies that speak of the “golden years” of a retirement, full of activity and travel, are speaking of something some will never experience.

In the Bible, wholeness is used several times in connection with the miracles of Christ. His divine authority and power over disease brought that outcome. People marveled that “the maimed [were] made whole” (Matt. 15:31). Jesus healed a man with a withered hand, and it was “restored as whole as the other” (Mk. 3:5). A woman with a chronic hemorrhage was made “well” (Mk. 5:34, translating the same Greek word). Later, Peter said, when another lame man was healed, that he was made “whole” on the authority of Jesus Christ (Acts. 4:10).

There is another use of the term in God’s Word, in connection with our speech. Orthodoxy and soundness of doctrinal teaching is referred to as “wholesome words” (I Tim. 6:3), and Proverbs states that “a wholesome tongue [healthy speech] is a tree of life” (Prov. 15:4). (How we may wish that a certain American politician guarded his tongue a little better, and spoke with more wholesome words!)

The actual word “whole” is not used in our English Bibles to describe spiritual well being, but the thought is certainly there. Scripture says, “You are complete in Him [meaning in Christ]” (Col. 2:10). In Him, our spiritual standing before God is perfected, since we are credited with the righteousness of Christ (II Cor.5:21). And in Christ our spiritual needs for daily living are met to the full as well. “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (II Pet. 1:3). By these things, we are able to live out in practical experience what the Lord has done for us.

One becomes a Christian through faith in Christ (Gal. 2:26). “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). We are “accepted [and enriched] in the Beloved [God’s beloved Son]” (Eph. 1:6). It is as though we have been clothed in Christ, dressed in robes of His righteousness, and what is seen by the Father, when He looks at us, is Christ. Our legal standing in the books of heaven is a settled thing. And the Spirit of God begins to build in us the character of Christ (Gal. 5:22-23), and equips us to serve the Lord through His Word (II Tim. 3:16-17).

In Christ, there is wholeness, both as to our standing before God and, progressively as to our spiritual state! That’s the subject of this hymn by William Lighthall.

CH-1) There’s a song in my heart that my lips cannot sing,
’Tis praise in the highest to Jesus my King;
Its music each moment is thrilling my soul,
For I was a sinner, but Christ made me whole.

A sinner made whole! A sinner made whole!
The Saviour has bought me and ransomed my soul!
My heart is now singing; the anthem is ringing,
For I was a sinner, but Christ made me whole.

CH-2) I shall stand one day faultless and pure by His throne,
Transformed from my image, conformed to His own;
Then I shall find words for the song of my soul,
For I was a sinner, but Christ made me whole.

Questions:
1) What are some of the things included in being spiritually “whole”?

2) How will these things look to others observing our lives?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Charles Gabriel)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

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