Posted by: rcottrill | April 9, 2018

Following 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: Leonard W. Weaver (late 19th century)
Music: Mary E. Upham Currier (b. _____; d. Nov. 8, 1909)

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

Note: In 1904, Englishman Leonard Weaver and an American, Mary (Upham) Currier, combined their gifts to write a gospel song called Following Jesus. Some hymn books have the title as “The Lord Is My Shepherd,” but this would seem too easily confused with other hymns. Nevertheless, it will be seen that this is another of many hymns with allusions to Psalm 23.

Weaver, born in England in the late nineteenth century, provided the words. He became a pastor and evangelist, eventually moving to Grimsby, in southern Ontario (a few miles from where I was born, and lived many years). Mary Currier, composer of the tune, lived in Massachusetts. She was a friend and distant cousin of Fanny Crosby.

The Flat Earth Society was founded on the theories of English writer Samuel Rowbotham (1816–1884). Their idea is that the earth is not a sphere, but a flat disk, with the North Pole at the centre, and the South Pole forming a one hundred and fifty foot wall of ice all around the outside–apparently to keep us from falling off!

The notion defies logic. If this were so, we would all have daylight at the same time, and night at the same time–which we don’t. Further, the flat earthers must reject scientific discovery. Mr. Rowbotham lived in a time before space travel. We now have the ability to view the world from space, and see that it’s round, not flat.

Even so, there are still those who cling to the idea. Adherents are planning a conference in Edmonton, Alberta, not far from us, featuring speakers from “all over the Flat Earth,” and expecting hundreds of people to attend. Quipped someone on their Facebook page, “Will there be a meet and greet? I’d love to get my globe signed.”

Followers of this theory are either deceived by others, or self-deceived. But it’s amazing what some will believe–at times with tragic results. Consider the Peoples Temple, a cult led by Jim Jones (1931-1978). Following him led to death. In their colony in Guyana, South America, on an order from Jones, over nine hundred of them committed suicide (a third of these children), by drinking Kool-Aid laced with cyanide. Jim Jones was later found dead of a gunshot wound, another apparent suicide. Following a leader requires a decision that may be life-changing, or even deadly.

In the Bible, all the way from Genesis (Gen. 24:5, 61) to Revelation (Rev. 14:13; 19:14), some form of the word “follow” is used nearly three hundred times. In the Gospels alone it’s found more than eighty times, sometimes as direct command from the Lord Jesus Christ.

“He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ They immediately left their nets and followed Him” (Matt. 4:19-20).

In fact, “Great multitudes followed Him” (Matt. 4:25), but not always for the right reasons. Some did so because they were amazed and entertained by His miracles. Others because they were hoping Jesus would become a revolutionary leader to free them from Roman tyranny. Christ recognized that not all had put their faith in Him (Jn. 6:64). And following Him was going to be costly.

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24).

Perhaps at that challenge to self sacrifice, there came a day when, “many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (Jn. 6:66). Would the twelve do the same, He asked.

“Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’” (Jn. 6:68-69).

The Lord Jesus compared true discipleship to sheep following a shepherd. The animals were dependent on him for their food, and their protection. They needed to stay close to the shepherd. And Jesus said the shepherd “goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice” (Jn. 10:4). And He declared, “I am the Good Shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own (vs. 14).

CH-1) I have a Shepherd, one I love so well;
How He has blessed me tongue can never tell;
On the cross He suffered, shed His blood, and died,
That I might ever in His love confide.

Following Jesus ever day by day,
Nothing can harm me when He leads the way;
Sunshine or shadow, whate’er befall,
Jesus my Shepherd is my All in All.

CH-2) Pastures abundant doth His hand provide,
Still waters flowing ever at my side;
Goodness and mercy follow on my track;
With such a Shepherd nothing can I lack.

CH-4) When the work is over and the journey done,
Then He will lead me safely to my home;
There I shall dwell in rapture pure and sweet,
And with the loved ones gather at His feet.

Questions:
1) What are the different aspects of the Lord’s shepherd care that particularly bless and encourage you?

2) What other hymns do you know that take up this theme?

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

Posted by: rcottrill | April 4, 2018

And Can It Be?

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: Charles Wesley (b. Dec. 18, 1707; d. Mar. 29, 1788)
Music: Sagina, by Thomas Campbell (b. July 27, 1777; d. June 15, 1844)

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

Note: Silas H. Paine, in his 1926 book Stories of the Great Hymns of the Church, says, “The conversion of Charles Wesley marks an epoch in the religious history of the world as remarkable as that which dates from the conversion of Saul of Tarsus [i.e. the Apostle Paul].”

I would not go nearly that far. Paul was not only a great theologian and missionary, but God revealed through him much of the New Testament Scriptures. However, in terms of their work in Britain, John and his brother Charles were used of God to transform eighteenth century society in a significant way. They also founded the Methodist denomination, that has since ministered worldwide. In no small way, their impact is due to the many fine hymns Charles has given us.

There are many wonderful things to be seen in the world of nature, from the jagged arrow of a lightning bolt, to the tiny twinkling light of a firefly, and from the mysterious grandeur of the northern lights, to the intricate marvel of a spider’s web.

When we lived in Ontario, years ago, my wife and I visited Niagara Falls many times. On a couple of occasions we took the opportunity to climb down under the falls–slickers and rubber boots provided for everyone by the park authority. There you can stand with your back to the rocky cliff and experience the thundering, earthshaking power of tons of water cascading a few feet in front of you. It’s an unforgettable reminder of the awesome power of God.

The Bible says God “does…wonders without number” (Job 9:10). And surpassing all natural wonders is His great salvation, rescuing us from eternal condemnation, through the Calvary work of Christ. It gave us a magnificent hymn by Charles Wesley. He trusted Christ as his Saviour on May 21st, 1728, and right after wrote two hymns of personal testimony.

One of these says, “Where shall my wondering soul begin?” The other song, more widely known, is And Can It Be? Yet, though he rejoiced in what God had done for him, Wesley began to worry whether writing about it involved sinful boasting on his part. He wrote in his journal:

“At nine I began a hymn on my conversion, but was persuaded to break off for fear of pride. Mr. Bray coming, encouraged me to proceed in spite of Satan. I prayed Christ to stand by me and finished the hymn….I clearly discerned that it was a device of the enemy to keep back glory from God. And it is not unusual with him [i.e. the devil] to preach humility, when [our] speaking will endanger his kingdom, or do honour to Christ.”

The hymn shows the author’s wonderment at what the Lord had done, expressed by several questions in the opening stanza.

CH-1) And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Saviour’s blood?

And why this is such a puzzle to the author comes out in other questions:

Died He for me, who caused His pain–
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

Wesley had grasped a couple of essential facts.

1) First, that Christ died to take upon Himself the punishment for human sin, including that of the author. That’s the repeated testimony of the Scriptures. Isaiah prophesied of Him, seven centuries before His coming: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6).

The New Testament takes up the theme. The Lord Jesus Himself said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). And in the epistles we have, “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (I Cor. 15:3). “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree….For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, (I Pet. 2:24; 3:18).

2) The second fact realized by Charles Wesley was that, in a very real sense, it was he who drove the nails into the Saviour’s hands and feet. It was he (along with others) who were responsible. Isaiah hints at the paradox when he says, “He was wounded [by us sinners] for our transgressions, He was bruised [by us] for our iniquities” (Isa. 53:5, added phrases mine). God turned our rejection of Christ into the means of saving us! Amazing! “Surely the wrath of men shall praise You” (Ps. 76:10).

One commentator calls this hymn “an extraordinary and daring tour-de-force, both poetically and theologically.” The life-changing power of Wesley’s wondering faith is seen in the final stanzas. (Note: There is a fifth stanza–which you can see on the Cyber Hymnal link–not commonly used today.)

CH-4) Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray–
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

CH-6) No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Questions:
1) Is it true that sometimes personal testimonies about what God has done for us can become self-glorifying?

2) How can this be avoided?

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

Posted by: rcottrill | April 2, 2018

Come, Let Us Join Our Cheerful Songs

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: Isaac Watts (b. July 17, 1674; d. Nov. 25, 1748)
Music: Gräfenberg, by Johann Crüger (b. Apr. 9, 1598; d. Feb. 23, 1662)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Isaac Watts)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Isaac Watts has been justly called the Father of English Hymnody. In a day when the church he attended sang only the Psalms, he argued that they were missing a great deal of important New Testament truth. When the church agreed to try some new songs, he proceeded to write them, around six hundred of them, before he was done. Some we still sing, centuries later.

There are things we choose to do for fun, and others we do because they’re necessary. We may listen to music because we enjoy it. But when it comes to eating our food, we need to do that to live. Whether it’s enjoyable or not is another matter.

There are certainly exceptions, but to some extent we have a responsibility for our attitudes–enjoyment, or otherwise. We can respond to the challenges of life with misery or mirth, grumbling or gratitude. Many times when something is painful or difficult, we may be able to look beyond it and find pleasure in the end result. Surgery provides an example. Not pleasant in itself, but with the potential of benefits up ahead.

The early Christians looked at persecution in a positive way. When they were arrested and beaten for preaching the gospel (Acts 5:40), “they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His [Jesus’] name” (vs. 41). And when the Apostle Paul was put in prison, he saw a opportunity to tell his guards about Christ, and realized his courage in prison  spurred other believers to new boldness in their witness (Phil. 1:12-14).

The Lord Jesus Himself provides a profound example. He was arrested, and falsely charged, beaten, and finally crucified–a horrific form of punishment. But the Bible says, He “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising [scorning] the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2). He had joy in paying our debt of sin, and “in bringing many sons to glory” (Heb. 2:10).

The Bible speaks of cheerfulness, and it’s an interesting word. Centuries ago, it came from a word for the human face. Then it grew to mean the emotions and inner attitudes that often show themselves in our faces. “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance” (Prov. 15:13).

We commonly think of a cheerful person as one who is happy or joyful. But there’s another element to it. The word can also carry the sense of ungrudging, enthusiastic, and prompt. For instance, when the Bible says, “God loves a cheerful giver” (II Cor. 9:7), it means we support the Lord’s work with our gifts, not only joyfully, but promptly, and without grudging.

This is surely to be our attitude when we sing songs of praise to God. It’s a cheerful task we ought to do joyfully, and promptly, without grudging.

David wrote, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him” (Ps. 28:7).

And Puritan Thomas Watson (1620-1686) said, “Cheerfulness…puts the heart in tune to praise God, and so honours religion by proclaiming to the world that we serve a good Master.”

Pastor and hymn writer Isaac Watts would certainly agree. His song, Come, Let Us Join Our Cheerful Songs, published in 1707, captures something of the atmosphere of joyful praise that surrounds the throne of God, as described in Revelation.

“You [Christ] were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation….Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honour and glory and blessing!” (Rev. 5:9, 12).

Watts’ hymn says:

CH-1) Come, let us join our cheerful songs
With angels round the throne.
Ten thousand thousand are their tongues,
But all their joys are one.

CH-2) “Worthy the Lamb that died,” they cry,
“To be exalted thus!”
“Worthy the Lamb,” our hearts reply,
“For He was slain for us!”

CH-3) Jesus is worthy to receive
Honour and power divine;
And blessings more than we can give,
Be, Lord, forever Thine.

CH-5) The whole creation join in one,
To bless the sacred name
Of Him who sits upon the throne,
And to adore the Lamb.

Questions:
1) Can you list three wonderfully “cheerful” (joyful) hymns?

2) Can a believer be cheerful, yet sensitive to, and in tune with, those going through trials? (How can these be expressed together?)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Isaac Watts)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | March 28, 2018

Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah

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 Williams (b. Feb. 11, 1717; d. Jan. 11:1791)
Music: Cwm Rhondda, by John Hughes (b. Nov. 22, 1873; d. May 14, 1932)

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

Note: Some hymnals change the first line (and amend the title) to “Guide me O Thou great Redeemer.”

William Williams was a remarkable man. Early on, he studied medicine, intending to become a doctor. But one Sunday morning, as he was returning home from college, he noticed how a group of believers gathered in a church cemetery as if they were waiting for someone. Soon an evangelist named Howell Harris joined them. He leaped up on a flat tombstone and started to preach.

While the services in the church nearby were formal and cold, there was none of that with Harris. Like John the Baptist, with fiery oratory he called upon the people to repent of their sins and be saved. The message struck home. Williams’ biographer says, “His convictions of sin were deep and alarming, but his subsequent joy proportionately high.” William Williams put his faith in Christ that day, and instead of becoming a physician, set a new course as an evangelist.

He traveled the length and breadth of Wales, over two thousand miles a year, on foot and on horseback, preaching the gospel, and he did that for nearly fifty years. It was Howell Harris who challenged him to write hymns, and he did that too, authoring more than eight hundred of them and becoming known as the Isaac Watts of Wales.

Someone has said a hymn is like a singing angel that goes walking through the earth, scattering devils before it. That could describe William Williams, with his preaching and his songs.

The Guiding Light holds the record of being the longest running soap opera ever. It began on the radio in 1937, and came to television twenty years later, where it ran for fifty-seven years.

In the story, widowed pastor John Ruthledge served at a non-denominational church in a fictional mid-western town. The “guiding light” referred to a lamp in his study which always remained lit, as a symbol of the church’s welcome to anyone in need.

To “guide” is to lead or direct movement in some way. There is also a hint of protection in the word. Guides are employed to direct others in a safe path. Explorers and hunters, as well as vacationers traveling through a wilderness area often employ a guide.

During the forty years that the people of Israel wandered in the wilderness, God revealed His presence among them with a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night (Exod. 13:21-22). The movement of that pillar (in other words, of the Lord Himself), directed them through all the years of their journeying (Exod. 40:38).

In 1745, William Williams wrote a great hymn that uses Israel’s wilderness journey as a picture of the Christian’s spiritual pilgrimage through this life. (And, incidentally, if you want to hear this hymn sung with the vigour I believe it merits, check out the YouTube link in the first Wordwise Hymns link.) The hymn begins:

CH-1) Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of heaven, Bread of heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.

In New Testament terms, it’s the Lord Jesus Christ who is our Guide. He came, “To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Lk. 1:79). He said of Himself, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12). The light of the gospel is the message of forgiveness of sins, and eternal life, through faith in Christ (Jn. 3:16).

The last stanza of this wonderful hymn is often omitted from our hymnals. It provides a fitting close to a life well lived.

CH-5) Musing on my habitation,
Musing on my heav’nly home,
Fills my soul with holy longings:
Come, my Jesus, quickly come;
Vanity is all I see;
Lord, I long to be with Thee!
Lord, I long to be with Thee!

Questions:
1) Several hymns make use of the Israelites journey through the wilderness as a picture of the Christian life (Fanny Crosby’s All the Way My Saviour Leads Me is another). What are some instructive parallels in this comparison?

2) Other that God’s Word, what are some things the Lord uses to guide us?

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

Posted by: rcottrill | March 26, 2018

Psalm 8

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: Ewald Joseph Bash (b. Nov. 4, 1924; d. July 17, 1994)
Music: a traditional American melody, a cowboy lament called The Streets of Laredo

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

Note: Ewald Bash was a Lutheran pastor and song writer. He framed the words of Psalm 8 into a hymn in 1964. Bash served churches in Ohio and Minnesota, taught in a Lutheran college, and also founded KMOJ, the first Black radio station in Minnesota. After being a campus pastor at Ohio State University (1956-60), he was appointed Associate Youth Director of the American Lutheran Church.

With the revival of folk music in the 1960’s and 70’s, Bash provided Christian songs to fit that style. His version of Psalm 8 uses the music of a traditional western ballad. The Streets of Laredo was first published in 1910. An old-time cowboy, Frank Maynard (1853-1926), claimed he wrote the lyrics beginning:

As I walked out in the streets of Laredo
As I walked out in Laredo one day,
I spied a poor cowboy, all wrapped in white linen
All wrapped in white linen and cold as the clay.

A great painting can sell for millions of dollars if it’s by an acclaimed artist. The signature of Vermeer, van Gogh, or Picasso establishes its worth. But buyer beware. Unwary art lovers have been duped by clever forgers, only to learn later their treasure is worth far less than they paid.

In one bizarre incident, two forgeries of the same painting went on sale at two different art galleries on the same day! And in 2011, a famous gallery in New York City shut down, after over a century in business. The reason? It was discovered that they had put up for sale forty paintings they claimed were recently discovered works by various masters, all of which turned out to be fakes.

Experts in identifying counterfeits microscopically examine the canvas, or the brush strokes used by the artist. Or analyze the paint used, because it sometimes proves to be a variety not available when the work of art was supposedly created.

Value relates both to quality and to origin. Though it’s not the only factor, worth is largely determined by where (or who) a thing came from. The same can be said for people. God is the Creator of us all (Ps. 95:6), and it’s His evaluation that counts most–though not all are willing to accept that.

Human pride and prejudice often divide people between us that them. They have a different skin colour than I do, or they come from a different country, or they are not as rich as I am, or as educated. Whatever measure we may use, it often becomes a basis for looking down on certain others as inferior. But that is not God’s perspective.

One day, in a discussion of whether the Jews should pay taxes to Rome, the Lord Jesus asked to see a coin. Showing it to them He asked, “Whose image and inscription is this?” When they rightly replied it was Caesar’s, the Lord responded, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:19-21). Question: Whose image is on you and me?

Unique among God’s creatures He made us to bear His image (Gen. 1:26-27). Whatever else this includes, it means we are able to have a meaningful relationship, and even intimate fellowship with out Creator. Human divisions must give way to a recognition of that fundamental. Whatever makes us different from one another, all in the human family share that special purpose. “He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26).

The eighth Psalm gives us some idea of the exalted place human beings have in the sight of God. There we read:

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit [care for] him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honour. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands” (Ps. 8:3-6).

Ewald Bash’s version of the psalm begins:

1) O Lord, our Lord, how majestic Thy name is,
How great is Thy name in all the earth,
Who hast set Thy glory above the high heavens
And stilleth Thy foes through a child in its birth.

2) When I think on Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers,
The moon and the stars which Thou hast ordained,
What is man in Thy mem’ry, a man that Thou mindest,
The son of man that Thou carest for him?

Questions:
1) Can you suggest what it is that makes man so precious in God’s sight that he “crowns him with glory and honour”?

2) What harm does believing the theory of evolution do to the high value of human beings?

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

Posted by: rcottrill | March 21, 2018

God Will Take Care of You

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: Civilla Durfee Holden Martin (b. Aug. 21, 1866; d. Mar. 9, 1948)
Music: Walter Stillman Martin (b. Mar. 8, 1862; d. Dec. 16, 1935)

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

Note: American, Walter Martin, was Civilla’s Bible teacher husband. The story of the writing of this hymn can be seen on either of the Wordwise Hymns links, or on the Cyber Hymnal link. Some idea of the popularity of the song is suggested in Hymnary.org’s note that it is found in 340 hymn books.

Being a caregiver is a noble endeavour. Though the term itself has only been around for about forty years, the duties involved are as old as human history. There are trained professionals who do the work. But most families, at one time or another, will face the responsibility of caring for an aging parent or spouse, or a disabled relative in the home.

If it’s for a short time, perhaps as the individual recovers from surgery, that is one thing. But if the understanding is that it will likely continue indefinitely, possibly for a number of years, that’s quite another. In an institution, care can be shared by many, and assignments filled in shifts, allowing breaks for each worker. But in the home it may fall mainly to one individual to do it all.

It’s never easy. When the one being looked after is a parent of the caregiver, there can be a kind of roll reversal, with the child supervising mom or dad. This isn’t always well received. Others in the home, whether spouse or children, may begin to feel neglected. And there can be an economic drain which will put a burden on the family.

Responsibilities often tend to increase over time, requiring more energy and the acquisition of new skills–until the one cared for needs attention twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Even the most loving and concerned person can’t cope with that for long. The care giver can reach the point of burnout.

Experts identify several symptoms which can possibly indicate this condition.

¤ Free-floating anxiety and nervousness
¤ An irritable overreaction to minor nuisances
¤ Consistently feeling tired and run down, yet having difficulty sleeping
¤ The development of new or worsening health problems

In the face of these things, consideration may have to be given to institutional care or other options.

In the Bible, a great deal is said about care giving, especially as it applies to God’s care. Early in his life, David distinguished himself by slaying the giant Philistine, Goliath (I Sam. 17:1-54). But the lavish praise and attention he received stirred up insane jealously in King Saul, and he tried to murder the young man on several occasions.

After one of these times, we see David hiding in a cave, calling upon the Lord for refuge and help. We can hear the painful anguish in his words as he cries, “No one cares for my soul!” (Ps. 142:4). But God did care, and not only preserved him from the hateful king, but eventually placed him upon the throne of Israel.

In the New Testament, there are two different occasions when individuals fretted that maybe the Lord Jesus didn’t care about what was happening to them. One concerns the safety of His own, the other is a matter of service.

When the disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee, and a great storm arose, they awakened Jesus, who had fallen asleep, saying, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mk. 4:38). And of course He does care–beyond all else, for our eternal safety. That’s why He came to this earth (Mk. 10:45).

And when Jesus visited in the home of Mary and Martha, Mary sat listening to His words, while Martha bustled about preparing a meal. Finally the latter became irritated that her sister wasn’t helping, and she complained, ““Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?” (Lk. 10:40). Again, He did care, but there was the matter of priorities to be considered (vs. 41-42).

Both our safety and our service are under the Lord’s watchful eye. He cares. So, “cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you” (Ps. 55:22). Cast “all your care [anxiety] upon Him, for He cares for you” (I Pet. 5:7; cf. Ps. 27:10).

In 1904, Canadian hymn writer Civilla Martin produced her lovely gospel song on that theme.

CH-1) Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.

God will take care of you,
Through every day, o’er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

CH-2) Through days of toil when heart doth fail,
God will take care of you;
When dangers fierce your path assail,
God will take care of you.

Questions:
1) Why is it Christians so often lose sight of (or doubt) God’s loving care?

2) Sometimes, we can be the instrument of God’s care in the life of another. Is there someone you could help that we this week?

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

Posted by: rcottrill | March 19, 2018

How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place

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: from the Scottish Psalter of 1650
Music: McKee, by Harry Thacker Burleigh (b. Dec. 2, 1866; d. Sept. 12, 1949)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org (history of hymn tune McKee)

Note: The text of this hymn is from Scripture, but let’s focus on the music for a few moments. One of the tunes used for this hymn is McKee (which is also used with the hymn In Christ There Is No East or West). The melody was taken from an African American slave song, and the arranger was Henry (“Harry”) Burleigh.

Harry Burleigh was an African American classical composer, and a fine baritone singer. His grandfather, Hamilton Waters, had been a slave. Waters, who also had a wonderful voice, worked in Erie, Pennsylvania as a lamplighter of the gas street lights. As his grandson assisted him, walking from street to street, he would teach the boy all the Spirituals by which the slaves had expressed their faith in God.

Later, Harry attended the National Conservatory of Music, in York City. The director, in those days was Czech composer Antonín Dvořák. The two men became friends, and Dvořák asked Burleigh to teach him the old songs. He said, “In the negro melodies of America I discovered all that is needed for a great and noble school of music,” and he wove the musical style into some of his compositions.

Eventually, Harry Burleigh became a noted composer in his own right. He served on the faculty of the Conservatory, and became a founding member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), where he sat on its board of directors. The American Episcopal Church even has a feast day in his honour (Sept. 11).

Part of his enduring legacy is the Spirituals he rescued from obscurity, and the many African American singers he promoted (such as Marian Anderson, Paul Robeson) and some of whom coached over the years. Though hardly known today, he had a tremendous influence on the music of his people in the early part of the twentieth century. Nobody Knows, by Craig Busek, is a book about his life (subtitled: “the forgotten story of one of the most influential figures in American music”).

Sparrows are likely the commonest of our wild birds. They’re a familiar sight over the greater part of the world. North and South America, Europe and Asia, Africa and Australia, all have them. They’re small creatures, and most species wear a rather plain dun coat, and lack the colourful plumage of some that visit our neighbourhood bird feeders.

Sparrows have become a symbol of what is small, and weak, and relatively insignificant. In Bible times, they were sold as the food of the very poor. This makes the words of the Lord Jesus especially meaningful: “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will [i.e. without His knowledge and consent]” (Matt. 10:29).

Small, weak, and relatively unworthy of notice, but always under the gaze of a loving heavenly Father. After the words quoted, the Lord moves His argument from the lesser to the greater. If God cares about each tiny sparrow, think of this: “The very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (vs. 30-31).

The Old Testament psalmist also draws comfort from these little birds.

“How lovely is Your tabernacle [Your dwelling place], O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young–even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, My King and my God” (Ps. 84:1-4).

In the most sacred place in all of Israel, where the altar of sacrifice was, and the altar of incense, the birds found a place to nest. It’s a sign of the kindness of God that they were there, and it should be a great encouragement to each of us in our spiritual journey.

The Scottish Psalter of 1650 renders the verses of Psalm 84:1-4 beautifully as a hymn.

CH-1) How lovely is Thy dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts to me!
The tabernacles of Thy grace
How pleasant, Lord, they be!

CH-2) My thirsty soul longs ardently,
Yes, faints Thy courts to see;
My very heart and flesh cry out,
O living God, for Thee.

CH-3) Behold the sparrow findeth out
A house wherein to rest;
The swallow also, for herself,
Provided, hath a nest.

Questions:
1) What lessons can you draw from God’s care of little sparrows?

2) Is there someone you know who is weak and vulnerable, whom you could encourage?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org (history of hymn tune McKee)

Posted by: rcottrill | March 14, 2018

At Calvary

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 Reed Newell (b. May 22, 1868; d. Apr. 1, 1956)
Music: Daniel Brink Towner (b. Apr. 5, 1850; d. Oct. 3, 1919)

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

Note: William Newell was a pastor, a popular Bible teacher, and the author of three great commentaries on Romans, Hebrews, and Revelation. He also served for a time as the assistant superintendent of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Many years ago I met his son Philip, who also became an author and Bible teacher. The story of how the father wrote the present song is found in the first Wordwise Hymns link.

Irish composer Michael William Balfe (1808-1870) wrote many operas. But The Bohemian Girl, created in 1843, may be the only one remembered today. And of all the fine music in it, only one aria continues to be performed by the world’s great sopranos.

The opera presents a love story involving a young man named Thaddeus, and a poor gypsy girl named Arline. And early in the second act Arline sings to Thaddeus a hauntingly beautiful song about a dream she’s had. The gist of the song is that though, in her dream, she’s fabulously rich, and famous, and admired by all, the thing that matters most to her is the love of her beloved Thaddeus. She sings:

I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls
With vassals and serfs at my side,
And of all who assembled within those walls
That I was the hope and the pride.
I had riches all too great to count
And a high ancestral name.
But I also dreamt which pleased me most
That you loved me still the same,
That you loved me,
You loved me still the same.

Beautiful! However, let’s turn that dream-scene on its head. Because it was a dream. Here was someone with wealth and social standing and widespread popularity. And later in the aria Arline speaks of the many eager suitors who sought her hand. Everything was perfect. But that’s not me, that’s not us–spiritually, I mean. And here we must confront the nasty subject of sin.

It’s a deep-set spiritual pollution corrupting us all. The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Though, strange to say, I talked to a man long ago who claimed he’d reached a state of sinless perfection, and hadn’t sinned in seventeen years! I knew him well enough to be assured that was nonsense. Anyone who thinks that probably has a very low idea of what sin is.

Not committing murder or armed robbery is one thing. Most of us can feel pretty superior if we think sin is confined to such outward acts. But what of the inner poison of pride and selfishness, greed and covetousness (which God calls a form of idolatry, Col. 3:5), or lust, or envy, or impatience, or hatred and a vengeful spirit? Even seemingly tiny, hidden offenses, all matter to a holy God. They cut us off from fellowship with Him (Isa. 59:2), and will keep us out of heaven (Rev. 21:27).

The theologians have their definitions of sin, and we need those. But it may be worthwhile to talk about it in a way that helps us feel the revulsion God has toward it. Sin is like a vile putrefying sore, a loathsome, seeping cancer on the soul. It’s like rotting garbage in our hearts the foul stench of which can cling to all we do and say.

That’s a picture of you and me before a holy God–and it’s no dream. But, oh! Wait! A glorious truth! To paraphrase Balfe’s song, “I’ve also learned, what pleased me most, that He loved me [and you] still the same!”

Incredible as it seems, God’s own Word assures us of it. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 8:8). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16).

An old gospel song by William Newell says it.

CH-1) Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
On Calvary.

Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty
At Calvary.

CH-4) Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span
At Calvary!

Questions:
1) What do people often think they have to do to claim God’s salvation?

2) Why are these methods all doomed to fail?

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

Posted by: rcottrill | March 12, 2018

Gone from My Heart

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: (source unknown)
Music: Stephen Collins Foster (b. July 4, 1826; d. Jan. 13, 1864), arranged by Daniel Brink Towner (b. Apr. 5, 1850; d. Oct. 3, 1919)

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

Note: As you can see in the Hymnary.org link, many books give London Hymn Book as the source of this song, but no author. We know little else with any certainty.

In writing more than eleven hundred of these articles, I’ve focused mainly on the words of our traditional hymns and gospel songs. Words carry the message of the songs most directly and explicitly. For that reason, above all, our concern should be whether the text clearly and accurately represents the truths of Scripture.

But that’s not to say the tunes are unimportant. The music, and how it’s used, can either enhance the message of the words, or detract from it. Many of our hymns provide effective lines of poetic imagery that stir our souls. Poetry paints word pictures in order to help us better feel the impact of the message. Then, music can add an even stronger emotional element. When you have poetry set to appropriate music, you have a powerful tool of communication that can express both ideas and associated emotions.

That’s one reason why God’s Word contains so much poetry (Hebrew poetry in the Psalms and other books), and talks about music so much. The Lord knows we can worship Him, and testify to the truth, much more feelingly in song. The Bible urges us to “sing with understanding” (I Cor. 14:15; cf. Ps. 47:7), and that should include an understanding that the tune can carry a message all its own. Music is a language too.

Over the past century or so a strategy has been adopted by some music leaders in the church. The idea is that if we set God’s truth to the kind of music non-Christians are enjoying out in the world, it will make the gospel more attractive to them. But confidence in this premise is far from unanimous.

One group who tried it, around the turn of the twentieth century, created a song called We’ve Got Salvation, and set it to the tune of an old drinking song:

Roll out the barrel, we’ll have a barrel of fun;
Roll out the barrel, we’ve got the blues on the run.

But did those who sang the new words and heard the tune have a clear view of God’s call to separate from worldly values (II Cor. 6:14–7:1)? Such a combination could, in some cases, pull individuals back toward the world. It could imply “I guess I can have my old enjoyments and Jesus too,” nurturing a watered down Christianity, and perpetuating an entanglement in values and priorities God forbids.

We shouldn’t be afraid to be different, to offer music that is sacred (a word meaning separated, or set apart), not currently and identifiably associated with a godless world. Years ago, British hymn book editor Robert Bridges put it this way:

“If we consider and ask ourselves what sort of music we should wish to hear on entering a church, we should surely, in describing our ideal, say first of all that it must be something different from what is heard elsewhere; that it should be a sacred music, devoted to its purpose.”

The present song is another example. Though it’s also taken from long ago, I believe it illustrates the point. In the early twentieth century, the gospel song Gone from My Heart appeared in hymn books. The simple words–by an unknown author–are good.

CH-1) Gone from my heart the world and all its charms;
Now through the blood I’m saved from all alarms;
Down at the cross my heart is bending low;
The precious blood of Jesus cleanses white as snow.

I love Him, I love him,
Because He first loved me,
And purchased my salvation
On Calv’ry’s tree.

CH-3) Once I was bound, but now I am set free;
Once I was blind, but now the light I see;
Once I was dead, but now in Christ I live,
To tell the world around the peace that He doth give.

The text has a clear gospel message. But it was set to the tune of Stephen Foster’s secular ballad Old Black Joe, published in 1853. That was eight years before the start of the American Civil War, and a century before the civil rights movement began. The song references black slaves working in the cotton fields, with hearts “so happy and so free.” To African Americans who recognize the tune and know Foster’s lyrics, that tune might carry a lot of painful baggage which could muddy the message of the text.

This is, of course, a debated issue. And there are no hard and fast rules for it. But it would pay music leaders in our churches to be more sensitive to the current associations of the music they use, and choose what will be a help and not a hindrance to communicating God’s truth.

Questions:
1) Have you ever had the experience of hearing or singing a hymn set to a familiar secular tune?

2) Did the tune awaken any thoughts or ideas not related to the words?

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

Posted by: rcottrill | March 7, 2018

I Could Not Do Without Thee

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: Frances Ridley Havergal (b. Dec. 14, 1836; d. June 3, 1879)
Music: Ewing, by Alexander Ewing (b. Jan. 3, 1830; d. July 11, 1895)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: A true genius, and a soul-mate of American Fanny Crosby (though they never met) Frances Havergal is one of our great hymn writers, expressing a depth of devotion in rich poetic lines. Here is a sampling of what she has given us:

Another Year is Dawning
Golden Harps Are Sounding
I Am Trusting Thee, Lord Jesus
I Gave My Life for Thee
Like a River Glorious
Lord, Speak to Me
O Saviour, Precious Saviour
Standing at the Portal
Take My Life and Let It Be
True-Hearted, Whole-Hearted
Who Is on the Lord’s Side?

As to the present hymn, it was written May 7, 1873, and originally called “Jesus All in All.” The tune Ewing is also used with Jerusalem the Golden. Another tune that works well is Angel’s Story, to which we sing O Jesus, I Have Promised.

There are interesting–and sometimes strange–things people consider to be indispensable. The necessities of life, what they believe they can’t do without. One list places at the top such things as: health, family, friends, purpose, freedom, and inner peace. Good. There’s some thought given there, and some sense of what makes life most fulfilling.

In contrast, a survey taken reveals different priorities. Having an Internet connection, and a television ranked at the top, with possessing an iPhone making it into the top twenty. In the food line, coffee, chocolate and tea made the list. So did beer and wine, though lower down. Having a daily shower, and central heating, were ranked five and six respectively. Owning a car was ranked number ten.

We must ask ourselves: Are such things truly necessary for living? All of them? For everyone? Millions in our world get along without them, and seem able to live contented and productive lives. That is not to say, of course, that those living in desperate conditions due to war, or those who’ve lost everything because of a natural disaster, should accept things as they are. No, and they need our compassion and help.

But in North America, advertisers deluge us with slick and seductive promotions suggesting true happiness is found in owning the right car, or the best computer. To enjoy life, we must travel to exotic and luxurious locals on vacation, or own a big a house with a pool. To show real love to that special someone, we must give them expensive jewelry or the latest power tools.

Peer pressure could be at work there, the proverbial keeping up with the Joneses. But there’s something else. French philosopher and theologian, Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) said:

“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.”

It is possible that the controlling addiction bedeviling western society of acquiring things and more things, involves a vain attempt to fill that vacuum with something else.

In discussing times in his life when he seemed to have an abundance, and other times when he had little, the Apostle Paul said, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Phil. 4:11). A learning process is involved, building a lifestyle, and habits, around a value system that reckons on the surpassing importance of the spiritual and the eternal.

Paul had discovered and embraced what Pascal would put into words sixteen centuries later. He says, “For to me, to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21). “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

Another who found abundant life in her relationship with Christ was hymn writer Frances Havergal. She came to faith in Him in December of 1850, writing to her sister, “Jesus has forgiven me, I know. He is my Saviour.” Then, years later, she read a book entitled All for Jesus, and realized the importance of a full surrender of all her life to Him.

This heart devotion is spoken of clearly in the New Testament (e.g. Rom. 12:1-2; II Cor. 4:14-15). Out of the experience, in Havergal’s life, poured a rich hymnody that blesses the people of God still. One of these songs, written in 1873, testifies to her indispensable dependence on the Lord. I only give a sample of the text here. The other stanzas can be found on the Cyber Hymnal link, and are worth reading.

CH-1) I could not do without Thee
O Saviour of the lost,
Whose precious blood redeemed me
At such tremendous cost.
Thy righteousness, Thy pardon
Thy precious blood, must be
My only hope and comfort,
My glory and my plea.

CH-3) I could not do without Thee,
For, oh, the way is long,
And I am often weary,
And sigh replaces song.
How could I do without Thee?
I do not know the way;
Thou knowest, and Thou leadest,
And wilt not let me stray.

Questions:
1) Other than the Lord Jesus, what would you include on your own list of life’s “essentials”?

2) What are some things that are provided through Christ that enrich and bless your life?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

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