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Friday, October 19, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: Jesus Loves Me


I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it. (Luke 18:17)

*****

Written in 1860 as part of Anna and Susan Warner's novel Say and Seal, the poem, Jesus Loves Me remains a favorite hymn of children around the world.

The composer, William Bradbury, recognized as a pioneer in children's music, composed the music for Warner's text and personally added the chorus to their existing four stanzas.

This simple, children's hymn teaches us some powerful things about our God:

We are weak; Jesus is strong.

Jesus has a special place in His heart for children; they belong to Him.

Jesus' death unlocked the gates of heaven allowing us to enter in.

When we come willingly to Him, as a child, He washes away our sin.

The Bible teaches us the truth about Jesus and His love for us.

You may not know all the words to this beloved hymn but chances are you know the most important ones:

Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! 
Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.

Blessings,


You can find the entire series here.

It seems fitting to share this version, listen here.








Thursday, October 18, 2018

Inspired by . . . Blessed Redeemer



A Hill with Three Crosses--
One cross where a thief died IN SIN
One cross where a thief died TO SIN
A center cross where a Redeemer died FOR SIN
                                           ~Unknown

*****

Many hymns begin with a poem or lyrics which are then set to music. This hymn, however, began in the heart of a composer, Harry Dixon Loes. A music teacher at Moody Bible Institue, Loes was inspired after hearing a sermon entitled, Blessed Redeemer.

He sent the melody to his friend, Avis B. Christiansen, who captured the pain of Calvary in these words of praise:

Blessed Redeemer! Precious Redeemer!
Seems I now see Him on Calvary’s tree;
Wounded and bleeding, for sinners pleading,
Blind and unheeding—dying for me! 

It's hard to think of our precious Lord wounded and bleeding. As a man, Jesus didn't want to drink this cup of physical, unbearable pain and spiritual wrath. But as God, He embraced this one act of sacrificial love that would set every man, woman, and child free for all eternity.

As His lifeblood slipped away, He prayed for you. Even knowing the blackness of our hearts, He prayed. He prayed knowing that His blood would cleanse and wash away the sickness of sin that so entangles us. He prayed knowing that by His death, we would be free.

Oh, how I love Him, Savior and Friend,
How can my praises ever find end!
Through years unnumbered on heaven’s shore,
My tongue shall praise Him forevermore.

Blessings,

You can find the entire series here.

Listen to Casting Crowns here.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Inspired by . . . Great is Thy Faithfulness



My income has never been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me on until now. But I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care which have filled me with astonishing gratefulness. ~ Thomas Obediah Chisholm

That "astonishing gratefulness" is what inspired Chisholm to write today's text and over twelve hundred other sacred poems. Rather than born out of tragedy, like many other prominent hymns, Great is Thy Faithfulness is the result of the author's "morning by morning" realization of God's personal faithfulness in his daily life.

It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lam 3:22-23)

We receive a new start every morning! Let that sink in for a minute, friends.

Whatever we messed up yesterday because of our pride, laziness, apathy, selfishness, or just plain, "I'm too tired to deal with it," attitude - God says, "I'm giving you another chance, today, to do it My way."

His way is peace, joy, and freedom.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow:
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed Thy hand hath provided:
great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Blessings,



You can find the entire series here.

Listen here.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Inspired by . . . My Jesus, I Love Thee




And shall I use these ransomed powers of mine
For things that only minister to me?
Lord, take my tongue, my hands, my heart,
my all,
And let me live and love for Thee!
                                                               ~ Unknown

*****

God was working in Montreal, Canada in the early 1860's. A young teen, William Ralph Featherston came to know the Lord and wrote the poem, My Jesus, I Love Thee from the depth of his gratitude. Featherston sent a copy of the poem to his aunt in Los Angeles. Two years later, it was published anonymously in an English hymnal entitled, The London Book.

It wasn't until 1870, just three years before Featherston's death, that Adoniram J. Gordon came across the text and wrote the tune that we know today. Gordon included the newly comprised hymn in a new Baptist hymnal he was compiling and the rest, as they say, is history.

Featherstone never knew how God would take his confession of faith across three countries, through the hands of so many people, to become this much-loved hymn of assurance that would bless millions of people.

This story is a testimony to the, often mysterious, ways that God uses the gifts and talents of His people.

Nothing we offer to God is ever wasted. Whatever gift or talent He has given you, no matter how small or insignificant it may appear, use it! Be faithful. The blessing will come, though we may never see it.

My Jesus, I love thee, I know Thou art mine;
for Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
my gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
if ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

Blessings,





You can find the entire series here.

Listen to the beautiful voices of Selah here.





Monday, October 15, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: Crown Him with Many Crowns



Jesus Christ, the condescension of divinity and the exaltation of humanity. ~ Phillips Brooks

*****

The tune, Diademata, composed by George J. Elvey in 1816 specifically for this hymn builds with a flourish, the second half of each verse making you want to stand and sing:

Awake, my soul, and sing
of him who died for thee,
and hail him as thy matchless king
through all eternity.


Originally written in 1851 by Matthew Bridges, the text we sing today is usually combined with additional stanzas written years later by Godfrey Thring. Both men were distinguished Anglican clergy who desired to exalt our victorious Lord in song.

The One Who bore the crown of thorns now sits exalted at the highest place of honor at the right hand of God. Each crown in the hymn points to some aspect of Jesus' person or ministry.

The Lamb upon the throne. Lord of life. Lord of love. Redeemer! 

Whatever version we sing may we all agree:

Thy praise shall never, never fail
throughout eternity.

Blessings,



You can find the entire series here.

Listen to Chris Tomlin's version here.




Sunday, October 14, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: Precious Lord, Take My Hand



For I am the Lord, your God, Who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)

*****

The song that Elvis made famous flowed out of the broken heart of Thomas Dorsey after he received a telegram informing him that his wife and newly born son had died.

The son of a preacher, Dorsey grew up in Georgia where he was a successful composer of jazz and blues songs. Having drifted from God, and after several brushes with death, Dorsey returned to Him and began to write gospel songs and sing in church services. 

God continued to lead Dorsey, inspiring him to write more than two hundred and fifty gospel songs during his lifetime.
"My business is to try to bring people to Christ instead of leaving them where they are. I write for all of God's people. All people are my people. What I share with people is love. I try to lift their spirits and let them know that God still loves them. He's still saving, and He can still give that power." ~ Thomas A. Dorsey
Dorsey's words speak to the very essence of our worn and weary souls. No matter what end you may be facing, end of the day, end of a season, end of life, may you take comfort in the truth that He is always with you, leading you home to Him.


When the darkness appears and the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
At the river I stand
Guide my feet, hold my hand
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home



Blessings,





You can find the entire series here.

Listen here.



Saturday, October 13, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: Rescue the Perishing




It bears reminding, that it is the divine image in every person (Gen 1:26-27) that gives life intrinsic dignity and value - regardless of race, color, sex, age, social standing, or political viewpoint.

EVERY person is worthy of salvation.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 
Isaiah 61:1

Every Christian should take this appointment seriously and do their part, as the Spirit leads, to proclaim the Gospel.

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
weep o'er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.

Fanny J. Crosby was no stranger to proclaiming the Gospel. She wrote the words to this challenging hymn in 1869 after one of her weekly visits to the New York City Bowery Mission. The Spirit prompted her to speak about a man who had left his mother's home and teaching. At the end of the service, a young man of 18 came forward. . . and was rescued.

It is not our part to judge who is worthy - all are worthy. It is our part to proclaim the Truth.

Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting,
waiting the penitent child to receive;
plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently.
He will forgive if they only believe.

We never know who may hear . . .

Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
chords that are broken will vibrate once more.

Rescue the perishing,
care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful,
Jesus will save.

. . . and be saved.

Blessings,


You can find the entire series here.

Listen here.

Friday, October 12, 2018




I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; 
I will counsel you and watch over you. 
Psalm 32:8

As Christians, we know and believe that God has a specific plan and purpose for our lives. By faith, we seek to walk that path, often without sight. We also have the choice to rebel, forsaking God and going our own way. God doesn't lead by force. We must have a desire and willingness to be guided along the path He has set forth for us. The path of freedom, redemption, and salvation.

Romans 8:14 reminds us that those of us who allow the Spirit to lead in our lives are children of God. In fact, scripture teaches that we must come to Him as little children, humble and obedient.

It is fitting then that most probable author of this popular hymn, Dorothy A. Thrupp, was a writer and publisher of children's hymns and poems. During her lifetime she wrote thousands of hymns, most of which she penned anonymously.

Her words remind us of the tender care our Lord Jesus has for us as He guides us through life's pastures. How He guides and protects us, cleanses us and frees us from our earthly fetters.

I think Miss Dorothy would join me in praying, for all of us, that we come to Him early, and stay with Him long.

Early let us seek Thy favor,
Early let us do Thy will;
Blessed Lord and only Savior,
With Thy love our bosoms fill:
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus,
Thou hast loved us, love us still;
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus,
Thou hast loved us, love us still.


Blessings,





You can find the entire series here.

Listen to 4Him and enjoy beautiful imagery here.

#Write31Days

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Inspired by . . . Power In the Blood


The first time I ever heard this hymn was also the first time I ever sang it. Years ago, a guest preacher led us jubilantly through this song at the end of his sermon. One thing was clear:

He believed in the power of the blood.

We may prefer to express our faith with songs that sing of newborn babies, peaceful rivers, and tiny sparrows. But the truth is, none of those things or experiences are possible apart from the blood of Christ.

The blood of Christ is not a cultish fascination for the believer. It is a cleansing tide that began with a single act of love. Yet that single act made the way for every man, woman, and child to walk with God.

But if we walk in the light, as e His in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. 
1 John 1:7

The hymn writer, Lewis Jones, asks six important questions of the listener:

Would you be free from the burden of sin?

Would you o'er evil a victory win?

Would you be free from your passion and pride?

Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?

Would you do service for Jesus your King?

Would you live daily His praises to sing?

We may answer an emphatic yes! to all of these questions. But no amount of work, striving or good intentions will help us achieve them. There is only one way:

There is power, power, wonder-working power
In the blood of the Lamb.
There is power, power, wonder-working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Are you feeling far from God today? Wishing you had the strength to do His will? Maybe just wishing you could find Him?

Rest in His completed work. Allow His sacrifice, the healing power of His blood shed for you, wash over you and cleanse your soul. His blood will set you free from any burden, give you strength for any task. Rest in Him.

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off 
are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 
Ephesians 2:13

Blessings,


You can find the entire series here.

Listen here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: His Eye Is On The Sparrow


Why should I feel discouraged?
Why should the shadows come?
Why should my heart be lonely
and long for heaven and home,
when Jesus is my portion?
My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me;

Similar words were spoken by a bedridden friend to Civilla D. Martin in 1906 prompting her to write the words to this beloved hymn.

In God's eyes, no one is insignificant. He cares about you and the details of your life.

This truth should comfort us and bring us strength through even the darkest times of our lives.

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. 
Matthew 10:29-31

But it is not simply that we are valued by God. It is not even just that He watches over us. Through the sacrifice of His Son, Christ's death on the cross frees us from the power of sin and death. There is no greater power. And that power enables us to live victoriously!

I sing because I’m happy, (I’m happy)
I sing because I’m free, (I’m free)
for His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.

May all of you who are facing the eye of the storm today find comfort and strength in these truths.

Blessings,

You can find the entire series here.

I couldn't decide which performance moved me more so you can find the beautiful Lynda Randle here, and the Mississippi Children's Choir here.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: He Lives!


He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Matthew 28:6

*****

"Why should I worship a dead Jew?"

Such was the question asked of Alfred H. Ackley by a sincere young Jew who was attending Ackley's evangelistic meetings in the early '30's.

"He lives! I tell you. He is not dead but lives here and now!" was Ackley's emphatic response. The experience led him to write the words and composition of what is still today a favorite hymn among evangelical congregations.

The gospel-style tune assures that this hymn will stay with you long after the singing is done. And so it should!

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs
To Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him,
The Help of all who find,
None other is so loving,
So good and kind.

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.


Of all the songs to have stuck in your mind, this is one of the best! You're welcome.

Blessings,



You can find the entire series here.

Join the Gospel Music Hymn Sing at First Baptist Atlanta for their fine rendition here.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: Does Jesus Care?





God whispers in our pleasures but shouts in our pain. 
~ C.S. Lewis

*****

Does Jesus care? is a question asked by the great majority of the population at some time in their lives. Frank E. Graeff, known to many as the "sunshine minister,"  explores this question in today's hymn, which he wrote during a time of severe physical agony.

When our pain is too great for mirth or song, when our fear is strong and the night closes in, when we fail and give in to temptations, when our heart breaks over the loss of a loved one, does Jesus care?


Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.


Graeff wrote more than two hundred hymns but none more comforting than this one. May his words and the scriptural truths they are based on comfort you today.

Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you. 
1 Peter 5:7

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. 
Matthew 28:20


Blessings,



You can find the entire series here.

Join the Isaacs on the Alaska Homecoming tour here.

#Write31Days

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing





And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel.
And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came under Bethcar.
Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.
1 Samual 7:10-12

*****
In 1752, Robert Robinson, the author of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, went to hear the evangelist, George Whitefield. He and his friends had intended to heckle the believer's and mock the preaching. Instead, Robinson's soul was awakened. Yet, he continued to walk in darkness for the next three years until he found, "peace by believing."

Three years later, Robinson wrote what has come to be one of the church's most-loved hymns. 

Those of us who have wandered, seeking redemption of our own power, can identify with his words.

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee:
prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here's my heart, O take and seal it;
seal it for thy courts above.

The imagery of Jesus seeking us out and bringing us back to the fold embraces us, and as we sing of a fountain, streaming with His mercy our spirit is cleansed by His redeeming love.

Blessings,




You can find the entire series here.

You can sing along to this beautiful instrumental here.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: Because He Lives



Because I live, you also will live. 
John 14:19

This is a time of great turmoil in our country. In our world. Setting politics aside, even a brief glance to the outside world reveals the suffering. Homes and people have been destroyed by natural disasters, anger, fear, bitterness, and a growing opioid epidemic. Chances are, many of you don't have to look to the outside world to witness these things. Someone we know is suffering. Often it's the person looking back at us in the mirror. 

Forty-seven years ago, Bill and Gloria Gaither were facing a world in similar turmoil. The Vietnam war and the American drug culture were raging; creating a world that seemed as if it were spinning out of control. Pregnant with their third child, Gloria wondered if this really was a good time to be bringing another child into the world.

Then Benjy came and God reminded the Gaithers of these beautiful truths:

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!

Christ's resurrection is our guarantee not only of an eternal life with Him but also the reality that He lives in our hearts today, now, and is an integral part of our daily living.

We all can face these uncertain days because He lives.

Blessings,


You can find the entire series here.

Join the Gaither's, live, here.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: Blessed Assurance





One of the most prolific hymn writers of all-time, having written well over eight thousand texts, Fanny Crosby wrote Blessed Assurance for her beloved friend, Phoebe Palmer Knapp. Knapp, herself a well-known singer and writer, had composed the tune and asked Fanny to write the words.

In her memoir, Fanny wrote this about the beloved hymn: "[Phoebe] had composed the tune; and it seemed to me one of the sweetest I had heard for a long time. She asked me what it said. I replied, "Blessed assurance." I felt while bringing the words and tones together that the air and the hymn were intended for each other."

Indeed, some might argue that they were divinely intended for each other as Fanny's words have no doubt comforted millions of Christians in the face of fear and doubt. 

Her words remind us to keep our eyes focused firmly on the Source of our salvation.  Christ is ours and we are His! The divine glory that is ours and will be ours in Christ moves steadily closer as we praise and worship Him in our daily lives. 

The second stanza provides a glimpse of the perfection and healing that will be ours when we embrace Him in eternity. Surely Fanny, who was blinded when she was six, must have longed for the day when she would receive back her physical sight.

Neither the loss nor the longing, however, stopped her from contributing greatly to the Kingdom while she was here on earth. Beyond her writing, she was a teacher and distinguished as the first woman whose voice was ever heard publicly in the Senate Chamber in Washington.

Despite her fame, the heart of Fanny Crosby remains evident in the Sunday-school hymns she wrote, many of which, still today, teach children the truths of scripture.

We all have a story. And the story of Fanny Crosby is one from which we can all learn and benefit. 

This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior, all the day long;
this is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.

Blessings,


You can find the entire series here.

You can't beat a Gaither gathering, find one here.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: It is Well with My Soul




When peace like a river . . .

Do you have peace? Do you long for peace? What sort of peace do you have, what sort do you long for?

Lisa McKay suggests that peace isn't always found in the silence:
“I used to think of peace primarily as a stillness – a pause, a silence, a clarity – but that sort of peace is not the peace of rivers. There is a majestic, hushed sort of calm to rivers, but they are not silent and they are certainly not still – even the most placid of rivers is going somewhere…I’ve stopped expecting peace to look like the pristine silence that follows a midnight snowfall. I’m coming to appreciate a different sort of peace instead – a peace that pushes forward, rich with mud, swelling, and splashing and alive with the music of water meeting rock.” 
Perhaps McKay finds peace in the splashing and swelling because her true peace is found within rather than without. This was certainly true for Horatio Spafford, the author of today's hymn, It is Well with My Soul.

Spafford lost everything in the Chicago fire of 1871. Just three years later, he lost all four of his daughters when the French ocean liner they were traveling on, the S.S. Ville du Harve, sank in just 12 minutes. 

I cannot imagine his pain.

Yet, as he traveled across the Atlantic to join his wife, near the spot where the tragedy occurred, God comforted Spafford, enabling him to write these words:

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
"It is well, it is well with my soul."

Where does such a peace come from? Spafford knew without a doubt that Christ had bled and died for his sins. When we admit our sin and repent, embracing the forgiveness that Christ offers, we receive a peace that surpasses all understanding.

My sin oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
my sin, not in part, but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more;
praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

The trials still come. We feel pain and experience tragedy but they pale in comparison to the weight of glory we will know when our faith becomes sight.

O Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
the trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend;
even so, it is well with my soul.

Blessings,



You can find the entire series here.

You hear the beautiful voices of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing this hymn here.




Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: In the Garden



I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.

Is there a hymn or song that is dear to your heart because it was dear to another? A loved one, still living or passed on, who greatly influenced your life?

So it is for me with today's hymn focus; In the Garden. It was my Nana's favorite hymn and I think of her and everything she did to enrich my life and the lives of others when I hear it.

Over time, as I've grown in my relationship with Christ, this beautiful and almost seductive refrain has come to be precious to me for other reasons.

Author C. Austin Miles wrote the poem in 1913 after having had a vision while reading the account of Jesus and Mary Magdalene in the garden in John 20. He wrote the music for it later that same evening. An author of over 500 texts, In the Garden is, by far, his most popular and most published.

Unlike Mary, who had but a brief moment with our Lord in the garden, we have access to His presence at every moment of our lives. Whether we choose to meet Him in a literal garden, on the subway, in the car after dropping off the kids, in the quietness of our bedrooms, the place of our meeting Him matters not.

He is always there to talk with us and remind us that we are, indeed, His own. The joy we share, as we tarry there with HIm, none other has ever known.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

Blessings,


You can find the entire series here.

You can find a beautiful rendition of In the Garden, by Alan Jackson here.

#Write31Days