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Monday, December 24, 2018

Inspired by . . . I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

December hasn't gone as planned. Between one thing or the other, my Dreamer and I have been sick since the 1st. Instead of the twelve days of Christmas, it's been 21 days of sickness.

I hesitate to even mention our situation since I know this time of year is difficult for so many. Those mourning losses and sitting in cancer wards certainly didn't plan that for their holiday.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the author of today's hymn focus, didn't plan to be despairing over an injured son and a dead wife on Christmas day in 1864 but it was that despair that inspired him to write these words:

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace of earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th'unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Yet, Longfellow was not lost in his despair and neither are we. The message of Christmas is the message of hope. Not a pie in the sky hope but a hope sure and fixed in the Person of Jesus Christ. The Messiah. Savior. Redeemer. 

Prince of Peace.

This is the Spirit of Christmas that resounds loudly in the second half of Longfellow's poem.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

5 Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

May the wonder of His love fill your hearts this Christmas and may the hope that is Christ with us give you peace.

Happy Christmas
from our family to yours,

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Inspired by . . . What Child Is This?

We've all laughed over those cute videos of children singing the wrong words to popular songs and Christmas carols. 
"While shepherds watched their flocks by night, all seated on the ground, a cake of "Velvet" soap came down and clean socks shone around!"
Misunderstood lyrics actually have their own name; mondegreens. This term was coined back in 1954 by Sylvia Wright after, you guessed it, a lyric she had misunderstood as a child.

While I'm sure some of the lyrics in today's carol have been misunderstood there is no mistaking the message or the answer to the title question: What Child is This?

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

The words are clear enough, once you get past "laud" which means: praise, but what of their meaning?

The Christmas miracle - God made man. Omnipotence and weakness.
The mind of God contained in human flesh and bone. Tiny hands that hold the power to heal and raise the dead.

This is a lot for anyone to grasp, whether you're one or ninety-two.  Dare we believe it? God's promise. Here, now, among us?

A Savior.

Yes. Believe.

The hope of the ages fulfilled. Yet not completely. Has has come. He IS come. He will come again. This time there will be no lap to lay on. Only knees that bow. The wonder we have now, at His birth will be quite different when the trumpet blows, calling us home.
"He became incarnate to have a life to live in our place and to have a life to give in our place. That is what Child this is."
Our hope remains.


Saturday, December 1, 2018

In this world of instant gratification, none of us have to wait very long for anything. And when we do, we don't like it very much. But some of us have waited. We've waited for things more important than a cup of Starbucks or a driver's license.

We've waited for love. A place to call home. A loved one to come to know Christ.

Or a baby.

The children of Israel had been waiting, too. For a very, very long time.

They had been waiting for a Savior. A Redeemer. A King.
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
This ancient advent hymn, translated for us by John Mason Neale, was once part of the medieval Roman Catholic Advent liturgy. On each day of the week leading up to Christmas, one responsive verse would be chanted, each included a different Old Testament name for the coming Messiah. We sing this hymn with the already-but-not-yet sense of waiting. We wait as the exiles did, yet our wait is different.

For He has come.

To the manager . . .  the Word made flesh.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
As we wait for Christmas, as we wait for God's help in the trials and tribulations of this life, we can sing this carol with hope and with confidence. Because we know He is returning . . . 

. . . as King!


1 O come, O come, Immanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.

2 O come, O Wisdom from on high,
who ordered all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show
and teach us in its ways to go. Refrain

3 O come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to your tribes on Sinai's height
in ancient times did give the law
in cloud and majesty and awe. Refrain

4 O come, O Branch of Jesse's stem,
unto your own and rescue them!
From depths of hell your people save,
and give them victory o'er the grave. Refrain

5 O come, O Key of David, come
and open wide our heavenly home.
Make safe for us the heavenward road
and bar the way to death's abode. Refrain

6 O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
and bring us comfort from afar!
Dispel the shadows of the night
and turn our darkness into light. Refrain

7 O come, O King of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid all our sad divisions cease
and be yourself our King of Peace. Refrain

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Inspired by . . . God has no grandchildren

The cold, icy tendrils of air swoop down from the north leaching the color from my garden, blackening and curling leaves. Soon the wind will follow, sending the leaves hurtling through the air and leaving branches bare.  Like skeletons exposed.

It is a bit like reading about Israel's descent into disobedience.

The book of Judges can be tedious reading and often confusing at times. But there are valuable lessons to be gleaned from studying the text and none more important than what we learn in the first two chapters.

At the beginning of Judges, we find that Joshua has died leaving the tribes of Israel to complete their conquest of Canaan on their own. Yet, they were not alone. God was with them and He gives them specific instructions. He calls Judah first. However, instead of relying solely on God to deliver the enemy into their hands as He has promised, Judah immediately turns to their kinsman, the Simeonites for help. 

The arm of flesh will always fail where the hand of God beckons us forward in faith.[click to tweet]

The rest of chapter one lists the failures of the tribes to drive out their enemies from the land God wished them to conquer.

We often think we are getting away with our evil because God is so patient with us. 

We're not.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. (Gal 6:7)

The disobedience of Israel's founding fathers opened the door to a future of calamity. God keeps His word. Both the blessings and the curses.

At first glance, it may appear that the failure to drive out the enemy from the land was Israel's biggest mistake. It wasn't. Verse 10 in chapter 2 reveals their greatest failure.
When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel. (Judges 2:10)

Despite God's warning in Deuteronomy 10, the parents failed to communicate to their children the power and work of God. Rarely does a powerful work of God move into the next generation. Each person must have their own relationship with God.

Without this personal relationship, Israel quickly descended into chaos. Each person doing what was right in their own eyes. 

We see the tragic, ping-pong effect, Israel's sin results in enslavement and they cry out to God for help.

We see sorrow but not repentance. Sorrow for the consequences of their actions but no repentance for the actions themselves.

This may not seem like a relevant subject to discuss as we approach the season of Advent. Yet what better time of year to fulfill the edict of Deuteronomy 6:7 and 11:19?
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  (Deu 6:6-7)
The holiday season often provides an opportunity to slow down and gather with family and loved ones. Why not share how the Lord has worked or is working, in your life?

Be a light in the darkness, pointing the way to the Person of Jesus Christ. It may save a life or even a future generation.


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Inspired by . . . Confident in Our Hope

Praise the Lord, O my soul!
While I live I will praise the Lord;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. 
(Psalm 146)


We all know the saying, "Hindsight is 20/20." Looking back, it's easy to see the path we should have taken, choices we should have made, and how God worked it all out for us.

It makes sense then, that our gratitude is often in hindsight as well. We look back and are grateful for all God has done for us. Nothing wrong with that!

But what if we were to practice being grateful first . . . and through?

"While I live I will praise the Lord!"

The Psalmist decided he would worship before he knew what would befall him. He was confident in his hope. Hope that comes only from our Creator.

We can be confident because God is first and foremost, faithful (vs. 6), He is just (vs. 7). He frees us from bondage (vs. 7), and has compassion on those who are bowed down (vs. 7-9).

We can determine to thank God now, with grateful praise because we know, no matter what happens, we can trust Him to do and be what He has promised.

May our praise and gratitude come from a wellspring of faith and trust in our Lord and Savior, rather than our emotional responses.

Emotions are fleeting but faith endures.


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Inspired by . . . Where are the nine?

Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.

17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” 


Ten were healed, yet only one returned thanks. One out of ten. By any account, those are not glowing statistics. When you stop and think about it, the enormity of ingratitude is overwhelming.

Leprosy was no minor affliction. Those who had it were not allowed to worship in the temple. They had to maintain a certain distance from other people. Essentially they were cut off from all human contact and even believed that they were cut off from God.

They called Him Master. They had heard the rumors about Him, certainly, but had never expected to see Him here so far from Jerusalem. Yet, here He was entering the same town. Embolden, they cry out, acknowledging Him as Master, awaiting His command.

They asked for mercy not healing. Did they sense that their affliction was more than skin deep? or did they simply hold to the Jewish belief that leprosy was, more than any other disease, a mark of God's displeasure? a particular punishment for sin?

Go, show yourselves. Jesus not only heals them, all of them, but He sends them to the priest so that it may be declared publicly that they are healed. 

Seeing he was healed, he returned. The Samaritan Leper. His life had just been completely changed and his first desire is to acknowledge and praise the One Who changed him. 

Were there not ten? The praise of the one only magnifies the ingratitude of the nine. You can almost hear the hurt in our Lord's voice. To have His great kindness so slighted must have grieved Him deeply.
"[It] intimates how justly He resents the ingratitude of the world of mankind, for whom He had done so much, and from whom He has received so little." ~Matthew Henry
The truth is, what Jesus did for those ten lepers is nothing compared to what He has done for us. They were ostracised, we were dead. Jesus restored them to the community, He has restored us to LIFE!

How many of us are guilty of the sin of ingratitude?

How many of us who call Him Master acknowledge and praise the One Who has saved us so completely? We sing the songs and pray the prayers and then walk away like nothing has happened.

May we, like the Samaritan Leper, recognize the enormity of His mercy as it unfolds in our lives day after day. May we develop a pattern of thankful praise and always remember the lesson of the lepers.


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Inspired by . . . more and more

But I will hope continually,
And will praise You yet more and more. 15 
My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness 
And Your salvation all the day, 
For I do not know their limits. 16 
I will go in the strength of the Lord God; 
I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only. 
(Psalm 71:14-15) 


A fog shrouds everything in a moist blanket this morning. The arthropods have been busy during the night. Fine threads stretch between stalks and petals forming a highway of tiny diamonds.

Mother nature is following the calendar closely this year as she shifts from the golden sunrises of October to the damp, cool mornings of November. Leaves already litter the ground, barely having time to change their coats before the wind sends them flying.

The beginning of November, with the Thanksgiving Day holiday looming in the not-so-distant future, always brings a shift in my focus.

What am I thankful for? Am I living with an attitude of gratitude? What does it really mean to be thankful? to give thanks?

I seem to revisit these questions every November. And that's okay because scripture has enough answers, when it comes to thankfulness, to last a lifetime.

With the Psalmist, I acknowledge that there is no limit to God's righteousness, no limit to His strength, His power to save. It follows then, that there should be no limit to our praise.

I will praise Him yet, more and more.


Sharing inspiration here:
#TellHisStoryFaith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, #HeartEncouragement,
Thoughtful Thursdays#w2wwordfilledwednesday,
Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments,
#DanceWithJesus; Imparting Grace; Image-in-ing

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: Doxology

I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And I will glorify Your name forevermore. (Psalm 86:12)

Today we end the way congregations have been ending for nearly 350 years. I'm thankful to Thomas Ken for writing these words all the way back in the late 1600's and for standing up for the moral right against the English monarchy.

True worship involves an offering. Let's continue in our daily praise and worship, offering God not only our song but more importantly, our lives.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav'nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.


You can find the entire series here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: Holy, Holy, Holy

O Lord, grant that I may desire Thee, and desiring Thee, seek Thee, and seeking Thee, find Thee, and finding Thee, be satisfied with Thee forever.

Written nearly two hundred years ago it is difficult to find a hymn used across all denominations of faith with so very little variation of text. Originally written for Trinity Sunday and inspired by the Nicene Creed (325 AD) Reginald Heber's hymn praises God in all His fullness and perfection.

Mighty, yet merciful. The image of the angels and saints together, worshiping the One, alone, Who is perfect in power, love, and unity renders us nearly breathless, unable to sing.

And still, our souls cry out: 

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and mighty!
God in three persons, blessed Trinity.

Perhaps worship, more than any other spiritual discipline, nurtures the spiritual growth of a Christian. Our worship is a reflection of our relationship with God. Learning to worship, in spirit and truth, should be a believer's lifetime pursuit. 

I pray that these daily insights into our hymns of faith have inspired you toward worship.


You can find the entire series here.

Listen and worship here.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: Just As I Am

And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. (John 6:35-37)

Are you waiting to conquer a particular sin or overcome that certain failing before living for God in earnest? Do you view your imperfections as hypocritical to the Faith?

Are you waiting to do that one really big thing for God, knowing that then, finally, He will accept you? 

An invalid at the age of thirty, Charlotte Elliott, who was once a popular portrait artist and writer, despaired of doing anything for God. Once known as "carefree Charlotte," Miss Elliott had become listless and depressed.

Then, one day, a Swiss evangelist, Dr. Malan spoke into her spiritual distress, saying: "Charlotte, you must come just as you are - a sinner - to the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world!"

Charlotte immediately responded to Christ's redemptive sacrifice and experienced inner peace and joy, despite her physical affliction, for the remaining of her eighty-two years.

Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt,
fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

God didn't heal Charlotte or change her circumstances. He changed her. Constrained in place but not in heart, mind, or soul, Charlotte wrote over one hundred fifty hymns and is considered to be one of the finest of all English hymn writers.
"God sees, God guards, God guides me," she said. "His grace surrounds me and His voice continually bids me to be happy and holy in His service - just where I am!"
What are you waiting for?

Just as I am, without one plea,
but that Thy blood was shed for me,
and that Thou bidd'st me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.


You can find the entire series here.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: America the Beautiful

Righteousness exalts a nation,
But sin is a reproach to any people.
(Proverbs 14:34)

Do you pray for your country?

Today's hymn not only stirs us emotionally to praise our great nation, but it also encourages us to pray for it.

God shed His grace on thee, 
and crown thy good with brotherhood 
from sea to shining sea.

Katherine Bates wrote the original text in 1893 while teaching summer school in Colorado Springs. The glory of the Rocky Mountains and Pike's Peak still inspire awe and worship today.

And, too, over 100 years later there is still a real need for a return to a national dependence upon God and a renewed pride in our wonderful land.

God mend thine ev'ry flaw, 
confirm thy soul in self-control, 
thy liberty in law.

Miss Bates felt deeply the message of her patriotic hymn:
We must match the greatness of our country with the goodness of personal godly living. If only we could couple the daring of the Pilgrims with the moral teachings of Moses, we would have something in this country that no one could ever take from us.


You can find the entire series here.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: Make Me A Blessing

Nothing is lost that is done for the Lord,
Let it be ever so small;
The smile of the Savior approves of the deed
As though it were greatest of all.


Real question: Where do you go for good news? Seriously. It there an organization that you know of that consistently reports news that is positive and uplifting? That shows humanity at its best? If so, please share in the comments!

In a world that seems determined to throw at us a steady stream of gloomy, polarizing, and downright evil words and images it has become more important than ever that we "carry the sunshine where darkness is rife."

Ira B. Wilson's song, first introduced in 1924 at a Sunday school convention in Cleveland, Ohio reminds us how to do just that; it's really quite simple:

Tell the sweet story of Christ and His love,
Tell of His pow’r to forgive;
Others will trust Him if only you prove
True, every moment you live.

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

It's easy to feel overwhelmed when we look at all the bad stuff. It's easy to believe the enemy's lie that kindness and love really don't make a difference.

The truth that the enemy fights so hard to keep hidden is just this:

Good always wins.

Sing this hymn as a prayer to God today.

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

Start a revolution of kindness. Be the change you want to see in this world.


You can find the entire series here.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: Worthy Is the Lamb

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom, 
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” 
(Rev 5:12)

Inspired by the text of Revelation 5:12, Don Wyrtzen wrote and composed this hymn while in Mexico City assisting evangelist Luis Palau in 1970. Since that time, Wyrtzen's work and passion have been "to communicate truth from scripture and from music that will touch and transform people's lives."

Often referred to as "the poet of the piano" because of his virtuoso playing and improvisational ability. Wyrtzen has arranged or composed over 400 anthems and sacred songs and worked with many well-known artists in the Christian music field.

I read a quote by Watchmen Nee recently that says, "Prayer is a warfare, but praise is a victory." 

Few hymns proclaim Christ's victory more expressly than this:

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom and strength
Honor and glory and blessing

Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
Worthy is the Lamb


You can find the entire series here.

Listen here.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: Standing On the Promises

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. (2 Cor 1:20)

It has been noted that the phrase "fear not" appears in the bible 365 times. One for each day of the year. We all make promises. Yet even our well-intentioned promises are easily broken.

God's promises never fail.

Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
by the living Word of God I shall prevail,
standing on the promises of God.

His promises are not simply emotional crutches, rather these Truths from His word are powerful assurances that help us navigate daily life and give us hope for the future.

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
bound to him eternally by love’s strong cord,
overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,
standing on the promises of God.

The author and composer of this hymn, Russell Kelso Carter, was a prolific writer, professor, Methodist minister, athlete, sheep rancher, and even a practicing physician in his later life.

No doubt, Carter's versatility, and success rest solely on his dependence upon God's promises.  As does ours.


You can find the entire series here.

Watch and listen here.


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: The Wonder of It All

“What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him? (Hebrews 2:6)

My phone chirps announcing a new text from my son. I touch the screen and watch in wonder as a sepia image appears. A head, with distinct features, and two precious little hands can clearly be seen. Our grandson was in the perfect position to have his image captured that day.

A precious new life. Made in the image of God.

Everything about that should stun us.

Yet it is such a small part of the story. When we take in the incarnation, resurrection, ascension, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the eternal reign of Christ we see a great God Who knows, loves, and cares for us.

The wonder and knowledge of this has the power to move the lowliest sinner to repentance. George Beverly Shea saw the truth of this at every Billy Graham Crusade.

The Wonder of It All, written in 1955, was Shea's attempt to describe what it was like watching hundreds of people come forward to accept Reverand Graham's invitation.


You can find the entire series here.

Watch Reverand Shea here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: I Love to Tell the Story

You don't have to be on Facebook five minutes to realize that it's human nature to share about the goodness we've found or experienced. 

People love to share the newest cleaning products, DIY technique, or healthy food they've found for their families. And rightly so. We care about these things because we love our families and want what's best for them. And we want to share what we've found with others!

It follows then, that those of us who have experienced the life-changing love of God would want to share it. Those of us who understand the depth of our sin and the completeness of God's forgiveness have a profound compassion for those who are still entangled and weighted down by sin.

From a young age, A. Katherine Hankey, the author of this hymn text took great joy in sharing her faith. She organized Sunday school classes for the rich and poor throughout London in the mid-1800's. 

While recovering from a serious illness, Katherine wrote a lengthy poem on the life of Christ. Consisting of two main sections, the poem was later adapted into two hymns. The first section became "Tell Me the Old, Old Story" and the second, "I Love to Tell the Story."

I love to tell the story
of unseen things above,
of Jesus and His glory,
of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story,
because I know 'tis true;
it satisfies my longings
as nothing else can do.

While the song itself doesn't actually tell the story of Jesus and His love, we who sing it should be quick to fill in the blanks and answer questions as the Spirit guides.


You can find the entire series here.

Watch and listen to the Oak Ridge Boys here.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: All Creatures of Our God and King

All Your works shall praise You, O Lord,
And Your saints shall bless You. (Psalm 145:10)

Originally, and more appropriately, entitled "The Canticle of the Sun," Saint Francis of Assisi wrote this hymn near the end of his life while living in a small hut in the garden of the Covent of St. Damian where he had come to say goodbye to his dear friend Sister Clara.

Nearly 700 years later, William Draper changed the name and paraphrased some of the text for a children's Pentecost festival. Since then, it is difficult to find two hymnals with the same version.

While this hymn might not be so popular in our contemporary churches today, St. Francis remains one of the most esteemed and respected religious figures in history.

His familiar prayer is a good one with which to start our week:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is
discord, unity.
Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is
error, truth.
Where there is despair, hope. Where there is
sadness, joy.
Where there is darkness, light.
For it is in giving, that we receive. It is in
pardoning, that we are pardoned.
It is in dying, that we are born to eternal life.


You can find the entire series here.

Watch and listen here.


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

Helen Howarth Lemmel, the author and composer of this hymn was also a brilliant singer who studied voice in Germany before returning to the midwest. She toured widely in the early 1900's, giving concerts at churches.

In 1918, she was given a tract by a missionary friend, entitled "Focused." The pamphlet contained these words, "
So then, turn your eyes upon Him, look full into His face and you will find that the things of earth will acquire a strange new dimness."

Miss Lemmel recalled the experience she had upon reading these words: 
“Suddenly, as if commanded to stop and listen, I stood still, and singing in my soul and spirit was the chorus, with not one conscious moment of putting word to word to make rhyme, or note to note to make melody. The verses were written the same week, after the usual manner of composition, but none the less dictated by the Holy Spirit.”
Personally, I have no trouble believing her recount of this divine occurrence. How many of us have experienced the very happening which Miss Lemmel writes about in her chorus?

No matter how large or small, hurtful or benign our situation may be, when we shift our focus from our circumstances to our Savior the situation fades and our way becomes clear.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

This assurance is not pie in the sky or wishful thinking. The last stanza makes it known that clarity comes from His word and the hope we receive is one we must share!

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!


You can find the entire series here.

Listen to Lauren Daigle's version (my new favorite) here.

Find a more traditional version here.