I have been blessed over the last weeks to have many people praying for me. I am grateful for those prayers and for those who helped in many other ways.
I also think back to the nights in the hospital and even the times I woke up in the middle of the night once I was home. Those were times of being reminded by God of his tender care of me. The verses he would bring to my mind or the fragment of a hymn.
“Jesus the name that charms our fears, that bids our sorrow cease. ‘Tis music in the sinners ears. ‘Tis life and health and peace.”
Our world is in trouble right now. It is more than a physical sickness. It is a spiritual darkness that envelops many. We think especially of our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, but there are many people hurting in many locations like Afghanistan and China. It seems hopeless, but we have a God who sees and hears. He still comforts those in trouble. He is at work even in the darkness. Our hope lies not in governments or leaders, but in the God who patiently waits for men to turn to Him. My prayer is that the current trouble causes such a turning.
My granddaughter, Arianna and I recorded this a couple of years ago. It was written by Emma and Stuart Townend. “I Am Here for You”.
For further study:
Deuteronomy 3:22 – “Do not fear them, for the LORD your God is the one fighting for you.”
Isaiah 31:1 – “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, And rely on horses, And trust in chariots because they are many, And in horsemen because they are very strong, But they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD!”
Isaiah 41:10, 13b – “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” “…Do not fear, I will help you.”
Jeremiah 31:3 – “…I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”
Matthew 28:20b – “lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
John 16:33b – “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”
I John 4:10 – “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is interrupted or slowed. A clot forms, breaks off and damages part of the brain. Depending on where it happens and how long the brain is deprived of its blood supply determines the symptoms that affect the rest of the body.
Right now my body is in the process of healing or I like to describe it as waking up. It is wonderful to see God’s self-healing design at work.
I was reading Ephesians 1:19-23 today and was encouraged by “the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe”. I would encourage you to read the whole passage. It also talked about Christ being the head of all things.
Later in Colossians 1:18 “He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.”
When Christ doesn’t have first place there is a disconnect. Our life will be out of order. The church will be out of order. Our world will be out of order.
My prayer is for my own life to be connected to Christ my head in every way. I pray the same for His church and each of your lives.
I’ll finish with a song that seems to relate to my present situation. I pray it will be a blessing to you.
Keith Green – Your Love Broke Through.
Hallelujah – Barlow Girl
Little Drummer Boy – King and Country
Welcome to Our World – Chris Rice
A Strange Way to Save the World – Mark Harris
Laura Story – Love is Here
Years past I have posted a musical advent calendar to celebrate Christmas. This year I am putting up a few of my non-traditional favorites all together instead of one by one. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas week remembering God’s most gracious gift to us.
“When the Time is Right” – Ginny Owens
Do Not Be Afraid – Scott Krippayne
God with Us – Bob Bennett
Rejoice – Aaron Shust
Unto Us – Aaron Shust
This was written by Frederick William Faber in 1862.
The music below is a new tune by High Street Hymns.
(Try as I might I couldn’t find the actual name of the composer.)
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy like the wideness of the sea.
There’s a kindness in His justice which is more than liberty.
There’s a welcome for the sinner and more graces for the good.
There is mercy with the Savior, there is healing in His blood.
There’s no place where earthen sorrow is felt more than in heaven.
There’s no place where earthly failings have forgiveness freely giv’n.
There is plentiful redemption in the blood that has been shed.
There is joy for all the members and the sorrows of a Head.
For the love of God is broader than the measure of our mind.
And the heart of the eternal is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more faithful we should take Him at His word.
And our lives would be thanksgiving for the goodness of the Lord…
For the goodness of the Lord.
In my quest for discovering old hymns, I’ve been collecting old hymn books. My sister, Nancy, who was supporting my endeavor, recently brought me an old Lutheran Hymnal that she had picked up at a garage sale. She had put a bookmark with a note on one of the pages.
It was a song our Dad used to sing to us in German when we were children. I imagine his mother sang it to him as well. Sometimes he would play the tune on his violin. Since I had never heard the English version I didn’t know how sweet the words were that he was singing to us. Below you will find the song with German and English words.
Sometimes simple is best. This is one of those times. I hope you enjoy it.
(In the first line there should be an Umlaut over the word Lasst and erlosen. I simply can’t figure out how to type it. Also, please forgive my very rusty German pronunciation.)
Gott ist Die Liebe – by August Rische (1819-1906)
Gott ist die Liebe, lasst mich erlosen, Gott ist die Liebe, Er liebt auch mich.
Drum sag ich noch einmal: Gott ist die Liebe! Gott ist die Liebe, Er liebt auch mich.
God loves me dearly, Grants me salvation, God loves me dearly, loves even me.
*Therefore I’ll say again: God loves me dearly, God loves me dearly, Loves even me.
I was in slav’ry, Sin, death, and darkness; God’s love was working to make me free. *
He sent forth Jesus, My dear Redeemer, He sent forth Jesus and set me free. *
Jesus, my Savior, Himself did offer; Jesus, my Savior, Paid all I owed. *
Now I will praise You, O Love Eternal; Now I will praise You all my life long.*
P.S. This is dedicated to my six grandchildren. Ashlee, Arianna, Aidan, Emerson, Will and finally Jase who was born 7-6-2021.
Henry Francis Lyte was born in Ednam, Scotland in 1793. He went on to be a poet, musician, and preacher. “Abide with Me” is probably his most famous hymn. It was published after his death. The following song is also his. The words have been set to a new tune by Bill Moore.
Henry Lyte (1793-1847) / Music Bill Moore (modern)
Jesus, I my cross have taken, All to leave and follow Thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken, Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition, All I’ve sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition! God and heaven are still my own.
Let the world despise and leave me, They have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me; Thou art not, like them, untrue.
O while Thou dost smile upon me, God of wisdom, love and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me, Show Thy face and all is bright.
Man may trouble and distress me. Twill but drive me to Thy breast.
Life with trials hard may press me; Heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, tis not in grief to harm me while Thy love is left to me;
Oh, twere not in joy to charm me, Were that joy unmixed with Thee.
Go, then, earthly fame and treasure, Come disaster, scorn and pain.
In Thy service, pain is pleasure, With Thy favor, loss is gain.
I have called Thee Abba Father, I have stayed my heart on Thee.
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather; All must work for good to me.
Soul, then know thy full salvation. Rise o’er sin and fear and care.
Joy to find in every station, Something still to do or bear.
Think what Spirit dwells within thee, Think what Fathers smiles are thine.
Think that Jesus died to win thee, Child of heaven, canst thou repine.
Haste thee on from grace to glory, Armed by faith, and winged by prayer.
Heavens eternal days before thee, God’s own hand shall guide us there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission, Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,
Hope shall change to glad fruition, Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.
For further study:
“For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake , not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake. Philippians 1:29
“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalm 16 (NASB)
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy… Jude 1:24 (NASB)
John Cennick (1717-1755) / George Coles
Jesus my all to heaven is gone, He whom I fixed my hopes upon;
His track I see, and I’ll pursue the narrow way till Him I view.
The way the holy prophets went, the road that leads from banishment,
The King’s highway of holiness I’ll go for all Thy paths are peace.
This is the way I long have sought, and mourned because I found it not;
My grief a burden long has been, because I was not saved from sin.
The more I strove against its power, I felt its weight and guilt the more;
Till late I heard my Savior say, “Come hither, soul, I am the way.”
Lo! Glad I come; and Thou blest Lamb, Shalt take me to Thee, as I am;
Nothing but sin have I to give; Nothing but love shall I receive.
Then will I tell to sinners ’round, What a dear Savior I have found;
I’ll point to Thy redeeming blood, And say, “Behold the way to God.”
Sometimes I just don’t feel like singing. But first, let me explain…
I grew up in a family that sang often. We sang in church. We sang in the car. We sang outside. We sang around the piano. We sang at school. We all had just ordinary voices, but we sang anyway.
Then I grew up.
Life was hard.
It became harder to sing.
When my Dad got sick with a brain tumor we watched him put his violin aside, and soon his voice was gone too.
It didn’t seem right to sing without him.
After he died it took me a year before I could sing without crying.
Many years later, as my Mother lay dying, the only thing that would make her stop whimpering was if we sang to her. So I found a hymn book and sang softly until my own tears prevented me from continuing. When she would start whimpering again I would sing until she calmed down… until tears choked my voice.
Again and again the cycle repeated itself. Those were hard days, but my sisters and I were glad we could be with her.
There have been other hard days, when singing seemed impossible. Yet, singing should not be dependent on how we feel, but because we owe our God praise.
Below is a song I find myself singing when I don’t feel like singing.
Notice the words in the first verse...”He justly claims a song from me…”
We sing, not because our life is free from trouble. We sing, because we have a Great Redeemer who has rescued our souls from hell.
There will be trouble here. But this isn’t all there is. We have eternity to look forward to. This trouble will seem little when we are face to face with our Savior. In the meantime we remember His care of us in the here and now. We remember that He asks us to sing, to remember, to cling to this God who day by day covers us with His lovingkindness.
David wrote the following words when he had to flee to the wilderness of Judah, when his son, Absalom, took over the throne. (See II Samuel 15:23-30; 17:16)
“Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise Thee.
So I will bless Thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Thy name…
For Thou hast been my help, And in the shadow of Thy wings I sing for joy.” Psalm 63:3,4 & 9
David wept when he was in trouble, but he also didn’t stop singing. Neither should we.
Samuel Medley 1738-1799
Awake, my soul in joyful lays, And sing thy great Redeemer’s praise; He justly claims a song from me, His lovingkindness, oh, how free! Lovingkindness, lovingkindness, His lovingkindness, oh, how free!
He saw me ruined by the fall, Yet loved me not-with-standing all; He saved me from my lost estate, His lovingkindness, oh, how great! Lovingkindness, lovingkindness, His lovingkindness, oh, how great!
Tho’ numerous hosts of mighty foes, Tho’ earth and hell my way oppose, He safely leads my soul along, His lovingkindness, oh, how strong! Lovingkindness, lovingkindness, His lovingkindness, oh, how strong!
When trouble, like a gloomy cloud, Has gathered thick and thundered loud, He near my soul has always stood, His lovingkindness, oh, how good! Lovingkindness, lovingkindness, His lovingkindness, oh, how good!
Soon shall we mount and soar away to the bright realms of endless day, And sing, with rapture and surprise, His lovingkindness, in the skies. Lovingkindness, lovingkindness, His lovingkindness, in the skies.