Monday, April 20, 2015

Hymn For The Week: It Is Well With My Soul

It Is Well With My Soul

This video was so well made, please take a few minutes to watch it. 

It is Well with My Soul, the song and the story composer Horatio Spafford (1828-1888) was a wealthy Chicago lawyer with a thriving legal practice, a beautiful home, a wife, four daughters, and a son. He was also a devout Christian and faithful student of the Scriptures. His circle of friends include Dwight L. Moody, Ira Sankey and various other well-known Christians of the day.

At the very height of his financial and professional success, Horatio and his wife Anna suffered the tragic loss of their young son. Shortly thereafter on October 8, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed almost every real estate investment that Spafford had.

In 1873, Spafford scheduled a boat trip to Europe in order to give his wife and daughters a much needed vacation and time to recover from the tragedy. He also went to join Moody and Sankey on an evangelistic campaign in England. Spafford sent his wife and daughters ahead of him while he remained in Chicago to take care of some unexpected last minute business. Several days later he received notice that his family's ship had encountered a collision. All four of his daughters drowned; only his wife had survived.

With a heavy heart, Spafford boarded a boat that would take him to his grieving Anna in England. It was on this trip that he penned those now famous words, When sorrow like sea billows roll; It it is well, it is well with my soul....

Philip Bliss (1838-1876), composer of many songs including Hold the Fort, Let the Lower Lights be Burning and Jesus Love Even Me was so impressed with Spafford's life and the words of his hymn that he composed a beautiful piece of music to accompany the lyrics. The song was published by Bliss and Sankey, in 1876.

For more than a century, the tragic story of one man has given hope to countless thousands who have lifted their voices to sing, It is Well With My Soul.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Hymn For The Week: All the Way My Savior Leads Me

.....that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. (Col 1:9)

All The Way May Savior Leads Me

When Fanny Crosby wrote, "All the way my Savior leads me" she was expressing her own testimony of God's guidance. Even her blindness, she realized, was part of His plan.

When Fanny was about six weeks old, her parent had realized with alarm that something was wrong with her eyes. The local doctor was away, but the Crosby's found a man-no one afterward recalled his name- who claimed to be a physician. He put hot poultice on the baby's inflamed eyes, insisting it would draw out the infection. The infection did clear up, but white scars appeared, and in the months that followed the baby registered no response to objects held before her. As it turned out, Fanny was not totally blind. Even in old age she could discern day from night. But her vision was gone.

Yet this stimulated other gifts, such as her phenomenal memory. As a child, Fanny memorized whole sections of the Bible, including most of the Pentateuch, the four Gospels, all of Proverbs, and vast portions of other books. Whenever she wanted to "read" a passage, she just turned there in her mental "Bible" and read it verbatim. "This Holy Book," she said when eighty-five, "has nurtured my entire life."

Years later, Fanny viewed her blindness as a special gift from God, believing He had given her a particular "soul-vision" which equipped her for a special work. "It was the best thing that could have happened to me," she declared. "How in the world could I have lived such a helpful life had I not been blind?"

"Don't blame the doctor, "Fanny said on another occasion. "He is probably dead by this time. But if I could meet him, I would tell him that he unwittingly did me the greatest favor in the world."

Through this hymn expressed Fanny Crosby's lifelong testimony, it was prompted by a specific incident in 1874. One day she didn't have enough money to pay her rent. Just as she committed the matter to God in prayer, a stranger appeared at her door and pressed a ten-dollar bill in her hand before disappearing. It was the very amount needed. That night, she wrote the words to "All the Way My Savior Leads Me."

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Hymn For The Week: Christ the Lord Is Risen Today

Christ the Lord Is Risen Today-Easter Hymn (Organ)

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. (1 Corinthians 15: 14)

John and Charles Wesley soon found themselves out of favor with many fellow Anglican ministers who spurned their fiery evangelistic preaching. Many pulpits were closed to them.

A friend from his Oxford days, George Whitefield, 22, who was having the same trouble, began preaching in the open air. In London, he asked Charles to stand with him as he preached to thousands on the open air at Blackhearth, and Charles, too, got a vision for reaching the multitudes.

He made his first attempt in the outskirts of London.  "Franklyn, a farmer, invited me to preach in His field," he wrote. "I did so to about 500, I returned to the house rejoicing." soon he was preaching to thousands,  "My load was gone, and all my doubts and scruples. God shone upon my path; and I knew this was his will concerning me."

A man named Joseph Williams heard Charles in Bristol: "I found him standing on a table-board, in an erect posture...surrounded by, I guess, more than a thousand people, some of them fashionable persons, but most of the lower rank of mankind. He prayed with uncommon fervency...He then preached about half an hour in such a manner as I have scarce ever heard any man preach...I think I never heard any man labor so earnestly to convince his hearers they were all by nature in a sinful, lost, undone, damnable state; that notwithstanding, there was a possibility of their salvation, which he explained and illustrated, and then by a variety of the most forcible motives, arguments, and expostulation, did he invite, allure, quicken, and labor, if it were possible, to compel all, and every of his hearers, to believe in Christ for salvation."

Charles Wesley still preaches today in much the same way through his ageless hymn which are sung around the world each Sunday.