Thursday, April 30, 2015

Hymn For The Week: O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing

....the whole multitude....began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; (Luke 19:37)

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing Hymn (Piano)

The Wesley brothers sent word of their conversation to their sainted mother, Susanna, who didn't know what to make of it. "I think you have fallen into an odd way of thinking," She replied. "You say that till within a few months you had no spiritual life and no justifying faith....I heartily rejoice that you can think that you were totally without saving faith before, but it is one thing to have faith, and another thing to be sensible we have it."

Well, Charles was now very sensible of having it. His life changed, and he gained victory over both his temper and his unfortunate drinking habit. "I was amazed to find my old enemy, intemperance, so suddenly subdued, that I almost forgot I was ever in bondage to him"

He also began to spread to spread the news of what had happened to him. "In the coach to London," He wrote, "I preached faith that in Christ. A lady was extremely offended.... (and) threatened to beat me. I declared I deserved nothing but hell; so did she; and must confess it, before she should have a title to heaven. This was most intolerable to her."

New vitality came into Charles' public preaching. He discontinued the practice of reading his sermons, and began preaching extemporaneously. He found a fruitful arena for ministry at the infamous Newgate Prison, and allowed himself to be locked up with condemned men on nights before their executions, that he might comfort and witness to them during their final hours.

As the first anniversary of his conversion approached, Charles wrote an eighteen stanza hymn describing his praise to the Lord. It was titled, "For the Anniversary Day of One's Conversion" and the first stanza began: "Gloy to God, and praise, and love...." Verse seven began, "O for a thousand tongues to sing," inspired by a statement Charles had once heard: "Had I a thousand tongues, I would praise Him with them all."

Beginning with a 1767 hymnbook, the seventh stanza was made the first, and when John Wesley compiled his Collection of Hymns in 1780, he chose this for the first hymn in the book.

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. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Resurrection Day!!!!!!!

Were You There

Hymn For The Week: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

"And He bearing His cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew, Golgotha." John 19:17

This hymn by Isaac Watts, labeled by the well-known theologian Matthew Arnold as the greatest hymn in the English language, was written in 1707 for use at a communion service conducted by Watts. It first appeared in print that same year in Watt's outstanding collection, Hymn and Spiritual Songs. It's original title was "Crucifixion to the World by the Cross of Christ."

Isaac Watts was born on July 17, 1674, in Southampton, England. The eldest of nine children, he was the son of an educated deacon in a dissenting Congregational church. At the time of Isaac's birth, his father was in prison for his non-conformist beliefs. Young Watts showed an unusual-aptitude for study and learned Latin at the age of five, Greek at age nine, French at eleven and Hebrew at thirteen. He began to write verses of good quality when he was very young.

Watts once wrote, "The singing of God's praise is the part of worship most closely related to heaven; but it's performance among us is the worst on earth." One Sunday after returning from a typically poor service, Watts continued to rail against the congregational singing. His father exclaimed, "Why don't you give us something better, young man!" Before the evening service began, young Watts had written his first hymn, which was received with great enthusiasm by the people.

The youthful poet wrote a new hymn every Sunday. He went on to write new metrical versions of the Psalms with a desire to "Christianize the Psalms with the New Testament message and style." Several of his hymns that were based on these new Psalm settings are such favorites as "Jesus Shall Reign" (No. 48) and "O God, Our Help in Ages Past" (No. 66). Watts is also the author of a children's hymn, "I sing the Mighty Power of God" (No. 38). Because of this bold departure from the traditional Psalms, Isaac Watts was often considered to be a radical church-man in his day.

Watts not only rewrote the Psalms in this way, but he also wrote a number of hymns based solely on personal feelings. These hymns were known as hymns of human composure. Such hymns were very controversial during his lifetime. "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" is an example of this type of hymn written by Watts. In all Isaac Watts composed more than 600 hymns.