Favorite Hymns of Praise(33 posts)
Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‚ÄúBehold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord.‚Äù ‚ÄîEzekiel 37:5 This begins the third, and probably final, Hymns of My Youth series. I expect this series to be quite a bit shorter, because most of the good hymns and gospel songs in this hymnal, Favorite Hymns of Praise, already will have been covered in the previous two. 3 Breathe on Me, Breath of God Breathe on me, breath of God, Fill me with life anew, That I may love what Thou dost love, And do what Thou wouldst do. Breathe on me, breath of God, Until my heart is pure, Until with Thee I will one will, To do and to endure. Breathe on me, breath of God, till I am wholly Thine, Until this earthly part of me Glows with Thy fire divine. Breathe on me, breath of God, So shall I never die, But live with Thee the perfect life Of Thine eternity. ‚ÄîFavorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. ‚Äî1 Corinthians 13:12 As you may remember, a man I esteemed quite highly passed away on Good Friday. His funeral was last Saturday. I wish I had been closer, and been able to attend. The service was live streamed, but I didn‚Äôt find that out until it was nearly over. As it ended, the text on the screen indicated the date on which he had ‚Äúentered glory.‚Äù As I read that, I thought of something that really should have occurred to me much sooner: this man who had meant so much to me is now in the immediate presence of the Lord. I had known that, but I hadn‚Äôt thought of what that means: that he has now met Jesus face to face. Face to face with Jesus. What a thought! What must that be like, to look at him, to speak with him? It boggles the mind. But one day, we who are in Christ will know. I, for one, anticipate that day with exquisite longing. Face to Face Face to face with Christ, my Savior, Face to face‚Äîwhat will it be? When with rapture I behold Him, Jesus Christ Who died for me. Refrain Face to face I shall behold Him, Far beyond the starry sky; Face to face in all His glory, I shall see Him by and by! Only faintly now I see Him, With the darkling veil between, But a bless?®d day is coming, When His glory shall be seen. Refrain What rejoicing in His presence, When are banished grief and pain; When the crooked ways are straightened, And the dark things shall be plain. Refrain Face to face! O blissful moment! Face to face‚Äîto see and know; Face to face with my Redeemer, Jesus Christ Who loves me so. Refrain ‚ÄîFavorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. ‚ÄîPsalm 145:1‚Äì7 Blessed Be the Name All praise to Him who reigns above In majesty supreme, Who gave His Son for man to die, That He might man redeem! Refrain: Bless?®d be the name, Bless?®d be the name, Bless?®d be the name of the Lord; Bless?®d be the name, Bless?®d be the name, Bless?®d be the name of the Lord. His name above all names shall stand, Exalted more and more, At God the Father‚Äôs own right hand, Where angel hosts adore. Refrain Redeemer, Savior, Friend of man Once ruined by the fall, Thou hast devised salvation‚Äôs plan, For Thou hast died for all. Refrain His name shall be the Counselor, The mighty Prince of Peace, Of all earth‚Äôs kingdoms conqueror, Whose reign shall never cease. Refrain ‚ÄîFavorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. ‚ÄîPhilippians 4:11‚Äì13 43 My Jesus, as Thou Wilt! My Jesus, as Thou wilt! Oh, may Thy will be mine; Into Thy hand of love I would my all resign. Thro‚Äô sorrow, or thro‚Äô joy, conduct me as Thine own; And help me still to say, my Lord, Thy will be done. My Jesus, as Thou wilt! Tho‚Äô seen thro‚Äô many a tear, Let not my star of hope grow dim or disappear. Since Thou on earth hast wept, and sorrowed oft alone, If I must weep with Thee, my Lord, Thy will be done. My Jesus, as Thou wilt! All shall be well for me; Each changing future scene I gladly trust with Thee. Straight to my home above I travel calmly on, And sing, in life or death, ‚ÄúMy Lord, Thy will be done.‚Äù ‚ÄîFavorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. ‚Äî1 John 4:16‚Äì17 45 Love Divine, All Loves Excelling Love divine, all loves excelling, Joy of heaven to earth come down; Fix in us thy humble dwelling; All thy faithful mercies crown! Jesus, Thou art all compassion, Pure unbounded love Thou art; Visit us with Thy salvation; Enter every trembling heart. Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit, Into every troubled breast! Let us all in Thee inherit; Let us find that second rest. Take away our bent to sinning; Alpha and Omega be; End of faith, as its Beginning, Set our hearts at liberty. Come, Almighty to deliver, Let us all Thy life receive; Suddenly return and never, Never more Thy temples leave. Thee we would be always blessing, Serve Thee as Thy hosts above, Pray and praise Thee without ceasing, Glory in Thy perfect love. Finish, then, Thy new creation; Pure and spotless let us be. Let us see Thy great salvation Perfectly restored in Thee; Changed from glory into glory, Till in heaven we take our place, Till we cast our crowns before Thee, Lost in wonder, love, and praise. ‚ÄîFavorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her; that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance.‚Äù For thus says the Lord: ‚ÄúBehold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice; your bones shall flourish like the grass; and the hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants, and he shall show his indignation against his enemies.‚Äù ‚Äî1 John 4:16‚Äì17 103 Like a River Glorious Like a river glorious, is God‚Äôs perfect peace, Over all victorious, in its bright increase; Perfect, yet it floweth, fuller every day, Perfect, yet it groweth, deeper all the way. Refrain: Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest. Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand, Never foe can follow, never traitor stand; Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care, Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there. Refrain Every joy or trial falleth from above, Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love; We may trust Him fully all for us to do. They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true. Refrain ‚ÄîFavorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‚ÄúIf anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. ‚ÄîMatthew 16:24‚Äì27 106 I‚Äôd Rather Have Jesus I‚Äôd rather have Jesus than silver or gold; I‚Äôd rather be His than have riches untold; I‚Äôd rather have Jesus than houses or lands, I‚Äôd rather be led by His nail pierced hand. Refrain: Than to be a king of a vast domain Or be held in sin‚Äôs dread sway, I‚Äôd rather have Jesus than anything This world affords today. I‚Äôd rather have Jesus than men‚Äôs applause; I‚Äôd rather be faithful to His dear cause; I‚Äôd rather have Jesus than world-wide fame, I‚Äôd rather be true to His holy name. Refrain He‚Äôs fairer than lilies of rarest bloom; He‚Äôs sweeter than honey from out of the comb; He‚Äôs all that my hungering spirit needs, I‚Äôd rather have Jesus and let Him lead. Refrain ‚ÄîFavorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. ‚ÄîRomans 5:6‚Äì11 This hymnal disappointingly truncates this hymn to three verses. See the entire hymn here. 107 And Can It Be That I Should Gain* And can it be that I should gain An interest in the Savior‚Äôs blood? Died He for me, who caused His pain? For me, who Him to death pursued? Amazing love! How can it be That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me? Refrain: Amazing love! How can it be That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me? He left His Father‚Äôs throne above So free, so infinite His grace, Emptied Himself of all but love, And bled for Adam‚Äôs helpless race; ‚ÄôTis mercy all, immense and free, For O my God, it found out me. Refrain Long my imprisoned spirit lay Fast bound in sin and nature‚Äôs night; Thine eye diffused a quick‚Äôning ray, I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee. Refrain ‚ÄîFavorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967). * Read R. C. Sproul‚Äôs comments on this hymn here.
If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel‚Äôs will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. ‚ÄîMark 8:34ff 111 Jesus, and Shall It Ever Be Jesus, and shall it ever be, A mortal man, ashamed of Thee? Ashamed of Thee, Whom angels praise Whose glories shine thro‚Äô endless days? Ashamed of Jesus! that dear friend On whom my hopes of heav‚Äôn depend! No; when I blush, be this my shame, That I no more revere His name. Ashamed of Jesus! yes, I may, When I‚Äôve no guilt to wash away; No tear to wipe, no good to crave, No fears to quell, no soul to save. Till then‚Äînor is the boasting vain‚Äî Till then I boast a Savior slain; And, O, may this my glory be, That Christ is not ashamed of me. ‚ÄîFavorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. —Isaiah 53:4–5 This is one of those long Puritan hymns that has only partially survived in the hymnal. You can find the full text here. 130 Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned Majestic sweetness sits enthroned Upon the Savior’s brow; His head with radiant glories crowned, His lips with grace o’erflow, His lips with grace o’erflow. No mortal can with Him compare Among the sons of men; Fairer is He than all the fair Who fill the heav’nly train, Who fill the heav’nly train. He saw me plunged in deep distress And flew to my relief; For me He bore the shameful cross, And carried all my grief, And carried all my grief. To Him I owe my life and breath And all the joys I have; He makes me triumph over death, And saves me from the grave, And saves me from the grave. —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.” And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. —Hebrews 9:15–22 138 Nothing but the Blood What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus; What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Refrain: Oh! precious is the flow That makes me white as snow; No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus. For my pardon, this I see— Nothing but the blood of Jesus; For my cleansing this my plea— Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Refrain Nothing can for sin atone— Nothing but the blood of Jesus; Naught of good that I have done— Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Refrain This is all my hope and peace— Nothing but the blood of Jesus; This is all my righteousness— Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Refrain —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
I will also praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praises to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed. —Psalm 71:22–23 140 Redeemed Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it! Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; Redeemed through His infinite mercy, His child and forever I am. Refrain: Redeemed, redeemed, Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; Redeemed, redeemed, His child and forever I am. Redeemed, and so happy in Jesus, No language my rapture can tell; I know that the light of His presence With me doth continually dwell. Refrain I think of my blessÃ¨d Redeemer, I think of Him all the day long: I sing, for I cannot be silent; His love is the theme of my song. Refrain I know I shall see in His beauty The King in whose law I delight; Who lovingly guardeth my footsteps, And giveth me songs in the night. Refrain —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” —Hebrews 13:5 154 Our Great Savior Jesus! what a Friend for sinners! Jesus! Lover of my soul; Friends may fail me, foes assail me, He, my Savior, makes me whole. Refrain: Hallelujah! what a Savior! Hallelujah! what a Friend! Saving, helping, keeping, loving, He is with me to the end. Jesus! what a Strength in weakness! Let me hide myself in Him; Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing, He, my Strength, my vict’ry wins. Refrain Jesus! what a Help in sorrow! While the billows o’er me roll, Even when my heart is breaking, He, my Comfort, helps my soul. Refrain Jesus! what a Guide and Keeper! While the tempest still is high, Storms about me, night o’ertakes me, He, my pilot, hears my cry. Refrain Jesus! I do now receive Him, More than all in Him I find, He hath granted me forgiveness, I am His, and He is mine. Refrain —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 8:38–39 166 The Love of God The love of God is greater far Than tongue or pen can ever tell; It goes beyond the highest star, And reaches to the lowest hell; The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win; His erring child He reconciled, And pardoned from his sin. Refrain: O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure, The saints’ and angels’ song. When years of time shall pass away, And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall, When men, who here refuse to pray, On rocks and hills and mountains call; God’s love so sure, shall still endure, All measureless and strong; Redeeming grace to Adam’s race— The saints’ and angels’ song. Refrain Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made, Were ev’ry stalk on earth a quill, And ev’ry man a scribe by trade, To write the love of God above Would drain the ocean dry; Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Tho’ stretched from sky to sky. Refrain —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. —Romans 3:21–26 I love this hymn in spite of the implication of universal atonement in the fourth stanza. 169 Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness My beauty are, my glorious dress; ’Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed, With joy shall I lift up my head. Bold shall I stand in Thy great day, For who aught to my charge shall lay? Fully absolved through these I am, From sin and fear, from guilt and shame. Lord, I believe Thy precious blood, Which, at the mercy seat of God, Forever doth for sinners plead, For me, e’en for my soul, was shed. Lord, I believe were sinners more Than sands upon the ocean shore, Thou hast for all a ransom paid, For all a full atonement made. —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. —Romans 5:6–8 182 My Savior’s Love I stand amazed in the presence Of Jesus the Nazarene, And wonder how He could love me, A sinner, condemned, unclean. Refrain: How marvelous! How wonderful! And my song shall ever be: O how marvelous! O how wonderful! Is my Savior’s love for me! For me it was in the garden He prayed: “Not My will, but Thine.” He had no tears for His own griefs, But sweat drops of blood for mine. Refrain In pity angels beheld Him, And came from the world of light To comfort Him in the sorrows He bore for my soul that night. Refrain He took my sins and my sorrows, He made them His very own; He bore the burden to Calv’ry, And suffered and died alone. Refrain When with the ransomed in glory His face I at last shall see, ’Twill be my joy through the ages To sing of His love for me. Refrain —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. —Romans Romans 8:16–17 210 A Child of the King My Father is rich in houses and lands, He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands! Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold, His coffers are full, He has riches untold. Refrain: I’m a child of the King, A child of the King: With Jesus my Savior, I’m a child of the King. My Father’s own Son, the Savior of men, Once wandered on earth as the poorest of them; But now He is pleading our pardon on high, That we may be His when He comes by and by. Refrain I once was an outcast stranger on earth, A sinner by choice, an alien by birth, But I’ve been adopted, my name’s written down, An heir to a mansion, a robe and a crown. Refrain A tent or a cottage, why should I care? They’re building a palace for me over there; Tho’ exiled from home, yet still may I sing: All glory to God, I’m a child of the King. Refrain —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. For you have made the city a heap, the fortified city a ruin; the foreigners’ palace is a city no more; it will never be rebuilt. Therefore strong peoples will glorify you; cities of ruthless nations will fear you. For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat; for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall, like heat in a dry place. You subdue the noise of the foreigners; as heat by the shade of a cloud, so the song of the ruthless is put down. —Isaiah 25:1–5 211 A Shelter in the Time of Storm The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide, A Shelter in the time of storm; Secure whatever ill betide, A Shelter in the time of storm. Refrain: Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land, A weary land, a weary land; Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land, A Shelter in the time of storm. A shade by day, defense by night, A Shelter in the time of storm; No fears alarm, no foes afright, A Shelter in the time of storm. Refrain The raging storms may round us beat, A Shelter in the time of storm We’ll never leave our safe retreat, A Shelter in the time of storm. Refrain O Rock divine, O Refuge dear, A Shelter in the time of storm; Be Thou our Helper ever near, A Shelter in the time of storm. Refrain —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. . . . We love, because He first loved us. —1 John 4:9–10, 19 226 Oh, How I Love Jesus There is a Name I love to hear, I love to sing its worth; It sounds like music in my ear, The sweetest Name on earth. Refrain: O how I love Jesus, O how I love Jesus, O how I love Jesus, Because He first loved me! It tells me of a Savior’s love, Who died to set me free; It tells me of His precious blood, The sinner’s perfect plea. Refrain It tells me what my Father hath In store for every day, And though I tread a darksome path, Yields sunshine all the way. Refrain It tells of One whose loving heart Can feel my deepest woe; Who in each sorrow bears a part That none can bear below. Refrain —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967). One more time, like you’ve never heard it before:
I love traditional Christian hymnody, so choosing and preparing the content of my Saturday Hymns of My Youth series is a joyful task—mostly, that is. It can also precipitate some unpleasant emotions, not the least of which is pain over discovering old favorites that really are not very good songs. Some of them are, in fact, downright atrocious. The great majority of the bad songs are not hymns, but gospel songs, so I’ll try to explain the difference. I have looked online for definitions of the terms “hymn” and “gospel song,” but without success. Nor do I remember ever finding any technical definitions in print, so I’ll just share the impressions I’ve gotten from the few oblique references I remember. The hymn form is ancient; gospel songs came along toward the end of the nineteenth century, with most of the popular ones (I think) being written in the early twentieth century. Many gospel songs were written in revivalist contexts, with evangelism in mind (a particularly bad idea). Ira Sankey, for example, who wrote about twelve hundred songs,* was, as it were, D. L. Moody’s George Beverly Shea. Hymns and gospel songs, according to my very unscientific observation, differ very little in form. Both (usually) have stanzas of four lines, with a simple, easily sung meter. The only difference (again, as I see it) is that gospel songs generally include a refrain. Hymns tend to be doctrinal; gospel songs tend to be experiential. Hymns are sung to or about God, while gospel songs describe experiences and express feelings about God. Of course, either can be good or bad, but if those distinctions are accurate, it's easy to see why the gospel song category is more fraught with error and shallow sentimentality. And that is what I find myself encountering week after week. The first Hymns series was taken from the standard (at that time) hymnal of the Lutheran church in which I was raised, Concordia. That hymnal was overwhelmingly good, while still including a handful of the worst revivalist songs. Then I moved on to Great Hymns of the Faith, edited by the great gospel song writer John W. Peterson. That collection contains a much wider selection of great hymns and gospel songs, but also many more bad songs. The current series is taken from Favorite Hymns of Praise. This book contains many very good selections, but, like the little girl with the little curl, when it’s bad, it’s horrid. Which brings me back around to the pain I mentioned in my opening paragraph, of which I will now share an example. I expect this will cause many of you pain as well, and probably a few cases of outrage at my nerve in criticizing such a revered “old favorite.” But hear me out, and think. The song I almost chose last week was: 215 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. Refrain: I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory, To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love. I love to tell the story; more wonderful it seems Than all the golden fancies of all our golden dreams. I love to tell the story, it did so much for me; And that is just the reason I tell it now to thee. Refrain I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet. I love to tell the story, for some have never heard The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word. Refrain I love to tell the story, for those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest. And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song, ’Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long. Refrain —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967). I know, it’s a great old song, loved by everyone and his grandmother. How could I possibly reject such a wonderful song? It’s about Jesus, for goodness sake! Well, that’s where you’re wrong. It’s not about Jesus, it’s about me, and how I feel about “the story of Jesus and his love.” The problem is not with anything that is said; the problem lies in what is left unsaid, namely, anything at all from that story. Yes, the story is “the message of salvation from God’s own holy Word,” but what is that message? Who is Jesus, and what has he done? What is it about this story that “satisfies my longings”? Is just a little specificity too much to request? Without it, I love to Tell the Story, no matter how old and revered, is just maudlin sentimentality, a prehistoric Jesus Is My Boyfriend song. So I flipped a few pages and found Oh, How I Love Jesus, another song of testimony, but one that actually gives a reason for the sentiment expressed. It tells of a Savior “who died to set me free,” and of “his precious blood, the sinner’s perfect plea.” Though we “tread a darksome path” (and are not “happy all the day,” as one insipid chorus avers), there is sufficient grace, that we may bear our burdens joyfully. Verse Four echoes Hebrews 4: It tells of One whose loving heart Can feel my deepest woe; Who in each sorrow bears a part That none can bear below. 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. This song may seem like a juvenile Sunday School song, but the theology is deep and solid, in contrast to I Love to tell the Story, which contains no real theology at all. In conclusion, the purpose of this post is not to annoy, but to make one important point: Whether we sing old hymns, new hymns, gospel songs, or choruses, we—the church—need to think with discernment and discrimination, singing to God psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs that are worthy of his excellence. If we hang on to mediocre songs for sentiment’s sake, we make them idols. God’s great glory, not our feelings, must be the object of our song. Only then do we truly worship in song. * Including some very good ones like A shelter in the Time of Storm and Under His Wings.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 8:38–39 227 Now I Belong to Jesus Jesus my Lord will love me forever, From Him no pow’r of evil can sever, He gave His life to ransom my soul, Now I belong to Him; Refrain: Now I belong to Jesus, Jesus belongs to me, Not for the years of time alone, But for eternity. Once I was lost in sin’s degradation, Jesus came down to bring me salvation, Lifted me up from sorrow and shame, Now I belong to Him; Refrain Joy floods my soul, for Jesus has saved me, Freed me from sin that long had enslaved me, His precious blood He gave to redeem, Now I belong to Him; Refrain —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. —Matthew 10:28–31 [See also this brief meditation on the text above: WLC Q18: Matthew 10:29–31.] 248 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; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. Refrain: I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free, For His eye is on the sparrow, And I know He watches me. “Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear, And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears; Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. Refrain Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise, When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies, I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. Refrain —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! —Psalm 139:23–24 252 Cleanse Me Search me, O God, and know my heart today; Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray: See if there be some wicked way in me: Cleanse me from every sin and set me free. I praise Thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin; Fulfill Thy Word, and make me pure within; Fill me with fire, where once I burned with shame: Grant my desire to magnify Thy Name. Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine: Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine; Take all my will, my passion, self and pride; I now surrender: Lord, in me abide. O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee: Send a revival—start the work in me: Thy Word declares Thou wilt supply our need: For blessings now, O Lord, I humbly plead. —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! —1 Chronicles 16:10 275 More about Jesus More about Jesus would I know, More of His grace to others show; More of His saving fullness see, More of His love Who died for me. Refrain: More, more about Jesus, More, more about Jesus; More of His saving fullness see, More of His love Who died for me. More about Jesus let me learn, More of His holy will discern; Spirit of God, my teacher be, Showing the things of Christ to me. Refrain More about Jesus; in His Word, Holding communion with my Lord; Hearing His voice in every line, Making each faithful saying mine. Refrain More about Jesus; on His throne, Riches in glory all His own; More of His kingdom’s sure increase; More of His coming, Prince of Peace. Refrain —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
I do wish this gospel song contained more explicit gospel content. Consequently, I’d probably save it for evening sing-alongs (or “sangins” for all of you . . . well, you know who you are), rather than use it on Sunday Morning. There is none like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to your help, And through the skies in His majesty. The eternal God is a dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms; And He drove out the enemy from before you, And said, “Destroy!” So Israel dwells in security, The fountain of Jacob secluded, In a land of grain and new wine; His heavens also drop down dew. Blessed are you, O Israel; Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, Who is the shield of your help And the sword of your majesty! So your enemies will cringe before you, And you will tread upon their high places. —Deuteronomy 33:26–29 292 Leaning on the Everlasting Arms What a fellowship, what a joy divine, Leaning on the everlasting arms; What a blessedness, what a peace is mine, Leaning on the everlasting arms. Refrain: Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms. O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way, Leaning on the everlasting arms; O how bright the path grows from day to day, Leaning on the everlasting arms. Refrain What have I to dread, what have I to fear, Leaning on the everlasting arms; I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, Leaning on the everlasting arms. Refrain —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
How can we sing the Lord’s song In a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, May my right hand forget her skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth If I do not remember you, If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy. —Psalm 137:4–6 313 I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord I love Thy kingdom, Lord, The house of Thine abode, The church our blessed Redeemer saved With His own precious blood. I love Thy church, O God. Her walls before Thee stand, Dear as the apple of Thine eye, And graven on Thy hand. For her my tears shall fall For her my prayers ascend, To her my cares and toils be giv’n Till toils and cares shall end. Beyond my highest joy I prize her heav’nly ways, Her sweet communion, solemn vows, Her hymns of love and praise. Sure as Thy truth shall last, To Zion shall be giv’n The brightest glories earth can yield And brighter bliss of Heav’n. —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” —John 6:35 I’ve passed on posting this hymn at least once before due to the mystical foolishness of the line, “Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord.” It’s really a shame that the author made that slip, because the rest is really a beautiful Word-centered prayer. The final stanza seems to contradict the error of that one line, calling on the Holy Spirit’s illumination of the Word rather than revelation beyond the Word. While I normally object to tampering with original texts, I think the Presbyterians in the first video below fixed it up nicely with the substitution of just one word. 320 Break Thou the Bread of Life Break Thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me, As Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea; Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord; My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word. Bless Thou the truth, dear Lord, to me—to me— As Thou didst bless the bread by Galilee; Then shall all bondage cease, all fetters fall; And I shall find my peace, my all in all. Thou art the bread of life, O Lord, to me, Thy holy Word the truth that saveth me; Give me to eat and live with Thee above; Teach me to love Thy truth, for Thou art love. O send Thy Spirit, Lord, now unto me, That He may touch my eyes, and make me see: Show me the truth concealed within Thy Word, And in Thy Book revealed I see the Lord. —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
[Jesus said] “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” . . . So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.” —John 6:63, 67–68 326 Wonderful Words of Life Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life, Let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life; Words of life and beauty teach me faith and duty. Refrain: Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life, Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life. Christ, the blessÃ¨d One, gives to all wonderful words of life; Sinner, list to the loving call, wonderful words of life; All so freely given, wooing us to heaven. Refrain Sweetly echo the Gospel call, wonderful words of life; Offer pardon and peace to all, wonderful words of life; Jesus, only Savior, sanctify us forever. Refrain —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967). [Yes, I know this video is kind of odd. Don’t ask me . . .]
For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. “This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it. “I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her needy with bread. “Her priests also I will clothe with salvation, And her godly ones will sing aloud for joy. “There I will cause the horn of David to spring forth; I have prepared a lamp for Mine anointed. “His enemies I will clothe with shame, But upon himself his crown shall shine. ” —Psalm 132:13–18 335 Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God; He, whose word cannot be broken, Formed thee for his own abode; On the rock of ages founded, What can shake thy sure repose? With salvation’s walls surrounded, Thou may’st smile at all thy foes. See, the streams of living waters, Springing from eternal love; Well supply thy sons and daughters, And all fear of want remove: Who can faint, while such a river Ever flows their thirst t’ assuage? Grace which, like the Lord, the Giver, Never fails from age to age. Round each habitation hov’ring See the cloud and fire appear For a glory and a cov’ring, Showing that the Lord is near! Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God; He, whose word cannot be broken, Formed thee for his own abode. —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. —Psalm 23 This gospel song strikes me as more of a campfire song than anything, but itâ€™s in the book, I remember singing it, and I like it, so here it is. 339 Surely Goodness and Mercy A pilgrim was I, and a wandering, In the cold night of sin I did roam, When Jesus the kind Shepherd found me, And now I am on my way home. Refrain: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days, all the days of my life; Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days, all the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever, And I shall feast at the table spread for me; Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days, all the days of my life. He restoreth my soul when I'm weary, He giveth me strength day by day; He leads me beside the still waters, He guards me each step of the way. Refrain When I walk through the dark lonesome valley, My savior will walk with me there; And safely His great hand will lead me To the mansions He's gone to prepare. Refrain —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. . . . So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” —Luke 14:25â€“27, 33 343 Jesus Calls Us Jesus calls us over the tumultOf our life’s wild, restless, sea;Day by day His sweet voice soundeth,Saying, “Christian, follow Me!” Jesus calls us from the worshipOf the vain world’s golden store,From each idol that would keep us,Saying, “Christian, love Me more!” In our joys and in our sorrows,Days of toil and hours of ease,Still He calls, in cares and pleasures,”Christian, love Me more than these!” Jesus calls us! By Thy mercies,Savior may we hear Thy call,Give our hearts to Thine obedience,Serve and love Thee best of all. —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).
We love, because He first loved us. —John 4:19 I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 8:38â€“39 370 I’ve Found a Friend I’ve found a Friend, O such a friend! He loved me ere I knew Him; He drew me with the cords of love, and thus He bound me to Him; And round my heart still closely twine those ties which naught can sever, For I am His, and He is mine, forever and forever. I’ve found a Friend, O such a friend! He bled, He died to save me; And not alone the gift of life, but His own Self He gave me! Naught that I have mine own I call, I’ll hold it for the Giver, My heart, my strength, my life, my all are His, and His forever. I’ve found a Friend, O such a friend! All pow’r to Him is given, To guard me on my onward course, and bring me safe to heaven. Th’eternal glories gleam afar, to nerve my faint endeavor; So now to watch, to work, to war, and then to rest forever. I’ve found a Friend, O such a friend! So kind and true and tender, So wise a Counselor and Guide, so mighty a Defender! From Him who loves me now so well what power my soul can sever? Shall life or death, shall earth or hell? No! I am His forever. —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967). I couldn’t find a decent video with the same melody as in my hymnal, so this will have to do. It may not be the most professional of productions, but I got a kick out of this young lady (seriously, “I’ll be right back”?), and when she plugged Banner of Truth and corrected the hymn—“I think he found me”—I was hooked.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. —Romans 12:1–2 388 Take My Life, and Let It Be Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee. Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise. Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee. Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King. Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee. Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold. Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose. Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine. Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne. Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store. Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee. —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).