Praise You, Father

I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High (Psalms 9:1-2).

I have grown to love Praise You, Father. I first heard and have only it played during the Family Alter prayer time on the Bible Broadcasting Network.  The instrumental version of the song is played towards the end of the program as the announcer reads the final prayer requests and lifts all request up to the Father.

I urge you to listen to the instrumental version in the background while reading the Bible and praying.  Let your prayer be only praise, thanksgiving and worship of our great Lord and Savior.  I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving (Psalms 69:30). We all have needs to lift up, personal, financial, health, spiritual but it’s good to also give thanks for the many blessings bestowed on us everyday.  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him (Colossians 3:18).

Praise You Father was composed by Jim Stipech and copywritten by CCCM Music (Maranatha Music), 1975.  It was recorded by Maranatha Praise Band.

In closing I leave you with the vocal arrangement but praise God today, tonight and tomorrow!  Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day (Psalms 71:8).

Sources: King James Bible

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Guiding Light

To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:79)

Please indulge me to spotlight a song that was not written specifically as a Christian song. Still, the song has Christian roots and speaks out loudly a Christian message, at least to me.

Guiding Light calls out the message of hope.  The lyrics are very moving yet also comforting.  They tell of a person (could have been any of us) lost in their way on a wide highway, dismayed and tired. This person has but one friend, one true friend.  We have but one true friend, our Lord Jesus Christ. A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).

The person’s soul is tired and broken (remember when you were lost and tired) though still yearned for their friend to lead them home.  We are all born with knowledge of the Light, the way home.  That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:9).  If we realize we are lost in our own way and don’t want to be in darkness any longer Jesus is there.  Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12). I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness (John 12:46).  If you are lost, searching for the way home, longing for true love of the Father, please call on Christ today. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (Romans 10:9).  He is waiting to guide you home.

Even as Christians our beings, our souls tire. We suffer hardships and disappointments, seemingly lost on our Heavenly journey homeward.  Christ is still there. He is our comforter.  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).  Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light (Ephesians 5:14).  Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Psalms 119:105).  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

Guiding Light was composed by Foy Vance and published in 2014 on the Feel for Me EP album, (c) Glassnote Entertainment Group, LLC.  Foy Vance hails from Northern Ireland.  He is the son of a protestant Christian minister who pastored churches in both Northern Ireland and the United States.  One can definitely feel sacred and comforting undercurrents in some of Foy Vance’s early songs and especially Guiding Light. Fair disclosure. To my knowledge Mr. Vance is not a composer of Christian music though he has played at Christian youth retreats.  You can read more about Foy Vance here.

Well the road is wide,
And waters run on either side
And my shadow went with fading light,
Stretching out towards the night.

‘Cause the Sun is low,
And I yet have still so far to go,
My lonely heart is beating so,
Tired of the wonder.

But there’s a sign ahead,
Though I think it’s the same one again,
And I’m thinking ’bout my only friend,
And so I find my way home.

When I need to get home
You’re my guiding light,
You’re my guiding light.

When I need to get home,
You’re my guiding light,
You’re my guiding light.

Well the air is cold,
And yonder lies my sleeping soul,
By the branches broke like bones,
This weakened tree no longer holds.

But the night is still,
And I have not yet lost my will,
Oh and I will keep on moving ’till,
‘Till I find my way home.

When I need to get home,
You’re my guiding light,
You’re my guiding light.

When I need to get home,
You’re my guiding light,
You’re my guiding light.

When I need to get home,
You’re my guiding light,
You’re my guiding light.

When I need to get home,
You’re my guiding light,
You’re my guiding light.

When I need to get home,
You’re my guiding light,
You’re my guiding light.

Source: King James Version of the Bible

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Let the Lower Lights be Burning

And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness… (Romans 2:19).

I first heard Let the Lower Lights be Burning, written by Philip B. Bliss in 1871, as a child at Highland Park Baptist Church, Chattanooga.  The hymn has never left me.

When we were lost in sin Christ, the Light of the world, called us from darkness (“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” John 1:9).  Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12).

As Christ concluded His earthly ministry he gave us who believed in the Light this commandment: And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature (John 16:15).  Christ has made us smaller lights, to shine the way to Him.  Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning… (Luke 12:35).  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16).

Philip Bliss was in attendance in 1871 when D. L. Moody gave the following soliloquy during a morning sermon.

On a dark, stormy, night, when the waves rolled like mountains, and not a star was to be seen, a boat, rocking and plunging, neared the Cleveland harbor. “Are you sure this is Cleveland?” asked the captain, seeing only one light from the light-house.

“Quite sure, sir,” replied the pilot.

“Where are the lower lights?”

“Gone out, sir.”

“Can you make the harbor?”

“We must, or perish, sir!”

And with a strong hand and a brave heart, the old pilot turned the wheel. But alas, in the darkness he missed the channel, and with a crash upon the rocks the boat was shivered, and many a life lost in a watery grave. Brethren, the Master will take care of the great light-house: let us keep the lower lights burning!

With that Mr. Bliss by evening had penned lyrics to Let the Lower Lights be Burning.

Brightly beams our Father’s mercy,
From His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.

Chorus: Let the lower lights be burning!
Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.

Dark the night of sin has settled,
Loud the angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing,
For the lights along the shore.

Trim your feeble lamp, my brother;
Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor,
In the darkness may be lost.

D. L. Moody said of Bliss: “…I loved and admired him. I believe he was raised up of God to write hymns for the Church of Christ in this age, as Charles Wesley was for the church in his day. … In my estimate, he was the most highly honored of God, of any man of his time, as a writer and singer of Gospel Songs, and with all his gifts he was the most humble man I ever knew. I loved him as a brother, and shall cherish his memory….”

 

Sources: King James Bible, Univ of Chicago online library, Online library of Brethren Writers, Blue Letter Bible, Cyberhymnal

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God Bless the USA

Thy name, O LORD, endureth for ever; and thy memorial, O LORD, throughout all generations (Psalms 135:13).

Today, Memorial Day in the United States, I dedicate a song, God Bless the USA, to all the people, men and women, that have wrought our freedom and protected the freedoms of many countries. To my international readers, I thank you and I mean you no disregard. Please allow me today this post.

We all can be thankful for the everlasting memorial our Lord has left us, in all nations. For in Him alone do we glory. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. 2 Pet 3:18

Lee Greenwood wrote and first recorded God Bless the USA in 1983.

Sources: CMT, Holy Bible, King James Version

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Gone

Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,  Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again (Luke 24:1-7).

I first heard the song Gone in the mid-1970s.  It was a popular Southern Gospel song at the time often played on Christian radio.  This song should be played all during the year, not just at the Easter season.  The song is full of the good news. While we are cleansed by the blood of Christ, His resurrection was absolutely necessary for the God’s redemptive plan to be complete and to conquer death for us. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain (1 Cor 15:14). And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable (1 Cor 15:17-19). Because of Christ resurrection, Christians have the assurance of resurrection, and without this life’s corruption. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power (1 Cor 15:42-43). So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15-54:57). Because of Christ’s resurrection we look forward to the blessed hope of Christ’s return. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord (1 Thes 4:14-17).

Friend, do you know Jesus as your personal savior?  If not, you can.  Simply call on Him, repent of your sin and ask him to save you.  Read Romans 10.

The lyrics and music of Gone were written by Eldridge Fox in 1972.  The song was copyright by Bridge Building, a division of Zomba Enterprises (BMI). Several groups have recorded the song since the 1970s but I like the version by Teddy Huffman and the Gems the best.

Mary came into the tomb of Jesus.
The stone was moved and he had gone away.
The angel said fear not I know whom seek ye.
For He has risen, this I heard Him say.

First chorus: Gone the stone is rolled back.
Gone the tomb is empty.
Gone to sit at the Father’s side.
Gone over death triumphant.
Gone sin is defeated.
Gone and He lives forever more.

My friend if you don’t know my risen savior.
I beg of you don’t wait till it’s too late.
Don’t wait until the bride has been completed
.
Don’t wait until you here him say it’s too late.

Second chorus: Gone the church is empty.
Gone the bride is raptured.
Gone to sit at Jesus’ side.
Gone over death triumphant.
Gone sin is defeated.
Gone and he lives forever more.

Sources: King James Version of the Bible, MusicNotes

 

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Nailed to the Cross

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross (Colossians 2:13-14).

Nailed to the Cross is a hymn classic though in modern churches the hymn is rarely used in worship.  I love to listen to the words and message which tells the story of Christ’s love and sacrifice for sinners.  Rather than present more of my thoughts on this song I will present words of God for you to dwell on.

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand (Isaiah 53:2-10).

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8).

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Phil 2:5-8).

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).

Nailed to the Cross was written as a poem by Carrie Elizabeth Ellis Breck in 1899.  Carrie Breck was wife and mother to 5 daughters but she was weak for most of her life.  She would often need to sit; when she did she wrote poetry. Carrie Breck did not have musical talent, but wrote more than over 2000 poems, many of them set to music.  Another of her popular hymns still sang today is Face to Face with Christ my Savior. Music for Nailed to the Cross was written by Grant C. Tullar.

There was One Who was willing to die in my stead,
That a soul so unworthy might live
And the path to the cross He was willing to tread,
All the sins of my life to forgive.breck_cee_lg

Chorus: They are nailed to the cross,
They are nailed to the cross,
O how much He was willing to bear!
With what anguish and loss Jesus went to the cross!
But He carried my sins with Him there.

He is tender and loving and patient with me,
While He cleanses my heart of the dross;
But “there’s no condemnation”—I know I am free,
For my sins are all nailed to the cross.

I will cling to my Savior and never depart—
I will joyfully journey each day,
With a song on my lips and a song in my heart,
That my sins have been taken away.

Sources: King James Version of the Bible, Cyberhymnal 

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How Great Our Joy

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people (Luke 2:10)

How Great Our Joy is possibly one of the most majestic Christmas songs, ever written, and yet it is simple in its message. I first the song performed around 1997 in a cantata at Liberty Baptist Church in my hometown.

Christ is the joy of all. In Him is peace that no one else can give. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Psalms 16:11). Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).

The words for How Great Our Joy originated in a Ger­man car­ol; the first two verses were trans­lat­ed to Eng­lish by The­o­dore Bak­er (1851-1934). The melody is also a Ger­man mel­o­dy. It was arranged by Hu­go Jüngst (1853-1923).

While by the sheep we watched at night,
Glad tidings brought an angel bright.

Chorus: How great our joy! Great our joy!
Joy, joy, joy! Joy, joy, joy!
Praise we the Lord in heav’n on high!
Praise we the Lord in heav’n on high!

There shall be born, so He did say,
In Bethlehem a Child today.

There shall the Child lie in a stall,
This Child who shall redeem us all.

This gift of God we’ll cherish well,
That ever joy our hearts shall fill.

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