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Friday, November 30, 2007

Hymns - Day 21 - Saved from the Wreck

I have never heard the hymn that we are covering today. I was searching through Cyberhymnal for something that would deal with the storms of life, and this came up. After reading the words and listening to the melody, I've discovered a treasure! This beautiful hymn was written by Eliza Hewitt. This dear lady was born on June 28, 1851 and died on April 24, 1920. It appears that she was born, raised and lived in Philadelphia all of her life. Eliza's teaching career ended when she became disabled due to a spinal problem. Here is a dear saint who did not allow the physical trials in her life to stop her from serving the Lord through writing hymns. She also served the Lord as a Sunday School superintendent at the Northern Home for Friendless Children and later on at the Calvin Presbyterian Church. It is also noted that she was a contributor to Sunday-school Helps.

Saved from the Wreck
Eliza E. Hewitt

Adrift on the waters, so dark and so cold,
Afar from the beautiful city of gold,
A vessel is sinking, for heavy the gale,
The cable is broken, and tattered each sail.


Poor child of the wreck, see the lifeboat is near,
A sweet voice is heard, for the Master is here;
He walks every billow, controls every wave,
’Tis Jesus, King Jesus, “the mighty to save.”

Oh, I was the sinner alone on the sea,
But love’s blessèd signal were floating for me;
Though thunders were rolling, and billows at strife,
Lo, Jesus was calling, “escape for thy life.”


I stepped in the life boat, provided for me,
And Jesus my Pilot, my Captain to be;
His bosom my refuge, my “haven of rest.”
I’m rescued from shipwreck, so happy and blest.


Life’s turbulent surges are kissed into peace,
The beacons are shining, and songs never cease;
Fair moonbeams, bright sunshine, illumine the tide,
While onward to glory we’ll joyfully glide.


Eliza must have gone through many a turbulent trial as an invalid. I know so many dear saints who have debilating diseases and chronic illnesses and yet they serve the Lord in whatever capacity they can.

The Christian is not promised that he will never go through hard times. But we are promised that in the midst of the storm, our Shepherd will lead us to still waters. (Psa 23:2) He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. I think of those dear saints the Lord has allowed me to meet in my life who have been stricken with physical problems. Each of these saints has blessed me more than I could possibly say. Although they struggle to stay afloat in their physical storms, they minister to others showing how Christ has brought them to those still waters spiritually.

Where are you today, dear friend? Are you wallowing in self pity because of your ailments? You can serve the Lord despite all of your circumstances. Everyone wants to feel needed. The Lord wants to use you to help others - yes, even with your physical impairments the way they are. There are others in this world who are suffering just like you - with the same ailments as you. You can be a blessing to someone else and help them through their physical trials by sharing what the Lord has done for you and how He has helped you. You can meet this person's needs by sending cards, praying for them, or even calling them. I have a dear friend who has fibromyalgia and every year the illness progresses. She sends "care packages" out to those who have the same illness and gives them information they need to help them through this illness. She sends them devotionals, Bibles, and anything else the Lord lays on her heart to be a blessing.

What struggles are you going through? Has the Lord helped you through depression? Then help someone you know who is struggling. We all have our crosses to bear in life - but we never bear them alone.

Psalm 107:28-31, Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. (28) He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. (29) Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. (30) Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (31)

You may be the one that God wants to use to help someone out of his/her distress. People today are lonely and searching for peace and tranquility - yes, even Christians. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading and He will direct you to someone to help. You will find that in helping others, you will be guided to the still waters and will find comfort from your trials.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hymns - Day 20 - He's Coming Soon

I was drawn to the Saviour because of His blessed return to earth to rapture the Saints. When I heard this song, written by Thoro Harris, I received such a blessing!

Thoro Harris was born on March 31, 1874, in Washington, D.C., only 30 miles from where I now live. He died on March 27, 1955. He produced his first hymnal in 1902. When I read the words to this beautiful hymn, I cannot remain in a discouraged state of mind. I cannot remain ungrateful. It is beautiful hymns like these that encourage the Saint to look up to the hills from when cometh our help!

He's Coming Soon
Thoro Harris

In these, the closing days of time,
What joy the glorious hope affords,
That soon—O wondrous truth sublime!
He shall reign, King of kings and Lord of Lords.


He’s coming soon, He’s coming soon;
With joy we welcome His returning;
It may be morn, it may be night or noon—
We know He’s coming soon.

The signs around—in earth and air,
Or painted on the starlit sky,
God’s faithful witnesses—declare
That the coming of the Savior draweth nigh.


The dead in Christ who ’neath us lie,
In countless numbers, all shall rise
When through the portals of the sky
He shall come to prepare our paradise.


And we, who living, yet remain,
Caught up, shall meet our faithful Lord;
This hope we cherish not in vain,
But we comfort one another by this word.


This dear brother in Christ sure knew his Bible. "He shall reign, King of kings and Lord of Lords." Did you know that the phrase Lord of Lords appears five times in the Word? Five is the number for grace. Also, the phrase King of kings appears six times in the Word. Six is the number for man. Our Saviour shed His grace upon man and give His very blood so we could reign with Him. Isn't that awesome?

(1 Cor. 15:52) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

(Tit 2:13) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, what a blessed hope we have indeed! Chances are I will hear from one of my readers who picks apart my writings and accuses me of heresy over and over. He thinks he will "convert" me back to the "religion" of my youth but he is mistaken for sure. There was no hope in that religion. All I could say was that I "hoped" I would go to heaven. But after reading Ephesians 2:8-9, I saw that my religion was one of works and I could not get to heaven based on anything good that I had done. (Eph 2:8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (8) Not of works, lest any man should boast. (9) My friend, our own righteousness (that which we think we have in our own lives and our own works) is considered a filthy rag in God's eyes. (Isa 64:6) But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. You know who you are, Sir, and I pray that you will allow God's Word to speak to your heart through His Holy Spirit so you can find true salvation - not man's - not a church - but through Jesus Christ. Do so now for He is coming soon!

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hymns - Day 19 - There Shall be Showers of Blessing

Ezekiel 34:26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.

What a beautiful song Daniel Whittle penned! The words bring hope and encourage the Christian to seek after God. Daniel W. Whittle was born on November 22, 1840, and died on March 4, 1901. Whittle served as a Major in the Civil War, where he lost his right arm, and was known thereafter as Major Whittle. It was during the Civil War that he was saved. He was asked to pray with a dying young soldier because he had been seen reading a Bible. He obeyed the request and it was at this young man's bedside that he asked God for forgiveness. Major Whittle then prayed with the young soldier and the soldier found Christ before passing away. The Lord used this situation to draw Major Whittle and the young dying soldier to Him. What a blessed story this was to read! After the War, Major Whittle became treasurer of a watch company. It was in this company's quiet vault that he committed his life to the Gospel.

Major Whittle not only wrote this blessed hymn but also wrote two more which you will recognize: The Banner of the Cross and Christ Liveth in Me.

There Shall be Showers of Blessing
Daniel W. Whittle

There shall be showers of blessing:
This is the promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
Sent from the Savior above.


Showers of blessing,
Showers of blessing we need:
Mercy drops round us are falling,
But for the showers we plead.

There shall be showers of blessing,
Precious reviving again;
Over the hills and the valleys,
Sound of abundance of rain.


There shall be showers of blessing;
Send them upon us, O Lord;
Grant to us now a refreshing,
Come, and now honor Thy Word.


There shall be showers of blessing:
Oh, that today they might fall,
Now as to God we’re confessing,
Now as on Jesus we call!


There shall be showers of blessing,
If we but trust and obey;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
If we let God have His way.


Today's verse and song speak of showers of blessing but yet the photograph at the top is totally the opposite. Without the beautiful benefits of the season of Winter, earth cannot produce the precious seeds and harvest of Spring and Fall. God gave us the four seasons for a purpose and each affects the other three.

The Winter season has many benefits other than the obvious cold weather pass times. The frigid temperatures provide mankind with a natural pest eliminator. Viruses and germs cannot survive in continuously cold weather. Bugs which damage crops cannot survive the cold. Molds and mildews die off as well. Winter is God's natural way to rid the earth of these things.

When I lived in Northern Maine, I not only felt healthier in the Winter time but I had more energy when I spent time outside. Haven't you ever felt invigorated by the blast of cold air that hits your face the moment you step outside on a cold day? The Winter winds stir up the atmosphere on a greater scale than the Summer winds - they purify the atmosphere. While orbiting the earth on a Winter day, astronauts have said that the atmosphere is clear and clean. As the earth expands and contracts in the Winter time, the soil is pushing the seeds upwards and preparing them for Spring's showers.

I liken earth's Winter season to our own spiritual maturity. Are you in the Winter season of your spiritual walk? The Spring time brings salvation and newness of life. 1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. During the summer years of our walk, we grow and mature as Christians. 1 Corinthians 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. As we enter the Fall season of our spiritual growth, we shed old habits and sinful ways like the trees shed their leaves. 1 John 1:7 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. Then as we walk in the Winter season of our Christian life, we experience trials and tribulations. Each one drawing us closer to the Lord. We eliminate those pestilences that have hindered our walk. It is when we remove the barriers between us and the Lord that the showers of blessings from the Spring time can freely flow into our lives. 1 John 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Our Heavenly Father sends blessings along the way but these blessings flow more freely as we become more like His Son.

What a beautiful comparison this is. There is something to be learned in all of God's creation, including the Seasons. As I meditated on this today, the Lord blessed me and showed me that the trials and tribulations of the day will produce showers of blessings in the end as I draw nigh to Him. Hebrews 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. As our hearts are softened, we get closer to God. Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

Our Heavenly Father loves us no matter what we do. Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. But our love for Him is shown when we allow ourselves to be molded into Christ's image. 2 Timothy 2:19-21, Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (19) But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. (20) If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. (21) It is at this point in our spiritual walk that we can fully receive the showers of blessings that God wants to shower upon us. When we fully lean on Him and trust Him with all areas of our lives, we receive that peace which passeth all understanding. Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hymns - Day 18 - Count Your Blessings

Not much is known about Johnson Oatman, Jr., the author of one of my favorite hymns! Mr. Oatman was born on Ap?ril 21, 1856, and passed away on September 25, 1922. Did you know that he wrote lyrics for 5,000 gospel songs? Not only did he pastor local churches but he also worked full time in the retail and insurance industries!

The most important characteristic I found about Mr. Oatman was that he was a grateful man. He must have gone through many trials as a salesman. The life of a salesman is not an easy one. Most salesmen depend on commissions and, therefore, their income fluctuates. I'm certain Mr. Oatman had bounty and I am certain at times he had nothing. Can't you just see this throughout his lyrics in this blessed hymn?

What do you do when trouble comes knocking on your door? We are doing a series on the Book of Proverbs in our Sunday School class at the moment. Pastor covered trusting God this passed Sunday. Prov. 3:5-6 were the main verses for that class. Prov. 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (5) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (6) We learned that there are four verbs in these two verses. The first three verbs are commands to us from God: Trust in the Lord, lean not unto thine own understanding, in ALL thy ways acknowledge him. The fourth verb in verse 5 is a promise that He SHALL direct thy paths! When we pick apart verses and meditate on the meat, we see that the Lord has given us golden nuggets which will help us when we need that help the most! How can you trust someone you don't know or barely know? You can't! Rom 10:17 So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. As we build our faith by being in the Word, we learn to trust God more and more. You cannot trust if you are only in the Word on occasion. Could you trust a stranger? Could you trust someone you had only spoken to a few times? Why is your walk with the Lord any different?

Do you think Mr. Oatman held those verses close to his heart? I know I do. I have made these my life's verses. Many times in my Christian walk have I wondered why the Lord was allowing certain circumstances in my life. Each battle He has allowed me to go through has drawn me closer to Him. Each battle has taught me to trust Him more and more. Now when a battle comes, I immediately go to Him - knowing that He will carry me through. My friend, He will do the same for you if you let Him. Remember 1 Sam. 17:47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle [is] the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands. The battle is the Lord's, my friend! It's not ours. When God allows a trial into our lives, He does not leave us or abandon us. He provides exactly what we need, when we need it. It is through the battles that we learn that our Commander in Chief is not asleep on the job but is in the front lines winning the war!

Count Your Blessings
Johnson Oatman, Jr.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.


Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.


When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.


So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.


My friend, won't you count your blessings this morning? Write them down - share them with others - name them one by one! Even in the darkest of circumstances one can find a blessing in his life! When you feel as though the world is caving in on you, take your eyes off your circumstances and count your blessings! Start doing something for someone else. It is in doing for others that you will find many a blessing! Before you know it, you will be counting your blessings out of habit and you will no longer have to search for them - they will be all around you!

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Back from break

Good morning, blogger friends!

Well, after MUCH packing, moving and unpacking, I'm happy to say we are settled in ... well, at least temporarily - until May 2008!

Thank you for the prayers... they were much needed and I am grateful for them. So much happened while I was away. My precious husband, John, is so looking forward to retiring from police work. May cannot come too quickly for him. He is looking forward to starting his own commercial cleaning business once we move to Oregon. What a blessing this man is to me! He is not afraid to work and I admire his zeal to start a new adventure at this point in our lives!

Aaron, my oldest, is nearly finished with his college courses and is hoping to do his student teaching once we get to Oregon. We are praying for a good IFB church with a Christian school there as well for him to achieve this goal! That would be such a blessing so we covet your prayers in this area.

My Marine, Adam, is in Ft. Sill, OK and waiting for orders to report as Recruiter's Assistant here in the next week or so. We are hoping this goes through because that means he will be home for Christmas. I don't know if I shared this with ya'll but he asked Bethany to marry him. They will wait to be married until he reaches the rank of Corporal - good thinking!

We had to put our sweet, precious Sheltie, Bandit, to sleep three weeks ago. He was with us for almost 14 years and was a faithful friend. He is sorely missed. His sweet demeanor warmed the coldest heart and dried the loneliest tears.

As for me, I'm thankful for God's goodness to me. He has provided everything we could possibly need. When we were looking for temporary housing until the move next May, He gave us a beautiful apartment and threw in a garage with the same dimensions as public storage for $150 less a month! Even when we are not looking for His blessings, He is in the background working out all the details! We serve a mighty and wonderful God, my friends.

I am glad to be back and look forward to finishing this series of devotionals covering the blessed hymns of old!

God bless you, dear readers, and I pray for God's goodness in your lives today!


Monday, November 05, 2007

Hymns - Day 17 - O Lord my God! how great art Thou!

John Quincy Adam, our sixth President, was a wonderful poet. He was born on July 11, 1767, and died on February 23, 1848. I had never heard this hymn before - the words are absolutely beautiful! It was set to music by Lowell Mason Hamburg in 1824. If you click on the title's hyperlink, it will take you to Cyberhymnal and you can listen to it. It is a beautiful hymn and the words are an absolute blessing.

President Adams was blessed with a true gift of poetry. His style just flows and the words magnify God! As I read his hymn, I felt the peace of God cover me like a blanket. Meditating on these words truly causes one to be overwhelmed with God's power and might. At least it did for me.

O Lord my God! how great art Thou!

O Lord my God! how great art Thou!
With honor and with glory crowned;
Light’s dazzling splendors veil Thy brow,
And gird the universe around.

Spirits and angels Thou hast made;
Thy ministers a flaming fire;
By Thee were earth’s foundations laid;
At Thy rebuke the floods retire.

Thine are the fountains of the deep;
By Thee their waters swell or fail;
Up to the mountain’s summit creep,
Or shrink beneath the lowly vale.

Thy fingers mark their utmost found;
That bound the waters may not pass;
Their moisture swells the teeming ground,
And paints the valleys o’er with grass.

The waving harvest, Lord, is Thine;
The vineyard, and the olive’s juice;
Corn, wine, and oil, by Thee combine,
Life, gladness, beauty, produce.

The moon for seasons Thou hast made,
The sun for change of day and night;
Of darkness Thine the deepest shade,
And Thine the day’s meridian light.

O Lord, Thy works are all divine;
In wisdom hast Thou made them all;
Earth’s teeming multitudes are Thine;
Thine—peopled ocean’s great and small.

All these on Thee for life depend;
Thy Spirit speaks, and they are born;
They gather what Thy bounties send;
Thy hand of plenty fills the horn.

Thy face is hidden—they turn pale,
With terror quake, with anguish burn;
Their breath Thou givest to the gale;
They die, and to their dust return.

And Thou, my soul, with pure delight,
Thy voice to bless thy Maker raise;
His praise let morning sing to night,
And night to morn repeat His praise.

We should take the time to meditate on God's goodness to us as well as His power and might. Like the Psalmist, David, President Adams allowed his thoughts to dwell on the Almighty and in turn glorified Him through his writing.

So what does this song do for you, oh Christian? Do you read it like any other song or do you allow the Holy Spirit to work in your heart? The Spirit's job is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you allowing Him the opportunity to do this for you in your life? Meditating on God's Word is a must if we want to grow spiritually. Reading songs and poetry like this and listening to Godly music also works in a Christian's heart. If it were not so, the Lord would not have dedicated an entire book (Psalms) to music. God knew that music is an important part of a person's life and can be a blessing!

I know that today's devotional is not typical of my others. There really is not much more to add to words so beautifully penned. May the Lord use these words to work in your heart and draw you to Him, His goodness, power and might!

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