This song freshens up a 19th century hymn by George Robinson about the love of God that we experience in union with Jesus, and how that relationship affects our lives, particularly in how we view creation. Robinson says that "something lives in every hue Christless eyes have never seen." Once a person is born-again, or regenerated, it is like they are given new eyes, eyes to see the significance of Jesus in every formerly mundane aspect of the universe. As we experience the beauties of this world, we can truly say that Jesus' loveliness ever grows since we see Him - His beauty, His creative power, His tenderness - in creation. The song closes with the assurance that though "heaven and earth may fade and flee," in His arms we'll ever be. Let us rejoice in the amazing truth that we can say "I am His, and He is mine!"
Posts for the ‘Updated Hymns’ Category
Augustus Toplady, theological champion of the so-called Particular Baptists of the 18th century, wrote many hymns so full of theology they seem to be exploding with truth. The hymn "From Whence This Fear and Unbelief" is no different, and it is strange that this hymn is not as well known or celebrated as his "Rock of Ages" or "A Debtor to Mercy Alone." In this hymn, Toplady sets out to not only defend the doctrine of particular redemption, but to show that it is a holy occasion for praise. In perhaps the most powerful verse, he declares (lyrics have been modernized), "If pardon You have now secured and freely in my place endured the whole of wrath divine, God cannot payment twice demand, first at my bleeding Surety’s hand, and then again at mine." If Jesus' death paid for the sins of every person irrespective of whether they come to put their faith in Him as their Savior, it would be unjust of God to punish unbelievers for their sins since they would have already been punished at the cross. Either God must save everyone, or Jesus' died for a particular people, as Jesus says in John 10:14-1: "I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep." And again, in Matthew 28:20: "the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
A friend of mine sent me this text, saying her church had just sung this hymn and though the music was not very engaging, the words were extremely powerful and would I write a new melody? I read through the text and saw what she was talking about. What a faith-filled hymn! Written by Samuel Rodigast in 1676 to comfort a sick friend, he lays out what it means to deal with the problem of pain from the perspective of faith. Our God is sovereign and full of love, and though he takes us through adversity, his plans are right and true. His promise is that he will not leave us in the circumstance through which he is taking us. Samuel's response is to trust that God will hold him and to be content through the pain. May we all be blessed with such a response that can only come as a result of the Spirit working in us. I pray this song would help our people through whatever trial God is taking them, knowing that some sweet day, we will all be free from the pain of this world.
This hymn exhorts us to obey the countless commands in Scripture, especially in the Psalms, to praise the Lord. After reminding us of the reasons we have to praise Him - His holiness, love, greatness, noble deeds, and matchless power, it joins with Psalm 150 in calling for praise from instruments and all the creatures of the world. May God's praise continue to rise from His people as they join the witness of all creation in proclaiming God's honor and worth.
Jessie Pounds wrote this hymn for Easter following the pattern of Job 19:25 where Job asserts the promise that though he will die, he knows that he will see his Redeemer with his own eyes. "I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another." (Job 19:25-27). What a wonderful promise! The Lord will resurrect our bodies, reconstitute and repair them, and we will live for all eternity seeing our Redeemer with our own eyes. May the Lord give us faith to know that Jesus lives and will stand on the earth once again.
This passion hymn invites us to behold Jesus on the cross, both to remember how deeply our sins have stung him, and to remember that freedom from death and sin - true life - is found by looking to Him. The song not only tells the story of Jesus' suffering and death, but also of His triumphant resurrection and the eternal proclamation that peace and pardon were won through His death and resurrection. This text represented somewhat of a musical challenge in that the first two stanzas focused on Jesus' suffering and the last two stanzas on His resurrection, making it difficult to write a tune or find a mood that would do justice to the feeling of both halves of the song. The solution was to write one melody (so that congregations could easily learn the song) and set it to minor chords for the first two stanzas and major chords for the second two stanzas. The result provides a sharp musical contrast between the suffering of Jesus and the triumph of His resurrection which helps us to feel the contrast of the lyrics.
This song is a cry for help in the struggle that every Christian faces against their remaining sin. What should we do when sin seems to "take such hold" on us that we feel powerless against it? The song reminds us that there is only one place to look - to Jesus, the source of forgiveness and grace. Remembering the sufferings of Jesus, as a result of our sin (the very sin we are struggling with) will remind us of the grief, anguish, sadness, and guilt that our sins deserve. But the very suffering that reminds us of our sin's penalty also reminds us of the incredible, gracious, love that God has demonstrated for us at the cross. Because Jesus suffered in our place, we need not face eternal suffering for our sin. Because Jesus rose again and conquered sin and death, we can experience His resurrection power in putting our remaining sin to death. We do this not by our own effort, but by starting at the foot of the cross where we are reminded of God's grace and the source of power in the struggle against sin.
It is assumed that William Enfield, a British presbyterian minister, wrote the original text of this updated hymn (he was the editor of a 1772 volume in which it appeared without source). The words, an echo of Philippians 2:1-11, give us well-crafted language depicting the angst of Christ in the garden leading to the cross and describing the perfect virtues He displays in the midst of this most intense hour of His life. The final stanza focuses on the importance of following Christ to the cross in order to share in the joy and glory of denying ourselves and living out our salvation.
This song is based on a hymn by Frank Houghton who was involved with mission work in China. He visited the country in 1934 after John and Betty Stam were martyred, a very difficult time in the history of missions to China. It is based on 2 Corinthians 8:9, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich." The song directs our attention to what it meant for Jesus to "become poor" for our sakes - He gave up His riches, His majesty, and the praise and honor in heaven that He deserved, to become a man. The ultimate picture of His poverty is shown at the cross when Jesus "humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:8) This is the reason that we sing the name of Jesus - In love He humbled Himself to the point of death to rescue us.
The Spirit's role in our redemption is vital but often overlooked for the saint who has walked with God for many years. This can be seen in part by the lack of good hymns on the person and work of the Spirit. This hymn was found in "Hymns Ancient and Modern," the hymn-book of the Anglican church in the 19th century, and is a gem well worth dusting off with a modern arrangement. The song is really one resounding cry – "come down, Holy Spirit!" We need His ministry to cherish the gospel, to make our passions burn for Jesus, to reveal our sin and lead us to repentance, and move us to do acts of mercy and justice in Jesus' name. Many hymns on the Holy Spirit are set to calm, peaceful tunes, but for this arrangement we took a different approach. There's something about the blues that carries a certain sense of struggle and warfare, and we humbly offer this mood for this text in the hopes that it will help some of us sing with earnest and triumph, asking ... begging, for the ministry of the Spirit in our midst.