Archive for April, 2009

A Shelter In The Time Of Storm

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Vernon John Charlesworth was a British pastor. He is remembered for writing a biography of Rowland Hill, a famous British nonconformist preacher, who built Surrey Chapel. Vernon later became administrator of Charles Spurgeon’s orphanage.

He wrote “A Shelter In The Time Of Storm” based on Ps32:7 – “Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.”

Someone set this to music and it became popular along the coasts of England. Ira Sankey later composed this tune to the hymn. His account is as follows: I found this hymn in a small paper published in London, called “The Postman.” It was said to be a favourite song of the fishermen on the north coast of England, and they were often heard singing it as they approached their harbours in the time of storm. As the hymn was set to weird minor tune, I decided to compose one that would be more practical, one that could be more easily sung by the people.

Lyrics: Vernon J. Charlesworth
Music: Ira D. Sankey

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.

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.

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.

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.

In Ira Sankey’s Sacred Songs and Solos, he quote Ps94:22 “ God is the rock of my refuge”

Trusting Jesus

Monday, April 27th, 2009

The lyrics of this hymn first appeared as a poem in a newspaper. The poem was written by Edgar Stites, who was a riverboat pilot turned Methodist preacher. The poem was handed to D. L. Moody in Chicago. Moody, on reading the poem, handed it to Ira Sankey who composed the tune.

In Sacred Songs and Solos by Ira Sankey, this hymn has the following passage of Scripture – Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him..”

Lyrics: Edgar P. Stites
Music: Ira D. Sankey

Simply trusting every day,
Trusting through a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him whate’er befall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Brightly does His Spirit shine
Into this poor heart of mine;
While He leads I cannot fall;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Singing if my way is clear,
Praying if the path be drear;
If in danger for Him call;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Trusting Him while life shall last,
Trusting Him till earth be past;
Till within the jasper wall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Let us learn to trust the LORD in each and every situation in life. Amen.

Sweet By And By

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

This is a rather melancholic hymn but speaks of the joys of heaven as well. It was composed in barely half an hour. The following paragraphs give an account of how this hymn came about.

Mr. Webster, like many musicians, was of an exceedingly nervous and sensitive nature, and subject to periods of depression, in which he looked up on the dark side of all things in life. I had learned his pecularities so well that on meeting him I could tell at a glance if he was melancholy, and had found that I could rouse him up by giving him a new song to work on.

He came in to my place of business [in Elkhorn, Wisconsin], walked down to the stove, and turned his back on me without speaking. I was at my desk. Turning to him, I said, “Webster, what is the matter now?” “It’s no matter,” he replied, “it will be all right by and by.” The idea of the hymn came me like a flash of sunlight, and I replied, “The Sweet By and By! Why would not that make a good hymn?” “Maybe it would,” he said indifferently. Turning to my desk I penned the words of the hymn as fast as I could write. I handed the words to Webster. As he read his eyes kin­dled, and stepping to the desk he began writing the notes. Taking his violin, he played the melody and then jotted down the notes of the chorus. It was not over thirty minutes from the time I took my pen to write the words before two friends with Webster and myself were singing the hymn.

— Sanford Fillmore Bennett (1836-1898)

Lyrics: Sanford E. Bennett
Music: Joseph P. Webster

There’s a land that is fairer than day,
And by faith we can see it afar;
For the Father waits over the way
To prepare us a dwelling place there.

In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore;
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

We shall sing on that beautiful shore
The melodious songs of the blessed;
And our spirits shall sorrow no more,
Not a sigh for the blessing of rest.

To our bountiful Father above,
We will offer our tribute of praise
For the glorious gift of His love
And the blessings that hallow our days.

The following image is the cover of the original Lyon & Healy sheet music, 1868. Courtesy: Wikipedia


In The New Jerusalem

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

The lyrics of this hymn were penned by Rev (Dr) Timothy Tow. This hymn speaks of heaven where Dr Timothy Tow now is, with the Lord Jesus forever. Amen!

Lyrics: Rev (Dr) Timothy Tow
Music: Bethel Hymns (John Sung)

We’re a pilgrim band now headed for the glory land of light.
We are travelling through the wilderness of night.
We’ve a home that’s far away beyond the heaven and the stars.
In the New Jerusalem.

Hal-le-lu-jah! fills the heaven
For the saints have all come home
To Je-ru-sa-lem! To Je-ru-sa-lem!
Joy-fully they shout Ho-sanna!
Come and crown Him King of Kings!
In the New……Je-ru-sa-lem!

In that land of glory where the saints are gathered round the Throne.
Not a sigh or tear, no sorrow nor a groan.
But an everlasting song of victory flows from every tongue.
In the New Jerusalem.

We are heading nearer nearer for the land that’s now in sight.
Will you join us to the City fair and bright?
Is your name forever written in the Lamb’s book of Life?
In the New Jerusalem.

Please read 
FEBC Weekly as well. Thanks.

Jesus, I Come

Monday, April 20th, 2009

This hymn goes out in loving memory of the late Rev (Dr) Timothy Tow, who has gone home to be with the Lord on 20 Apr 2009.

William Sleeper was a New England home missionary and pastor. He wrote the words and sent them to Stebbins who put them to music.

Lyrics: William T. Sleeper
Music: George C. Stebbins

Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy freedom, gladness, and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of my sickness, into Thy health,
Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy blessed will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward for aye on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the joy and light of Thy throne,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotional
Hebrews 2:14


“That through death He might destroy him that had the power of death.”
–Hebrews 2:14

O child of God, death hath lost its sting, because the devil’s power over it is destroyed. Then cease to fear dying. Ask grace from God the Holy Ghost, that by an intimate knowledge and a firm belief of thy Redeemer’s death, thou mayst be strengthened for that dread hour. Living near the cross of Calvary thou mayst think of death with pleasure, and welcome it when it comes with intense delight. It is sweet to die in the Lord: it is a covenant-blessing to sleep in Jesus. Death is no longer banishment, it is a return from exile, a going home to the many mansions where the loved ones already dwell. The distance between glorified spirits in heaven and militant saints on earth seems great; but it is not so. We are not far from home–a moment will bring us there. The sail is spread; the soul is launched upon the deep. How long will be its voyage? How many wearying winds must beat upon the sail ere it shall be reefed in the port of peace? How long shall that soul be tossed upon the waves before it comes to that sea which knows no storm? Listen to the answer, “Absent from the body, present with the Lord.” Yon ship has just departed, but it is already at its haven. It did but spread its sail and it was there. Like that ship of old, upon the Lake of Galilee, a storm had tossed it, but Jesus said, “Peace, be still,” and immediately it came to land. Think not that a long period intervenes between the instant of death and the eternity of glory. When the eyes close on earth they open in heaven. The horses of fire are not an instant on the road. Then, O child of God, what is there for thee to fear in death, seeing that through the death of thy Lord its curse and sting are destroyed? and now it is but a Jacob’s ladder whose foot is in the dark grave, but its top reaches to glory everlasting.

May we find comfort in God’s word.


Nothing But The Blood

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

This hymn is based on Heb 9:22 “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission” and was written in 1876. It is but one of many hymns that mention the precious blood of the Lord Jesus.

Lyrics and Music: Robert Lowry

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

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.

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Now by this I’ll overcome-
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
Now by this I’ll reach my home-
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Glory! Glory! This I sing-
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring-
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Thank God that we have the way of Salvation open for us through the precious blood of the Lord Jesus.

Also, take a listen to Blessed Assurance sung in Tamil:

The Cleansing Wave

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

This hymn was written by a mother and daughter team in 1867, New York. They were well to do in life. The Knapp Mansion had a fine collection of musical instruments including a large pipe organ. Phoebe Knapp was a close friend of Fanny Crosby, whom she wrote Blessed Assurance with.

Phoebe Knapp may have been one of the first hymnists to hear her own songs on a phonograph. In Feb 1909, Thomas Edison’s National Phonograph Company of Orange, New Jersey, release a wax cylinder recording of Blessed Assurance sung by the Edison Mixed Quartette. It is likely that Phoebe heard this original recording.

Lyrics: Phoebe W. Palmer
Music: Phoebe P. Knapp

Oh, now I see the cleansing wave!
The fountain deep and wide;
Jesus, my Lord, mighty to save,
Points to His wounded side.

The cleansing stream I see! I see!
I plunge, and oh, it cleanseth me!
Oh, praise the Lord! It cleanseth me!
It cleanseth me-yes, cleanseth me.

I rise to walk in Heav’n’s own light,
Above the world and sin,
With heart made pure and garments white,
And Christ enthroned within.

I see the new creation rise;
I hear the speaking blood.
It speaks! Polluted nature dies!
Sinks ‘neath the cleansing flood.

Amazing grace! ’tis Heav’n below
To feel the blood applied,
And Jesus, only Jesus know,
My Jesus crucified.

These days, thanks to the Internet and modern recording technology, people all  around the world can enjoy hymns, even through this podcast.

I Need Thee Every Hour

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

This is another popular hymn by Robert Lowry. Annie S. Hawk wrote the lyrics. She was a housewife with 3 children. She wrote it one bright June morning in 1872. The next Sunday, she handed the lyrics to Dr. Lowry who composed the tune and chorus. Later when Annie’s husband Charles Hawk died, she found that her own hymn was amongst her greatest comforts.

Annie wrote over 400 hymns during her 88 years of life. This one remains the most widely sung today.

Lyrics: Annie S. Hawks; Robery Lowry, Refrain
Music: Robert Lowry 

I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.

I need Thee, O I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.

I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.

I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.

I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me Thine indeed, Thou blessed Son.

O how we need the Lord Jesus to be near us.

It Is Well With My Soul

Monday, April 13th, 2009

This hymn was written after two major tragedies in Horatio’s life. In 1871, Horatio lost a great fortune during the great Chicago fire. He was a wealthy business man who invested heavily in real estate. In 1873, he lost his four daughters – Maggie, Tanetta, Annie and Bessie when the ship they were on sank after an accident. The French liner was the Ville du Havre, which collided with another iron sailing vessel. Only his wife survived, and sent back a telegram with the famous words – “Saved Alone”.

Let us reflect on the words of this famous hymn whenever we go through periods of trial in life.

Lyrics: Horatio G. Spafford
Music: Philip P. Bliss 

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

This hymn goes out by special request to Ruth. God Bless. Amen.

Christ Arose!

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Robert Lowry composed this hymn in 1874 during the Easter season. He became deeply impressed by the words of Lk24:6-8 – “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. And they remembered his words”. Within minutes, the words and music were formed at his pump organ. This hymn has become a favourite resurrection hymn.

Robert Lowry was a Baptist preacher who after preaching on Sunday mornings, composed hymns on Sunday night to relax.

Music and Lyrics: Robert Lowry

Low in the grave He lay,
Jesus my Savior,
Waiting the coming day,
Jesus my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Vainly they watch His bed,
Jesus my Savior;
Vainly they seal the dead,
Jesus my Lord!

Death cannot keep its Prey,
Jesus my Savior;
He tore the bars away,
Jesus my Lord!

A Blessed Easter to everyone.