Grace Greater Than Our Sin

skyline-drive-in-autumn

by Julia H. Johnston (1911)

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt,
Yonder on Calvary’s mount out-poured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.

Refrain:
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide,
What can avail to wash it away!
Look! there is flowing a crimson tide;
Whiter than snow you may be today. [Refrain]

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe;
You that are longing to see his face,
Will you this moment his grace receive? [Refrain] Continue reading

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Be Thou My Vision

 

 

4x6 04 Cascade 04translated by Mary E. Byrne
versified by Eleanor H. Hull

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Nought be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
Thou ever with me, and I with Thee, Lord;
Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my Breastplate, my Sword for the fight;
Thou my whole Armor, be Thou my true Might;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, be Thou my strong Tow’r,
Raise me to heaven, great Pow’r of my pow’r.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise;
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and Thou only first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heav’n’s Sun,
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

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Mary Elizabeth Byrne (1880-1931) was born in Ireland. She translated this 8th-Century Gaelic poem in 1905 while working as a researcher and writer for the Board of Intermediate Education in Dublin. Years later, Eleanor Hull, a writer of English history and literature, put Ms. Byrne’s prose translation into verse form and included it in her book of poems, The Poem Book of the Gael. The melody is a traditional Irish tune.

Are you as thankful as I am for the work that these women did to make this beautiful hymn accessible to us? It has also been translated into other languages as well as English. The truths taught about our great God in these few lines are timeless.

The older I get, the more I realize the Christ is all. He literally fills more and more of my vision, just as the songwriter spoke of. This is not something that happens automatically, but is a consequence of daily walking with Him, getting to know Him, letting Him change me and conform me into His image. Every morning I must die to self so that I may live for Him. I’m not talking about some strange ritual or morbid habit, but just a denying of my own stubborn will. Am I always successful? No. But God is always forgiving. When I fall, He picks me up, brushes the dirt off my knees, and helps me start again.

Christ is all. He is sufficient for everything, for every need in every situation. Period.

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.

Credits:

Information from hymnary.org

Osbeck, Kenneth W. Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions. Kregel Publications: Grand Rapids, 1990. p. 90.

Photo taken at Narrows Falls, Sapphire Valley, North Carolina, 2013

 

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

Flowers (23)

by E. A. Hoffman (1887)

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.

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:
Leaning, leaning,
Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

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Elisha Albright Hoffman (1839-1929) was an ordained minister who served many years in various churches and chapels in the Cleveland, Ohio area. He also edited fifty hymnals and wrote more than 2,000 gospel songs in his lifetime, including “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.”

The story behind this song is a rather interesting one, and it actually starts with Anthony Showalter, the composer. He was well known for his singing schools in local churches in Georgia, and he was fond of keeping in touch with his students as the years passed. One particular evening he received two letters from former students, both of whom had recently lost their wives. Mr. Showalter immediately sat down and searched for a verse of Scripture to send to comfort them. He chose Deuteronomy 33:27, “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…” As he meditated on the verse, the following words came to mind:

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Mr. Showalter sent his replies to each of his former students, then he took out an additional piece of paper and wrote a letter to his hymnwriter friend Elisha Hoffman, telling him of the chorus he had just come up with, but saying that he did not have the stanzas to go along with it. Mr. Hoffman promptly wrote three stanzas and sent them back to Mr. Showalter, who then supplied the music, and a new hymn of comfort was born.

God, the eternal God, is our support at all times, especially when we are sinking into deep trouble. There are seasons when we sink quite low…. Dear child of God, even when you are at your lowest, underneath are the everlasting arms. —Charles Spurgeon

Credits:
Information from hymnary.org

Morgan, Robert J. Then Sings My Soul: 150 of the World’s Greatest Hymn Stories. Thomas Nelson: Nashville, 2003. pp. 218-219.

Photo taken in Brevard, North Carolina, 2017

 

Weeping Will Not Save Me

Weeping

by Robert Lowry

Weeping will not save me—
Though my face were bathed in tears,
That could not allay my fears,
Could not wash the sins of years—
Weeping will not save me.

Refrain:
Jesus wept and died for me;
Jesus suffered on the tree;
Jesus waits to make me free,
He alone can save me.

Working will not save me—
Purest deeds that I can do,
Holiest thoughts and feelings too,
Cannot form my soul anew—
Working will not save me.

Waiting will not save me—
Helpless, guilty, lost I lie
In my ear is mercy’s cry;
If I wail, I can but die—
Waiting will not save me.

Faith in Christ will save me—
Let me trust thy weeping Son,
Trust the work that He has done;
To his arms, Lord, help me run—
Faith in Christ will save me.


This song came to my attention while I was preparing my article about “Nothing but the Blood.” The song was listed among Robert Lowry’s most popular hymns, but I had never heard of it. Even so, the title intrigued me enough to want to look it up and learn more. After reading it, I can see why it was a popular hymn. The message of salvation is crystal clear, and the words are very singable.

You can read Robert Lowry’s biography here, and below is an instrumental recording of the tune with the lyrics subbed on the video, just in case you’re curious enough to want to know how the song was sung.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay