Holy, Holy, Holy

 

1833 SR 92

lyrics by Reginald Heber (1826)
music by John B. Dykes (pub. 1861)

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in pow’r, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

❧      ❧      ❧

All this month, in honor of Thanksgiving, we will be featuring songs and hymns that give praise to God. This first one, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” is a great place to start. All this month, in honor of Thanksgiving, we will be featuring songs and hymns that give praise to God. This first one, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” is a great place to start.

Reginald Heber studied poetry at Oxford University and became good friends with Sir Walter Scott. After graduation, he returned to his birthplace, the English village of Hodnet, and assumed the role of vicar in succession to his father. His dream was to publish a collection of high-quality hymns corresponding to the church calendar to be sung in liturgical churches, but the Bishop of London rejected the idea. Undaunted, Reginald Heber wrote fifty-seven hymns during his time as vicar at Hodnet and used them in the worship of his own small congregation. In 1822, he was appointed to oversee the Church of England’s ministries in India. The hymns were set aside, and Heber devoted the remainder of his life to missionary work. After his death in 1826, Heber’s wife found the manuscripts to the hymns and had them published.

The inspiration for this particular hymn came from Revelation 4:8-11, which says,

And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” And when those beasts give glory and honor and thanks to Him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.”

God alone is worthy of our praise and worship. The angels in heaven worship God, but not just the angels. All those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb will worship Him in heaven one day, but let’s not wait until then. Let’s give Him glory today!

Sources:

hymnary.org

timelesstruths.org

Morgan, Robert J. Then Sings My Soul: 150 of the World’s Greatest Hymn Stories. Thomas Nelson: Nashville, 2003. pp. 98-99.

Photo taken near Skyline Drive, Virginia, 2014.

 

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Standing on the Promises

couple-mountain-overlook

by R. Kelso Carter

Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
Thro’ eternal ages let his praises ring,
Glory in the highest I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God

CHORUS:
Standing, standing,
Standing on the promises of God my Savior,
Standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,
Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call,
Resting in my Savior as my all in all,
Standing on the promises of God.

❧      ❧      ❧

Russell Kelso Carter was born in 1849 to godly Christian parents and received Christ as Savior at the age of fifteen. However, as is the case with so many young people, Carter lived for the Lord in his own strength, desiring to enjoy the benefits of salvation without completely selling out for Christ. As a result, spiritually he was up and down quite a lot during these years. He had been athletic in his youth, but in the summer of his thirtieth year, he developed a heart condition that the doctors could not cure. He became weaker and weaker despite medical treatment and even the therapy of life as a rancher. Finally he became so weak that he thought death might be imminent.

Carter had heard of the prayer of faith that heals the sick, but he felt guilty asking God to heal him when he did not intend to serve Him whole-heartedly. His condition worsened still. Finally, Carter surrendered to the Lord, kneeling in his mother’s room in Baltimore. He says, “A quietness came over me and I found the Bible wonderfully open and marvelously satisfying, as it had never been before.” He asked a Boston preacher to anoint him with oil according to the teaching of the Bible, and in three days, he returned “walking by faith, and not by feeling,” resumed his college work that fall.

Carter lived 49 more years after that, and the Lord used him in many and varied ways: as a Methodist minister, professor, textbook publisher, and also as a practicing physician. He wrote several hymns in addition to “Standing on the Promises,” and he assisted in compiling a hymnal in 1891 entitled Hymns for the Christian Life for the Christian Missionary Alliance.

The phrase “fear not” appears in the Bible 365 times, enough for every day of the year! We can—and should—stand on the promises of God every single day of our lives. When we stand on our own strength, as Mr. Carter did in his early years, we will inevitably fall. But when we stand on the strength of the Lord, we cannot fall because they cannot fail.

1 Kings 8:56  Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto His people Israel, according to all that He promised: there hath not failed one word of all His good promise….

1 Corinthians 10:12  Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

Sources:

Morgan, Robert J. Then Sings My Soul: 150 of the World’s Greatest Hymn Stories. Thomas Nelson: Nashville, 2003. pp. 214-215.

Osbeck, Kenneth W. Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions. Kregel Publications: Grand Rapids, 1990. p. 85.

Photo taken on Skyline Drive, Virginia, 2014.

 

The Solid Rock

standing-on-the-solid-rockby Edward Mote

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

CHORUS:
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest in His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support in the ‘whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

❧      ❧      ❧

Deuteronomy 32:4  He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.

I memorized this verse when I was in grade school, my children memorized it in home school, and I hope you will memorize it as well. You will certainly see it often enough, if you keep reading my posts, for I use it almost as often as I talk about rocks. For some reason this verse never left me after I first learned it in school. Perhaps it’s because the truth is stated so dogmatically, so assuredly, so emphatically that I cannot help but embrace it, especially when so much of life seems so uncertain.

Yes, dear reader, friends and family members will let you down, money will fail you, health will not last, nor can religion save you. Only faith in Christ has any merit, for as the songwriter said, all other ground is sinking sand. But when you place your faith in Jesus Christ, you have every assurance that He will keep you safe and secure.

Many of us have trusted Jesus for salvation, but the day-to-day life is another matter altogether. When the storms of life send the waves crashing around you, what do you need to make you feel secure? Consider the next three verses….

Psalm 27:1  The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 18:2  The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Hebrews 6:19  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast….

In the midst of my storm, Jesus Christ is the light shining out into the darkness, He is the lighthouse from which I see the light, He is the rock on which the lighthouse stands, and He is the anchor that holds onto the rock. In other words, Jesus Christ is all I need.

Are you standing on the solid rock of Jesus Christ?

℘      ℘      ℘

Credits:

Information from hymnary.org and TimelessTruths.org

Photo taken at Stone Mountain, North Carolina, 2008.

 

Neurotherapy: A Cure for Bipolar?

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

This is the second half of my Bipolar story. For the first half, you will want to read The God in the Valley: A Bipolar Story. Since I am not a psychologist, or in any way a professional in this field, I’m going to draw on outside sources for my article and let you see some videos and interviews so that you will know that this is not just my opinion.

To begin, what is neurofeedback (also called biofeedback)? Watch this brief yet informative video to help you understand how neurofeedback works.

Going back to my own testimony, I was under the care of a psychiatrist and being treated with medicine for my bipolar symptoms. The mood swings were more or less under control, but I did not like the stigma of being under the care of a psychiatrist, nor did I like being dependent upon daily medications. If I missed a single dose, my family noticed because it showed up in my mood. But the worst part was that over time the medicine lost its efficacy, and my doctor and I would need to increase the dose or find something else in order to keep getting the desired result.

Then a dear friend of mine, who is also like a father to me, suggested I try neurotherapy. He knew of a therapist with a private practice nearby. The two of them had gone through the Naval Academy together. I had never heard of neurotherapy before, but on the recommendation of my friend I decided to give it a try. I called and made an appointment with Dr. Lanier Fly of Fly Family Therapy and drove 30 miles to his clinic. Believe me, it was worth every mile! In our interview he asked about my symptoms and background, and he said he could help me. Then Dr. Fly explained what I could expect from each session. There would be 30 minutes of talk therapy followed by 30 minutes of biofeedback. And more good news: he accepted my insurance. I agreed to the terms and started the treatment with two sessions per week.

Dr. Susan Othmer in the video above explained the biofeedback process quite well, but the actual procedure at Dr. Fly’s office was a little different, so I’ll tell you what we did. They put the electrodes on my head as explained in the video, but instead of watching a video game, I watched a movie of my choosing—well, a 30-minute segment of that movie, since the session only lasted 30 minutes. I could generally watch the entire movie in three sessions.

If my brain functioned as it should, the movie played normally. But if things weren’t working properly inside my head, then certain negative reactions would occur on the screen, depending on the setting that had been chosen at the beginning of the session. Usually for me it was a black curtain that would come over the picture. Also, muscular stress—such as laughter, yawning, or intense crying—would cause the picture and sound to fade, and I discovered that I could manipulate this to some degree. The blackout feature, however, was totally beyond my control to manipulate, but was all my brain’s doing. I could not consciously do anything to open the black curtain when it closed. My brain had to do that on its own. And eventually it learned. It’s amazing what the brain can learn.

Incidentally, something else I learned at these sessions was how to stop watching a movie partway through. One problem I had was that I was terribly sleep-deprived, but I would binge-watch my favorite movies even when I desperately needed sleep. Dr. Fly was elated the day I told him that the night before, when I got tired, I turned off the movie I was watching and went to bed. He told me that my brain needs sleep even more than my body does. During REM sleep our brains process thoughts, throwing out the trash and filing away the important information for easy recall later. When we don’t allow ourselves to get proper sleep, then our brains cannot function as they were intended. Ever since that day—with a few rare exceptions—I have made good sleep a priority.

After four months I was able to begin tapering off my medication–under the supervision of my medical doctor. Within six months of starting the neurotherapy I was completely off the bipolar medication, and I have never had to take it again! We also cut my biofeedback sessions back to once a week, then every other week, then once per month. All told, I went there for a little over a year, but about half of that was maintenance.

 

Is neurotherapy, or biofeedback, a cure for Bipolar Disorder? According to the experts, no, it is not. But is it an effective treatment that in many cases eliminates the need for medication because it retrains the brain in proper function. I like to think of it as remission. I have been off mood stabilizers and anti-depressants for six years and counting. Last year I actually passed a medical examination that qualified me for life insurance. That was huge!

There may be one more question on some of your minds: “Can I retrain my brain without biofeedback?” The misfiring is on the cellular level, and I’m inclined to think we might need some help with that. After all, God gave the doctors wisdom and knowledge. He has allowed us to understand how the brain works so that we can take measures to correct it when it is not functioning as it ought. God has made biofeedback possible, and it is certainly no sin to make use of this tool for healing and therapy.

However, biofeedback is expensive, and it is not available everywhere. What hope is there for those for whom neurotherapy is not an option? Again I ask, can I retrain my brain without biofeedback? I’d like to say yes, from a biblical standpoint. Biofeedback is all about teaching the brain to control its behavior. With God all things are possible, and God tells us to exercise self-control. He will not tell us to do something without also enabling us to do it.

2 Peter 1:3-8 According as His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who has called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Did you get that? According to God’s divine power, He has already given given us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Christ. The moment you become a child of God, everything you need to live a successful Christian life is given to you. You will not know how to use all the tools in the toolbox just yet, but they are there just the same. That means the more I study God’s Word and come to know Him, the better equipped I will be to manage my mood swings and every other part of my life.

But keep reading in the passage above. God has given us exceedingly great and precious promises. He has allowed us to be partakers of His divine nature. What does that mean? God desires to make you and me more and more like Him. When Satan told Eve in the Garden of Eden that she would be like God, he was distorting the truth and appealing to her pride. But God genuinely does desire for us to take on His characteristics, and right here He explains that. This passage is not for the unbelievers, but for those who have placed our faith in Christ for salvation. We are to add certain things to our faith as a natural product of maturity: virtue (courage), knowledge (of God and His will), temperance (self-control), patience (cheerful endurance), godliness (obedience), brotherly kindness (love for Christians), and charity (love for all mankind). These characteristics are evidence of an abundant life in Christ. It’s hard to be emotionally unstable while living abundantly with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity.

Perhaps if I had been more mature in my relationship with the Lord, I would not have struggled so much with manic-depression. I don’t know. And again, I’m not a professional. I’m telling you what I tried and what worked for me, and I am glad to have received the neurotherapy. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. My battle with Bipolar is over. I do not give science the credit for my healing/remission. All that glory belongs to God alone. As I said, He opened the eyes of the scientists whose studies have brought us this treatment in the first place, He allowed friends’ paths to cross so that I would learn that such a treatment exists, and He provided the funds necessary for me to receive it.

Neurotherapy is better than medication, but best of all is having a personal relationship with the God who created your brain and loves you far more than you can imagine. If you want to know more about biofeedback, I encourage you to search the Internet because I don’t know the answers. But if you want to know more about God, you may send me a message, and I will be very happy to tell you more.

 

Credits:
“Neurofeedback for Depression” from About Neurofeedback. Published on YouTube April 1, 2015

“What Is Neurofeedback?” EEG INFO Videos” from Kurt Othmer. Published on YouTube April 8, 2007

“Neurofeedback: Bipolar Disorder” from Doctor Clarity. Published on YouTube July 29, 2010

“Dr. Carlton personal story with bipolar disorder and neurofeedback” from Carlton Neurofeedback Center. Published on July 14, 2016

The God in the Valley: A Bipolar Story

 

For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley;
When things go wrong, He’ll make them right.
And the God of the good times is still God in the bad times;
The God of the day is still God in the night.

Tracy Dartt¹

1459 SD 072

This morning as I sat down to write my story for you, I first opened my Bible to have coffee with my Lord. I call this my Be-Still-and-Know Time, based on Psalm 46:10, and rarely do I start the day without it. At present I’m reading through the psalms again, and this morning I’m at Psalm 71. As I read, the Holy Spirit said to me, “Angela, this is what I’ve done for you. Tell them.” And I will. But first, you need a glimpse of the miry clay from which He lifted my feet.

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The Lifter Up of My Head ~ Psalm 3

Psalm 3

LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. Many there be who say of my soul, “There is no help for him in God.” Selah.
But You, O LORD, are a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of my head.

I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and He heard me out of His holy hill. Selah.
I laid me down and slept; I awakened; for the LORD sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people that have set themselves against me round about. Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for You have smitten all my enemies upon the cheek bone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongs unto the LORD: Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah.

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