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.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rounded

Cats (2)

Browsing through my photo collection, I saw quite a few rounded things, but this cat took first place today, not because it’s my favorite photo, but simply because it’s nearly Halloween and his chair happened to be decorated for the occasion. Below is the same cat curled up on a lovely bench and enjoying an afternoon nap in the sun. Even the bench features a fair amount of rounded shapes.

Cats (1)

Changing gears just a bit, I’d like to continue with the rounded theme, but show it with food rather than cats. Several years ago I made a cake for my daughter which featured a character from her favorite anime, Fruits Basket. I painted the girl onto the fondant-covered cake using food coloring. The birds, flowers, and leaves were made from fondant with a mold. I enjoyed the challenge, but not the cost, and have never again made such an expensive cake. But this one was fun.

Mary's birthday cake

Last year’s mincemeat pie, made at Thanksgiving, afforded me an opportunity to get creative with the top crust.

Food, Mincemeat pie 02

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The cat in the photos above is resting, with not a care in the world. Our God gives us that kind of peace too—when we ask for it, that is. Troubles will come, that is certain. But we can choose to worry, or we can choose to rest in the Lord.

Psalm 37:7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him: fret not because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.

I cannot look at these photos without thinking about Psalm 4:8.

Psalm 4:8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for You, LORD, only make me dwell in safety.

What is your sleep like? Are you able to drift right off, entrusting your cares to the God who loves you and cares for you? That’s what Peter meant, you know, when he said to cast your cares on the Lord.

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you.

God is not sitting in heaven, cold and distant, heartless and unconcerned with the affairs of men. Oh no! He cares about each and every one of us. He created us! Jesus Christ gave His life for us so that He could redeem us from sin and destruction. Of course He cares. And He alone has the strength and grace sufficient to sustain us in our cares. He bears our burdens with us, making them bearable.

Knowing I am not alone in my burdens makes it easy for me to sleep each night. How about you?

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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.

 

Lifted Up ~ Psalm 30

 

Skyline Drive 271

I will extol Thee, O LORD; for Thou hast lifted me up,
and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.
O LORD my God, I cried unto Thee,
and Thou hast healed me.
O LORD, Thou hast brought up my soul from the grave:
Thou hast kept me alive,
that I should not go down to the pit.
Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of His,
and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness.
For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favor is life:
weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.
LORD, by Thy favor Thou hast made my mountain to stand strong:
Thou didst hide Thy face, and I was troubled.
I cried to Thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication.
What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit?
Shall the dust praise Thee? Shall it declare Thy truth?
Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me:
LORD, be Thou my helper.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing:
Thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
To the end that my glory may sing praise to Thee, and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto Thee forever.

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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

The Voice of the Lord ~ Psalm 29

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Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty,
give unto the LORD glory and strength.
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name;
worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

The voice of the LORD is upon the waters:
the God of glory thundereth:
the LORD is upon many waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars;
yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.
He maketh them also to skip like a calf;
Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.
The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.
The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness;
the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve,
and discovereth the forests:
and in His temple doth everyone speak of His glory.
The LORD sitteth upon the flood;
yea, the LORD sitteth King forever.

The LORD will give strength unto His people;
the LORD will bless His people with peace.

Here in Florida we get a lot of thunderstorms. In fact, I heard the rumble of thunder every day last week, even though I did not necessarily always see the rain. And I hear the distant rumble of thunder even now as I write this.

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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