Saturday, April 28, 2012

Be Not Dismayed

When you sit down and start speaking with people, so many of them have difficult stories to tell. Adversity visits each and every one of us from time to time.

Hudson Taylor is someone who comes to mind. He established China Inland Mission in the mid-1800s. Over his long career, he suffered ill health, survived two rebellions and several typhoons, endured the death of both of his wives and many of his children, and yet God took care of him and used him in a mighty way.
        Be not dismayed whate'er betide,   God will take care of you;   beneath his wings of love abide,   God will take care of you.  Refrain:  God will take care of you,   through every day, o'er all the way;   he will take care of you,   God will take care of you.  2. Through days of toil when heart doth fail,   God will take care of you;   when dangers fierce your path assail,   God will take care of you.  
Refrain:  God will take care of you,   through every day, o'er all the way;   he will take care of you,   God will take care of you.
Perhaps there is someone you know today who is faced with a difficult trial. Perhaps that someone is you. Do you feel like no one cares? Is anyone there for you? The answer is yes! There is!

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 3:16

The Israelites were facing a seemingly insurmountable problem - defeating the Canaanites. Yet God told them he would take care of them.

Much as we love our children, we don't take perfect care of them. There are times we fail. God never does. His loving eye never leaves us. We are forever under his watch-care. What a beautiful, comforting thought in the midst of the worst trial.

All you may need he will provide,   God will take care of you;   nothing you ask will be denied,   God will take care of you.  
Refrain: God will take care of you, through every day, o'er all the way; he will take care of you, God will take care of you. 4. No matter what may be the test, God will take care of you; lean, weary one, upon his breast, God will take care of you.
Refrain: God will take care of you, through every day, o'er all the way; he will take care of you, God will take care of you.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Story Behind God Will Take Care of You

This hymn was written in 1904 and has quite an interesting story. The Martins were guests at the Practical Bible Training School in Lestershire, New York. Mr. Martin was helping the principal put together a songbook.

One Sunday, Mr. Martin was supposed to go preach at a church some distance from the school. Mrs. Martin wasn't feeling well, and he thought about canceling and staying home to take care of her. Their nine year-old son piped up at this point. "Don't you think God will take care of her?"

With that, Mr. Martin went off to conduct the service. While he was gone, his wife, thinking about what their son had said, wrote the words to the hymn God Will Take Care of You. When he came home - relieved to find his wife much better - she gave the words to him. He sat down at the organ and within an hour composed the music.

Later that same evening, a couple of the teachers came by and they sang the hymn. Later in the week, it was sung at a school assembly and then added to the songbook.

We'll be hearing more about Civilla Martin as she wrote the words to another popular hymn - His Eye Is on the Sparrow.

Monday, April 16, 2012

God Will Take Care of You

This week is a hymn a remember my grandmother request we sing during the hymn sing at our Sunday evening service. It may have been her last visit to Wisconsin. It's special to me. So, this week I'm featuring God Will Take Care of You. Words by Civilla Martin and music by her husband Walter Stillman Martin.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Take My Life

Here is the second half of Ruth Babbel's piece on Take My Life and Let It Be and Frances Ridley Havergal. A big thank you to her for being my guest this week. You can find out more about Ruth and her work at her website.

If the text to “Take My Life” is autobiographical, then it seems [Frances Ridley Havergal] took the apostle Paul’s instruction to heart: “… I implore you by God’s mercy to offer your very selves to him: a living sacrifice…”(Romans 12:1, NEB). The words she wrote on that wintry day in 1874 form a prayer of consecration—a transaction I doubt she made lightly, and precious to God.

All six stanzas of this hymn begin with a tiny but mighty word: Take. “Take my life, and let it be/Consecrated, Lord, to Thee/Take my moments and my days/Let them flow in ceaseless praise….” In this act of surrender, her heart became the Savior’s throne. Her hands moved at the impulse, or under the influence, of His sacrificial, self-giving love. Her voice (she was a contralto soloist) sang for her King. And as for her will, her words, and her keen intellect—all that went on the altar, too.

“Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.” There’s no empty show of piety here.

Rather, this stanza speaks of the day she wrapped up nearly 50 pieces of jewelry and gave them away to the Church Missionary Society—a deed that made her strangely happy!

Between the lines, Havergal’s classic hymn shows us a woman so alive to the glory of the risen Christ that she held nothing back. As she offered Him everything, allowing Christ to freely live and move through her ordinary life, she modeled the meaning of consecration.

In the final stanza, she seems to seal the offering, alluding to the woman who anointed the feet of Jesus with fragrant oil (Luke 7:38):

“Take my love—my Lord, I pour

At Thy feet its treasure-store

Take myself, and I will be

Ever, only, all for Thee.”

Pell, William J. (Ed.). (1962). Frances Ridley Havergal’s Opened Treasures. Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers

Literary Heritage website:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Story Behind Take My Life and Let It Be

My friend, Ruth Babbel, has written a wonderful piece about Take My Life and Let It Be and the woman who wrote it, Frances Ridley Havergal. Today is the first part of her piece, about the woman God used to compose this hymn.

Frances Ridley Havergal—A Life Freely Offered
by Ruth Babbel

A.W. Tozer might have included her in his “army of fragrant saints.” Though her life was brief—she died of severe lung inflammation at age 42—the woman who penned the words to “Take My Life, And Let It Be” continues to speak through her hymns, poetry, and devotional writings.

Frances Ridley Havergal was a well-known hymn-writer by the time she reached her mid-30s. Eventually she had 71 hymn lyrics to her credit. Though she had no formal theological training apart from her diligent, daily study of the Scriptures, coupled with a strong prayer life, her words have a humble weightiness about them, often piercing the heart.

Havergal was born into an English clergyman’s family in Astley, Worcestershire, in the Christmas season of 1836. With a knack for languages, she studied Latin, French, German, Greek, and Hebrew. At the piano, she played Bach with skill and grace.

One of her most noteworthy qualities is that she filled her heart and mind to the brim with God’s Word. Perhaps this was what made her life not just fragrant, but fruitful (Psalm 1). Even in her youth she memorized vast portions of the Bible—from Isaiah to the Minor Prophets, from the psalms of David to the New Testament.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Take My Life and Let It Be

I am so pleased to have a guest blogger here this week. She was my locker-mate in 8th grade and we've connected again through Facebook. Later this week, I'll be sharing her insight into this hymn - one of my favorites. Until then, please enjoy this.

Friday, April 6, 2012

What Language Shall I Borrow?

The words of the Bible and of this stirring Good Friday hymn say all that needs to be said today. They will do the talking.
What thou, my Lord, has suffered 
was all for sinners' gain;
mine, mine was the transgression,
but thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
'Tis I deserve thy place;
look on me with thy favor,
vouchsafe to me thy grace.

Psalm 103:9-12:
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

What language shall I borrow 
to thank thee, dearest friend,
for this thy dying sorrow,
thy pity without end?
O make me thine forever;
and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
outlive my love for thee.

From Revelation 7:9-12:

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”

All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Story Behind O Sacred Head Now Wounded

The words to this most beautiful hymn were penned by Bernard of Clairvaux who lived from 1091-1153. Bernard founded the Cistercian order of monks in the early 12th century. The words come from his poem Salve Mundi Salutare.

The poem had seven sections, each focusing on a different part of Jesus' body: his feet, knees, hands, side, breast, heart and head. Paul Gerhardt, a German hymn writer from the 1600s translated the last section of the seven from Latin into German. Several men have been credited for the translation into English.

The music comes from Hans Leo Hassler, who wrote it for a funeral. The hymn appears in a 1656 hymnal. John Sebastian Bach used the tune 5 times throughout St. Matthew's Passion. Apparently, he loved the tune, because he also used it in 5 cantatas and in his Christmas Oratorio.

Monday, April 2, 2012

O Sacred Head Now Wounded

Every time I hear or sing this hymn, I'm so deeply moved by it's beauty and the thought-provoking lyrics that remind me of my Savior's suffering and his unending mercy.