Sunday, May 2

A Hymn and a Sermon for Sunday Morning

He Hideth My Soul

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
A wonderful Savior to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
Where rivers of pleasure I see.

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life with the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
He taketh my burden away;
He holdeth me up, and I shall not be moved,
He giveth me strength as my day.

With numberless blessings each moment He crowns,
And filled with His fullness divine,
I sing in my rapture, oh, glory to God
For such a Redeemer as mine!

When clothed in His brightness, transported I rise
To meet Him in clouds of the sky,
His perfect salvation, His wonderful love
I'll shout with the millions on high.

This hymn, of course, is written by Fanny Crosby, who was probably the most productive hymn writer ever. Over 8000 hymns written averages out to around 100 hymns per year of her life! I thought of Fanny this week during the couple of days I could see only blurriness. Here's what Fanny said of her own blindness:
It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.

This is a woman whose attitude I can learn from!

Today's sermon one is by J. C. Ryle, and it's titled Prayer. Here are some of his thoughts about gaining contentment in whatever our circumstances through prayer:
VII. In the seventh place, "prayer is one of the best ways to acquire happiness and contentment."

We live in a world where sorrow abounds. This has always been its state since sin came into the world. There cannot be sin without sorrow. And till sin is driven out from the world it is vain for any one to suppose he can escape sorrow. Some, without doubt, have a larger cup of sorrow to drink than others. But few are to be found who live very long without sorrows or cares of one sort or another. Our bodies, our property, our families, our children, our relations, our friends, our neighbors, our worldly callings--each and all of these are fountains of care. Sicknesses, deaths, losses, disappointments, partings, separations, ingratitude, slander--all these are common things. We cannot get through life without them. Some day they will find us out. The greater are our affections, the deeper are our afflictions; and the more we love, the more we have to cry.

And what is the best way to acquire cheerfulness in such a world as this? How will we get though this valley of tears with the least pain? I know no better way than the habit of "taking everything to God in prayer".....

....The only way to be really happy, in such a world as this is to be ever casting all our cares on God. It is the attempt of carrying their own burdens which so often makes believers sad. If they will only tell their troubles to God He will enable them to bear them as easily as Samson did the gates of Gaza. If they are resolved to keep them to themselves they will find one day that the very grass hopper is a burden (Ecclesiastics 12:5).

There is a friend ever waiting, to help us, if we will only tell Him our sorrow--a friend who pitied the poor, and sick, and sorrowful, when He was on earth--a friend who knows the heart of a man, for He lived thirty-three years as a man among us--a friend who can weep with the weepers, for He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief--a friend who is able to help us, for there never was earthly pain He could not cure. That friend is Jesus Christ. The way to be happy is to be always opening our hearts to Him. Oh, that we were all like that poor Black Christian, who only answered, when threatened and punished, "I must tell the Lord."

Jesus can make those happy who trust Him and call on Him, whatever be their outward condition. He can give them peace of heart in a prison--contentment in the midst of poverty--comfort in the midst of bereavements--joy on the brink of the grave. There is a mighty fullness in Him for all His believing members--a fullness that is ready to be poured out on every one who will ask in prayer. Oh, that men would understand that happiness does not depend on outward circumstances, but on the state of the heart!

Prayer can lighten crosses for us no matter how heavy they are. It can bring down to our side One who will help us to bear them. Prayer can open a door for us when our way seems hedged up. It can bring down One who will say, "This is the way, walk in it." Prayer can let in a ray of hope, when all our earthly prospects seem darkened. It can bring down One who will say, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Prayer can obtain relief for us when those we love most are taken away, and the world feels empty. It can bring down One who can fill the gap in our hearts with Himself, and say to the waves within, "Peace: be still!" Oh, that men were not so much like Hagar in the wilderness, blind to the well of living waters close beside them! (Genesis 21:19).
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