Antioch Hymn of the Month

Join us this year as we celebrate a different hymn each month.

 

 

 

This month’s hymn is the classic “Blessed Assurance.” Feel free to listen along or download the live recording.  Take some time to meditate on the verses and sing it as a new song. Having a rough day? A good dose of this hymn will help out.

 

 

 

Blessed Assurance

by Robbie Willett | Hymn of the Month

 

Behind the Hymn: “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”

by Robbie Willett

Some Background:

 

 

Some Thoughts:

 

 

 

 

Lyrics:

Blessèd assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Refrain

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Refrain

Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

Refrain

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

by Robbie Willett | Hymn of the Month

 

Behind the Hymn: “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”

by Robbie Willett

Some Background:

Robert Robinson didn’t have the religious upbringing that you might expect. His Father died when he was very young and his mother sent him away to school in London where he became an avid drinker and involved in gangs. One night it is said that after drinking, him and some of his friends went and saw a fortune teller, laughing as she tried to tell there fortunes. After leaving, something didn’t sit quite right with Robert, and feeling guilty urged his friends to go to a church service where George Whitefield was preaching. The message, Robert felt, was being preached directly to him. The words of the preacher haunted him for three years until he gave his life to Christ and joined the ministry. While serving at a church in Norfolk, he wrote a hymn for a message he would be preaching on Pentecost Sunday. This hymn is the one we will be listening to this month, “Come thou Fount of Every Blessing.”

 

Some Thoughts:

This is probably one of my favorite hymns. I feel like anything I write will not do it justice, so I just pray that the Spirit of God fill you and enable you to praise Him and exalt Him through this song and throughout your life.

 

 

 

Lyrics:


Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

 

All Creatures of Our God and King

by Robbie Willett | Hymn of the Month

Behind the Hymn: “All Creatures of Our God and King”

by Robbie Willett

Some Background:

This hymn is said to have been written by St. Francis of Assisi. One thing that Francis loved was nature. I mean, he renounced his wealth and traveled the countryside preaching the gospel after being released as a prisoner of war, so he had a lot of time to spend with nature. Many stories about Francis have a focus on his interaction with nature and animals. It is said that one time on a hike he saw a flock of birds and when they didn’t fly away he decided to start preaching to them. Telling them of their creator, and how the birds should praise Him for all He has done for them. It is said that the flock then flew away rejoicing. That perspective is shown in his hymn “Song of Brother Sun,” which in 1919 was turned into the hymn we know today as “All Creatures of Our God and King” by William Draper.

 

Some Thoughts:

When I hear this song there are really two verses that come to mind.

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! 
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Luke 19:37-40

In all the verses of this song we see an exhortation to Praise our Creator, God. It puts a realization that Through Christ ALL things were created and He hold ALL things together. Without Him there is nothing. To understand that if we stopped praising Him even the rocks would cry out because He is deserving of all praise and honor and glory forever. The other verse that comes to mind when I hear this hymn is:

“For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. ” Romans 8:19

The creation longs to Praise the Father and to see His children step into what He has called them to.  I absolutely love this hymn, it is a beautiful reminder of the magnificence of God’s creation and the responsibility we have to praise Him.

 

 

Lyrics:

All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!

Refrain

O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong
Ye clouds that sail in Heaven along,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice,
Ye lights of evening, find a voice!

Refrain

 

And all ye men of tender heart,
Forgiving others, take your part,
O sing ye! Alleluia!
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
Praise God and on Him cast your care!

Refrain

 

Let all things their Creator bless,
And worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
And praise the Spirit, Three in One!

Refrain

 

Be Thou My Vision

by Robbie Willett | Hymn of the Month

 

Behind the Hymn: “Be Thou My Vision”

by Robbie Willett

Some Background:

Who was Saint Patrick? It may come as a surprise, but Saint Patrick was actually not Irish. He was born in 373 A.D., and raised in Scotland. When he was about 16 a group of pirates descended upon his town and  pillaged, torched and took away young Patrick as a slave to Ireland. It was on this ship that Saint Patrick gave his life to Jesus. It was a difficult life in Ireland but he eventually was able to escape and return home. However, God had bigger plans for Patrick. It wasn’t long after that Patrick had a dream of an Irishmen pleading with him to come and evangelize to Ireland. Though his family begged him to stay, he could not deny God’s calling and returned to where he once was a slave to preach freedom in Christ Jesus, planting about 200 churches and baptizing over 10,000. The hymn, Be Thou My Vision, was originally an old Irish poem written sometime in the 8th century. It wasn’t until 1905 that Mary Elizabeth Bryne, translated the poem into english and Eleanor Hull put the poem to song, to give us the hymn we know today as “Be Thou My Vision.”

 

Some Thoughts:

I will let the words of this hymn speak for themselves this time.

Lyrics:

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught 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;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

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 victorywon,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

 

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

by Robbie Willett | Hymn of the Month

Behind the Hymn: “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”

by Robbie Willett

Some Background:

The hymn for the month for April was written by a man named Isaac Watts. Born in Southampton England in 1674, and named after his father, he grew up as a nonconformist Christian. This just meant that he did not “conform” to the governance and rule of the Anglican Church(i.e. Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, etc..) . In fact his father was imprisoned twice for his views. Isaac had a gift for poetry and rhyme from a young age and is said to have talked back to his teachers with short witty verses. Seeing his gifting he was offered a University education. He could not go to Oxford or Cambridge because he was not part of the Anglican Church, and refused to give up his “nonconformist” views. So Isaac went to University in Stoke Newington. By the time he attended University he had already learned Latin, Greek and Hebrew and had already written many poems and verses. Isaac left the Academy at 20 years of age and traveled home for a couple years. During this time was when he wrote most of his hymns. He later became a Pastor and private tutor. He not only wrote hymns but was also a theologian and logician and wrote many essays and papers. Watts died in 1748 in Stoke Newington.

Some of the other hymns Isaac wrote you also may of heard of. They include:

Joy to the World

Alas! and did my Saviour bleed

This is the day the Lord has made

 

Some Thoughts:

To be honest, I had a hard time deciding a hymn for this month. I was stuck between a couple hymns that I love, and could not make a decision. In talking it over with Brad, he brought up the hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” which wasn’t one of my original choices, not because I do not like the hymn, but I had not thought about it. Also, to be honest, my brain automatically goes to the Chris Tomlin version of the song. Which makes it hard for me to think of it as a hymn. However, in thinking about the song more, and reading through the verses, I could not think of a better hymn to have for the Easter season that we are in.

In reading through this hymn it forced me to reflect on the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice.

Though we have such great joy through Christ and his work of redemption, and His unfailing love toward us. We cannot forget that this gain came at the greatest cost. It cost Christ everything. It was the only time in all eternity in which the Father was separated from the Son. He took on flesh and left His glory and chose to sacrifice His life. It was not taken from Him, but he gave it up, freely. Knowing full well what He would endure.

The first verse:

‘When I survey the wondrous cross, on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.’

The definition of wondrous is “inspiring a feeling of wonder” and the definition of wonder is “a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.”  I think Isaac Watts did a good job in using the word  ‘wondrous’ in describing the cross.  Not the physical cross, but rather the act of Jesus giving his life on the cross. Such a beautiful act of love, something so inexplicable. So unexpected, and unfamiliar that a King would die in the place of his subjects. Something that demands our admiration. Such a beautiful display of love that all things I count as loss for the sake of knowing Christ. That no earthly treasure or position could even compare to the surpassing value of knowing Him; as Paul describes in Phillipians 3:8.  To then humbly come before Him, realizing that to have Christ is to have everything.

The second verse:

‘See from His head, His hands, His feet. Sorrow and love flowed, mingled down. Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown.’

This verse describes both the horrific nature of the cross with the beauty of Christ’s work on it. How painful and horrible it was for Christ to have to endure such a death, being nailed to a piece of wood, naked, and put up on display for all to see and left to die a slow and agonizing death. How even more horrible to be separated from the Father. Yet what a beautiful act of love. I think the last two lines of this verse capture it best. “Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown.”

Yes, we do know how the story ended. We know Christ rose from the dead three days later and the world would never be the same. That He sits at the right hand of the Father, recieving glory and honor and praise forevermore, but we cannot forget that in order to defeat death Christ had to die… Christ had to die and endure all the pain of death by crucifixion and separation from the Father, and this sacrifice was not easy. It says that Jesus was praying so fervently in the garden of Gethsemane, before he was handed over, that his sweat was like blood…

Yet God so loved the world that He gave His only Son… God refused to leave us in the lowly state we were in. He freed us from the kingdom of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son that He loves. He redeemed us to himself.

Such a wondrous act of love was Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. How deserving of praise He is for all eternity.

The third verse:

 ‘Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.’

That even if the whole realm of nature were mine. If I had all things in this world to give. It would be an offering far to small, because such a sacrifice and such an act of love demands so much more. It demands my soul, my life, and my all.

 

 

Lyrics:

When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.

 

See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown?

 

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were a present far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.

Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus

by Robbie Willett | Hymn of the Month

Behind the Hymn: “Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus”
by Robbie Willett

Some Background:

Louisa M. R. Stead was born around 1850 in Dover, England. She became a Christian at a young age and felt the calling to become a missionary soon after. She moved to the United States in her early 20’s and there felt even more deeply the call of the Lord to the mission field when she attended a revival meeting in Urbana, Ohio. She made plans to serve in China, but due to frail health conditions was unable to travel. She soon after married Mr. Stead, and gave birth to a baby girl, Lily. When the young girl was 4 years old, the family decided to go on a picnic down by the coast of Long Island. That picnic would change their lives forever. It is said that during the picnic, Mr. Stead heard a young boy drowning in the water. In his attempt to save him, both he and the boy drowned in front of Louisa and their daughter, Lily. Soon after this event is when it is believed that Louisa penned to words to ‘Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus.’

Later in life, God provided for her an opportunity to serve in Rhodesia, and South Africa. She remarried and lived her life on the mission field until she died in 1917.

Some Thoughts:

Understanding the circumstances under which this hymn was written brings a much deeper meaning  to words, and a beautiful example of a life in complete trust and faith in Jesus. You can imagine how difficult a life it was to be a widow with a young daughter in the time that she lived, and the uncertainty of the future she faced. Yet, in the midst of these uncertainties, she was able to find peace in trusting Jesus.

It is often so easy for us to “trust” God when our external circumstances are in our favor. It is “easy” to trust God when we have that steady job, and that home we’ve always wanted. When we are healthy and everything seems to be going our way. But how often, when circumstances are not in our favor, do we run to other things to hold on to, and to place our trust in, rather than Jesus. We have to be honest with ourselves, and ask, do I trust God? Or do I trust my savings account? Or my resume? Or my personal skills? Or my friends and family? The thing is, people, including yourself, and tangible objects like money can always fail you, but God never will. Now I am not saying that you should not save money, and be wise with your finances, or that you should not trust your friends and family. What I am saying is that you should first put your trust in Jesus, who can, and does, immeasurably provide you with all you need.

James writes, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Also, Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

We need to come to the realization that God is our ultimate provider and through Him we find all that we need. You will never regret trusting in God, you can only regret not trusting in God.

The words of this hymn paint a beautiful picture of trusting in Jesus. We can spend some time looking at the verses and their invitation to put your trust in Jesus, but let us first look at the Chorus of this hymn…

Chorus: “Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O for grace to trust Him more!”

The beauty of this Chorus is how simple it is. The simple declaration of “Jesus, Jesus, How I trust Him.” and talking of how one has proved him over and over. My favorite part of the chorus is the last line, “O for grace, to trust him more.” In the first part of the Chorus Louisa writes of her trust in Jesus and how over and over again He has proved Himself to be trustworthy, yet at the end she has the simple pray that she should trust Him more.
That should be a constant prayer of ours. That we would constantly receive grace to trust Jesus more. The thing is, you can never put enough trust in Jesus, we should always strive to Trust Him more.

 

Verse 1:’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, And to take Him at His Word; Just to rest upon His promise, And to know, “Thus says the Lord!”

I love that this hymn starts with a simple invitation to Trust in Jesus. To just “take Him at his word.” The beauty of knowing that God will never fail you. The promise that when God says something He will follow through. Seeing the power that are in the words “Thus says the Lord.” The fact that even though we may fail, God will not.

Verse 2: “O how sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to trust His cleansing blood; And in simple faith to plunge me ’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!”

The progression of the hymn now moves to, what I believe, is a declaration of why we should Trust in Jesus. Kind of establishing a credibility. Stating what He has already done for us, in providing us with the gift of salvation through the cleansing of His blood. That we can trust Jesus with our salvation.

Verse 3: “Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus, Just from sin and self to cease; Just from Jesus simply taking Life and rest, and joy and peace.”

Now that we have been invited to trust in Jesus, and established a foundation of trust, through what He has done in saving us. We now move to trusting Jesus with our whole lives. To put aside our sin that blinds us, and our trust in our own selves. To “simply” trust Jesus in all things. In Him finding our life, rest, joy and peace.

Verse 4:” I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee, Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend; And I know that Thou art with me, Wilt be with me to the end.”

The last verse, is Louisa’s statement of her own trust in Jesus. How she is “so glad” she has put her trust in Him. She knows that He will never leave or forsake her and has found all she needs through Him, Jesus, her Savior and her Friend.

 

Should we not do the same, and find all we need by simply Trusting in Jesus.

 

 

 

Lyrics:

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,

And to take Him at His Word;

Just to rest upon His promise, And to know, “Thus says the Lord!”

 

Refrain

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!

How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er

Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!

O for grace to trust Him more!

O how sweet to trust in Jesus,

Just to trust His cleansing blood;

And in simple faith to plunge me ’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

 

Refrain

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,

Just from sin and self to cease;

Just from Jesus simply taking Life and rest, and joy and peace.

 

Refrain

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,

Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;

And I know that Thou art with me, Wilt be with me to the end.

 

Refrain

How Great Thou Art

by Robbie Willett | Hymn of the Month

Behind the Hymn: “How Great Thou Art”
by Robbie Willett

Some Background:

Carl Boberg was a Swedish writer and poet. He wrote over 60 poems, hymns and gospel songs, but the one he is probably most known for is his poem “O Store Gud,” (O Great God), which later inspired the writing of the hymn “How Great Thou Art” by Stuart Hine. Hine was an English missionary in Russia when he heard the poem for the first time; he was so moved by the words that he wrote the incredible hymn we sing today. While in Russia, he was in awe of the great beauty of the Carpathian Mountain Range and the first verse was put on paper as he was caught in a thunder storm in a Carpathian village. Another verse, while witnessing many of the mountain dwellers coming to Christ. Upon returning to Great Britian he finished writing the last verse of the song.

Some Thoughts:

Growing up in a Baptist church I knew the hymn, “How Great Thou Art,” from a very young age, having sung it on multiple occasions as part of the children’s choir at church. It was one of the first hymns that came to my mind when Brad proposed the idea of doing a “Hymn of the Month.”

I always find it funny how God can take something so familiar and make it fresh and new, revealing Himself in new ways through it. This is what happened with me in the course of this last month in going through this hymn. I had the opportunity to meditate on the verses and see God’s beauty and attributes through the words of this song.

Verse 1: In the first verse we see a proclamation of the greatness of God through his creation, as the ultimate creator. It reminded me of the verse in Romans, when Paul writes “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” Romans 1:20. We can see the greatness of God in what has been made. The beauty of creation is testimony to who God is. So often we take the beauty around us for granted. Jesus said that even King Solomon in ALL of his splendor was not clothed like ONE of the lilies in the field. Then to think how small a lily is compared to the beauty and majesty of the earth in all its splendor, and even this compared to the beauty and organization of our own solar system,  and even our own solar system in comparison to our milky way galaxy, over 100,000 light years across and containing upwards of 400 billion stars, and even yet our galaxy is but a spec compared to the known size of the universe. Even if God had done nothing but create, and left us in our lowly state, he would be so worthy of our praise and adoration. How great God is though, because he has done so much more than just create, which brings us to the next verse in this hymn…

Verse 2: In the next verse we see a proclamation of the greatness of God through his son Jesus and his sacrifice for us. Stuart Hine writes “And when I think that God, His Son not sparing, sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in.” The words “I scarce can take it in” pierced my heart. I was convicted of the fact that so often I do not consider the weightiness and magnitude of the sacrifice Christ made for me. We should all “scarcely be able to take it in”…the God we proclaimed in the previous verse, as the ultimate creator, died for us. It should not be something we take lightly, or we entitle ourselves to, but rather, something that even the thought of provokes us to fall on our knees and weep. The fact that yet while we were enemies of God, Christ Jesus died for us. How great and worthy of our praise is our God!

Even if he had left us here, having created the universe and all that is in it, and having sent his Son to die for us, and bring us out of our lowly state, he would forever deserve our praise and adoration. Once again though, How great our God is. He does not just leave us there. He rose again, and gave us his Spirit, that we might be in Christ as He is in the Father. Not only that, but He has gone to prepare a place for us, and not only gone to prepare a place for us but is coming back again to take us home, which brings us to the last verse of this hymn…

Verse 3: In the last verse we see a proclamation of the greatness of God in his second coming and as the ultimate restorer. Stuart Hine writes of Christ’s second coming and being able to bow before Him and proclaim His greatness. I see this verse as a culmination of the previous verses. We start out by seeing God’s greatness through the beauty of His creation, then through the sacrifice of His beloved Son and the glory of His resurrection, and through the pouring out of His Spirit. But it doesn’t end there. One day we will be able to experience the greatness of the Father, Three-in-One, in ALL his glory, and in ALL his greatness and majesty, face to face. How glorious that day will be.

 

 

Lyrics:

Oh Lord my God,

when I in awesome wonder

Consider all,  the works thy hands hath made.

I see the stars,

I hear the rolling thunder,

Thy power throughout the universe displayed;

 

Refrain:

Then sings my soul,

my Savior God, to Thee,

How great Thou art!

How great Thou art!

Then sings my soul,

my Savior God, to Thee,

How great Thou art!

How great Thou art!

 

And When I think,

that God, His son not sparing;

sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;

That on that cross,

my burden gladly bearing;

He bled and died to take away my sin

 

Refrain

 

When Christ shall come,

with shout of acclamation,

and take me home,

what joy shall fill my heart!

Then I shall bow

in humble adoration

and there proclaim, “My God, how great Thou art!”

 

Refrain

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