April 18, 2014

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

  1. << the hymn and its history >>

  2. Helen Lemmel was born in 1863 but lived most of her life in America. She suffered many hardships, including losing her sight in midlife, which also accounted for her husband leaving her.

She was an accomplished musician teaching at the Moody Bible Institute, the Bible Institute of LA, and composing over 500 songs. The inspiration for this particular hymn came from a tract a friend handed her. She said when she heard the line within the tract it was as if the notes and words simply came to her unbidden and unplanned. It was originally published in England as a pamphlet, but soon included in a volume of her works to become a favorite hymn for many.

  1. << the hymn and me >>

  2. I will be honest with you. The morning of this writing was a heavy one for me. When I was looking through the hymnal I was looking for a hymn that gave me hope. One that I could fall back on. While it didn't come to me directly, when I saw the words on the page I remembered all the times it had.

    Some days are harder than others, and some days life seems so heavy I can't get past it. I'm aware that the original tract was to not be blinded to the best by the good, but for me I need to be blinded to the hard by the best sometimes. This song helps me remember to do it. For when the day is heavy and I have a hard day, I just remember to keep my eyes on Jesus. He will guide me, help me, and love me. It might not make the day any better, but it helps me get through it a little easier.

  3. << the hymn >>

  1. O soul, are you weary and troubled?
    No light in the darkness you see?
    There’s light for a look at the Savior,
    And life more abundant and free!
    • Chorus:
      Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
      Look full in His wonderful face,
      And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
      In the light of His glory and grace.
  2. Through death into life everlasting
    He passed, and we follow Him there;
    O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
    For more than conqu’rors we are!
  3. (Chorus)
  4. His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
    Believe Him, and all will be well:
    Then go to a world that is dying,
    His perfect salvation to tell!
  5. (Chorus)
    Words and Music by Helen Lemmel

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April 17, 2014

How Great Thou Art

<< the hymn and its history >>

In 1974 this hymn was named as one of the most popular hymns in America, but it started out as a simple and short Swedish poem. The author, Carl Boberg, was surprised one day to hear it sung by a congregation to the tune of an old Swedish folksong. The poem has been translated into many different languages, but they were all different than the song we sing today.

In 1933 Ukraine missionaries, Reverend and Mrs. Hine heard the song and fell in love with it. As they traveled in the country they were inspired to translate it into English. They returned to Britian when World War 2 broke out, wrote the fourth verse, transcribed the same folksong it began with, and had it published in English hymnals.

It wasn't, however, until Billy Graham began playing it regularly in his crusades that it became more popular.

<< the hymn and me >>

There is something powerful about this song. There is something about these words which stir my soul, and often bring a tear to my eye. It's like singing "Holy, Holy, Holy" at the throne of God. I remember singing this song so many times, but I always loved it when the music leader would slow the fourth verse down as we sang it. "When Christ shall come.... with shout of acclamation....... And take me home..... what joy shall fill my heart!" Wait for it.... "Then I shall bow...... in humble adoration," breathe, "And there proclaim..... my God how great thou art!" And then the entire congregation would sing the chorus loud and from their heart. Or that's how it always felt to me.

<< the hymn >>

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.


And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.


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 then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"

Words by Carl Boberg

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April 16, 2014

Sweet, Sweet Spirit

<< the hymn and its history >>

The book I am using for this series only contains 150 hymns, so there will obviously be some i am familiar with that aren't in it. This is one of them. I got the history for this song here.

Doris Akers was quite a well known musician. She sang, played the piano, and wrote music. She began this path when she was a young girl writing her first piece when she was 10. Many years later when she was directing her choir group they were in prayer before the service began. Doris felt very strongly that prayer was important to what they did and to God. She had actually called her group back to prayer, and they went so renewed fervor. When she finally had to call them out of the prayer meeting in order to begin the service she hated to do it, but knew it was needed. "We have to go. I hate to leave this room and I know you hate to leave, but you know we do have to go to the service. But there is such a sweet, sweet spirit in this place."

The next day she wrote the song in its entirety.

<< the hymn and me >>

I don't know what age I was, nor which church we were attending at the time. I simply remember the practice, the routine, the song. I believe it was Sunday Nights as the service was called to a close, before we left we would all join hands and sing this song. Whenever it got to the part in the song which says, "we lift our hearts in praise" we would raise our joined hands up to the sky. I grew to love this song, and obviously had it memorized by the time we left the church.

Many years later as I rocked my boys when they were babes I had a grouping of songs I would sing to them to bring comfort. Possible to all of us. You are my Sunshine. Jesus Loves Me. Jesus Loves the Little Children. And Sweet, Sweet Spirit. I don't know if they remember the songs in that manner, for they were young, but I will cherish those moments when I sang the words looking into the eyes of my babes. I trusted that at that time, in that moment, the Spirit of the Lord was with us as well.

<< the hymn >>

There's a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place,
And I know that it's the Spirit of the Lord;
There are sweet expressions on each face,
And I know they feel the presence of the Lord.

Sweet Holy Spirit, Sweet heavenly Dove,
Stay right here with us, filling us with Your love.
And for these blessings we lift our hearts in praise;
Without a doubt we'll know that we have been revived,
When we shall leave this place.

There are blessings you cannot receive
Till you know Him in His fullness and believe;
You're the one to profit when you say,
"I am going to walk with Jesus all the way."


If you say He saved you from your sin,
Now you're weak, you're bound and cannot enter in,
You can make it right if you will yield,
You'll enjoy the Holy Spirit that we feel.

Words by Doris Akers

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