Expectation

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting (Micah 5:2 KJV).

Expecting a king to deliver them from Roman rule, many missed the significance of the star, stable, and the babe asleep in the manger.

The Song

O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by;
yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting light.
The hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary,
and, gathered all above
while mortals sleep, the angels keep
their watch of wond’ring love.
O morning stars, together
proclaim the holy birth,
and praises sing to God the King
and peace to all the earth.

How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heav’n.
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still
the dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
descend to us, we pray,
cast out our sin and enter in,
be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
our Lord Immanuel!

Words by Phillip Brooks

Music by Lewis H. Redner

Public Domain

Prayer

May our eyes and hearts be open to the blessings before us!

The Video

I Must Tell Jesus

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).

I’d planned to share a song with you for two weeks. But our lives were turned upside down when we received news about my brother. He is in hospice with bladder cancer. We are spending as much time with him as possible. So, for a while, I won’t be posting regularly. But, please know you are in my heart and in my prayers.

The Author

Elisha Albright Hoffman (1839-1929) was a minister, hymn writer (over 2000 songs), and hymnal editor. When he wasn’t writing, he often ministered to the poor. After hearing a woman’s troubles, he said, “You must tell Jesus.” The woman replied, “I must tell Jesus!” And just like that, a song was born.

While researching Hoffman’s songs, I discovered several favorites among the titles. Have you heard or sung one or more of the following?

Are You Washed in the Blood? (1891)
Down at the Cross (1878)
I Must Tell Jesus (1893)
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms(1887)

The Song

I must tell Jesus all of my trials;
I cannot bear these burdens alone;
In my distress He kindly will help me;
He ever loves and cares for His own.

Refrain:
I must tell Jesus!
I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus!
I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

I must tell Jesus all of my troubles;
He is a kind, compassionate Friend;
If I but ask Him, He will deliver,
Make of my troubles quickly an end. [Refrain]

Tempted and tried, I need a great Savior,
One who can help my burdens to bear;
I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus;
He all my cares and sorrows will share. [Refrain]

O how the world to evil allures me!
O how my heart is tempted to sin!
I must tell Jesus, and He will help me
Over the world the vict’ry to win. [Refrain]

Elisha Albright Hoffman, Public Domain

The Video

There are so many reasons to like this video. But let’s begin with the music. 😊 Gordon Mote is one of the most soulful pianists in gospel music. He is a two-time (2008/2010) Academy of Country Music Award winner for Piano/Keyboards Player of the Year. He has contributed to recordings by some of the biggest names in music.

Next is the quartet’s harmony. Tim Duncan is another reason why I like this video. Hearing him brings back many memories of standing in the congregation and listening to the baritone and bass singers. My late father-in-law was among them. Nothing like hearing a group of men declare the good news through song!

Finally, the lyrics. Did you notice the singer is singing to himself? Sometimes, the answer to our struggles is unearthing the truth buried in our hearts. We do that by reminiscing about God’s faithfulness in times past. And once that truth surfaces, it’s time to testify to our hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits until a change occurs and we have the answer.

I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! I cannot bear my burdens alone. I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus! Jesus will help me, Jesus alone.

Photo courtesy of Larisa Koshkina on Pixabay

A Shelter in the Time of Storm

Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy (Psalm 61:1-3).

Are you seeking shelter?

Vernon J. Charlesworth wrote “A Shelter in the Time of Storm” in a minor chord around 1880. Fishermen often sang the original tune when safely coming ashore amid a storm. Later, Ira D. Sanky removed several lines, added a refrain, and wrote another tune he thought people would find easier to sing.

If you’d like to read the original version, visit Hymnary.org.

A Shelter in the Time of Storm

The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide,
A shelter in the time of storm;
Secure whatever ill betide,
A shelter in the time of storm.
Refrain: Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land, 
A weary land, a weary land; 
Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land, 
A shelter in the time of storm.
A shade by day, defense by night,
A shelter in the time of storm;
No fears alarm, no fears affright,
A shelter in the time of storm.
The raging storms may round us beat,
A shelter in the time of storm;
We’ll never leave our safe retreat,
A shelter in the time of storm.
O Rock divine, O Refuge dear,
A shelter in the time of storm;
Be Thou our helper ever near,
A shelter in the time of storm.

Author: Vernon J. Charlesworth Public Domain

Tune: Shelter Ira D. Sankey