COme Thou Long-Expected

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

Advent Hymn Studies #1 – Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

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Christmas icons from Creative Market

I love to study the lyrics of hymns. They often bless my heart probably because so often they are words straight from scripture. I haven’t done a hymn study in a while so I’m going to try to study some Christmas hymns during December. Won’t you come along with me?

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What if Blessings Come Through Raindrops?

*Originally Published on GGmandy dot com July 1, 2017

What image first comes to your mind at the word “blessings”?

Do you think of these blessings…

family

financial gain

health?

But let me ask you, where does that leave the one with no husband or children, no bank account or bad health?

This thought became real to me …

when I lost my health, and then my husband lost his job, and subsequently our home.

Are we no longer blessed?

Or is this when the true blessings became a realization?

Early on in my journey with chronic pain, my son introduced me to Laura Story and her song, Blessings. She proposed through song that the blessings were not tangible things but divine things. I venture to believe that she is right.

In our pain and loss, we actually found the TRUE BLESSINGS of God.

Hymn of the week - Blessings
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We found His PEACE that passes all understanding,

His PROVIDENCE for our every need,

we found His GRACE to walk through the valley, and so much more.

The greatest thing…

… I found was a deep, DEEP RELATIONSHIP with the God of the Ages.

I found His LOVE for me so sweet.

His tender FORGIVENESS for leaving Him behind in the dust as I “ministered to others in His Name”. You see, I really wasn’t doing it all in His Name.

I wasn’t leaning on Him FOR GUIDANCE and DIRECTION. I had taken hold of the reigns and was running the show myself.

But, oh the JOY, I found in being still before Him.

(In my case, literally still. I couldn’t move without excruciating pain.)

I found HIS WORD so fulfilling.

What an amazing God we have.

And so many do not even see it.

Do YOU see it?

Count Those Blessings!

So blessed!

Tybee Isalnd, GA

excerpt

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

blessings by Laura Story

Magnificat – A Study of Praise to our Great God

–This hymn study of How Great Thou Art is an excerpt from my latest Bible Study Magnificat Gracefully Truthful published on March 12, 2021

What is Magnificat?

Luke 1:46-56

Mary's Magnificat
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Magnificat is a general term meaning canticle or song, especially in praise. Specific to this passage, Mary’s Magnificat is given this title because it is her “song of praise to God.” The poem praises Him for His blessing to Mary and His faithfulness to Israel.

The Holman Bible Dictionary tells us that Magnificat (mag-nif’-i-kat) means “to magnify”, which gives us greater insight into why church historians have affixed the label “Magnificat” to this passage. The Greek word is used in the first line of Mary’s song, “My soul magnifies the Lord”.

This hymn is much like the song of another young woman in Israel’s history, Hannah, (1 Samuel 2) where we find her praising God for blessing her with a child. She continues pouring out her song of worship to God for His faithfulness to the people, Israel. Hannah’s poem of praise also begins, “My heart exults in the Lord…” [Study Light]

Both women begin by magnifying the Lord and then listing the wonderful deeds of our God; not just the blessings on themselves but for all blessings God has given since the beginning of time.

King David also does the same thing in the Psalms. One of my favorites is Psalm 136. The famous Magnificat was Mary’s response to her amazing situation

Carl Boburg’s Magnificat

As we study the great hymn of faith, How Great Thou Art, we learn this poem-turned-hymn was Mr. Carl Boburg’s “Magnificat”. Likewise, the psalmist implores us to “magnify the Lord with me. Let us exult His name together.” (Psalm 34:3, KJV). The Scriptures implore us many times to magnify the Lord.

I love it when we begin our corporate worship time together at church by reciting a psalm or singing hymns that praise God for Who He is. These types of calls to worship cause us to come together with singing and adoration for our great God.

Indeed, our worship services could be called a Magnificat, of sorts, where we come exulting the Lord together. However, this type of praise isn’t intended just as a Sunday kind of thing. I hope I find myself praising God aloud whenever He blesses my life with good things; indeed, even bursting into song over how much He does for this undeserving woman.

Yet, even if He never did another thing for me, I want to still choose to magnify His Name for what He did at Calvary by taking my shame and punishment for my sin upon Himself for me!

Mr. Carl Boberg, the writer of the hymn How Great Thou Art, had a back story to his profound Magnificat. According to the website, All About God, Boberg was a Swedish pastor, editor, and member of the Swedish parliament.

“Mr. Boberg was enjoying a nice walk when a thunderstorm suddenly appeared out of nowhere. After the storm was over, Mr. Boberg looked out over the clear bay and heard a church bell in the distance. And the words to How Great Thou Art began to form in his heart –

‘O Lord, my God, when I, in awesome wonder. . .’”

www.allaboutgod.com

Think of the peace he must have felt after that fierce storm to pen these beautiful words that still show us the glory of God today.

Our Own Magnificat

We, too, have a backstory to our own “Magnificat”. Let’s take the challenge and write our own Magnificat. Magnify the Lord with me! Place your praises in the comments section below. Try using Psalm 136 as a template for your song of praise.

Oh, magnify the Lord with me, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever.

(Psalm 34:3, American Standard Version)

NOTE: My study is the Digging Deeper portion following the journey study


Mandy’s Magnificat

Oh, magnify the Lord with me, for He is good;

His faithful love endures forever.

He paid the punishment for my sin before I was born.

His Faithful Love endures forever.

He placed me in a Christian home.

His Faithful Love endures forever.

He called me to Himself and saved me!

His Faithful Love endures forever.

He opened doors for a good education.

His Faithful Love Endures forever.

HE gave me a wonderful Christian husband.

His Faithful Love endures forever.

He led and directed our 25 years of ministry

His Faithful Love endures forever.

He upheld us when friends betrayed us.

His faithful love endures forever.

He provided every need through the loss of job and home

His Faithful Love endures forever

He provided a great medical team when our health faltered

His Faithful Love Endures forever.

He is coming some day soon to call us home to Heaven.

His Faithful Love endures forever.

Listen ~ How Great Thou Art

Carrie UnderWood – How Great Thou Art

believed

I Know Whom I Have Believed

As I began thinking on verses about confidence in the Lord. I was reminded of a dear hymn that speaks of my confidence in my salvation through Jesus Christ. I wanted to share a bit about this hymn today.

The Story Behind the Hymn

Here, in Major Whittle’s own words, is what took place that night: “I dropped on my knees and held the boy’s hand in mine. In a few broken words I confessed my sins and asked Christ to forgive me. I believed right there that He did forgive me. I then prayed earnestly for the boy. He became quiet and pressed my hand as I prayed and pleaded God’s promises. When I arose from my knees, he was dead. A look of peace had come over his troubled face, and I cannot but believe that God who used him to bring me to the Savior, used me to lead him to trust Christ’s precious blood and find pardon. I hope to meet him in heaven.”

Years later, James McGranahan put music to many of Major Whittle’s hymns, including I Know Whom I Have Believed. The chorus of the hymn is based on 2 Timothy 1:12…

2 timothy 1 believed

Thoughts on 2 Timothy.. I Believe!

Paul wrote this letter from his second Roman imprisonment, and soon after he wrote this letter he was condemned and executed in Rome at the command of Nero. Paul sensed this; therefore 2 Timothy is not only the last letter we have from Paul, there is also a note of urgency and passion we might expect from a man who knew he would soon be executed.

David Guzik, Enduring Word

Last Words of Confidence

Last words are always important. Knowing that this was Paul’s last letter encourages even me that he was first concerned about encouraging his mentorees. He talk about how he was certain of the faith of not only Timothy but also Timothy’s mother and grandmother. It’s something to remember that we too should encourage the faith of those around us and those we are mentoring.

Have No Fear

Then he reminds Timothy to not let fear take hold in his life because God has given us so much more to remain confident.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 TImothy 1:7

When we lose a loved one, at times, we wonder how can we go on? How can we even continue without the prayers of the Saints to whom we look to for guidance? I’ll tell you that I believe, the prayers of the saints continue on much longer beyond their death. I have seen it. My grandmother was a prayer warrior. Her prayers still go up and down between heaven and earth. A former pastor shared that he wondered who would pray for him after the death of his mother. Low and behold, his sister stepped in as an amazing prayer warrior. So don’t lose faith. The prayers of the faithful will continue to surround the throne of Grace.

Don’t Be Ashamed

Paul encouraged Timothy also to be strong in His faith and in sharing God’s Word with unbelievers. Oh, in these last days we must remain bold to win as many as possible before His Return. Recall that it is only through the blood of the Lamb that we even have faith and through the Holy Spirit that men are called to righteousness.

We must remain unashamed. Don’t water down the gospel to make it easier. There isn’t time. We must shed the light in the darkness that only God can make things right and remove sin in our lives.

So Sing it With Me

I Know Whom I Have Believed

But “I know Whom I have believed,

And am persuaded that He is able

To keep that which I’ve committed

Unto Him against that day.”

Sources

Would you mind sharing?

I Know Whom I HAve Believed
his eye is on the sparrow

I Sing Because I’m Happy and Free

This post was prompted by the gang at Five Minute Friday Each Friday we take five minutes to write on the same prompt. It’s a lot of fun to see what others are inspired to write from the same prompt. Give it a try or click and do a bit of fun reading.

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Music is my life.

There was a day when you would always find me singing. But lately, I find it hard to sing. It’s like there is a lump in my throat. And I feel kind of sad. So what’s a girl to do?

Always a Reason to Sing

2 Corinthians reminds me that our Christian life is not about being happy but about serving Christ.  We are indeed jars of clay, cracked and broken but shining out the love of Christ. It’s those cracks and breaks that show the world we are His and that life can be fulfilling even in the valleys.

We are not promised a good life. We are not promised a bed of roses. Though if we were, I remind you the roses have thorns. 

These scriptures remind us that even when we feel we cannot sing, we should look back at what God as done for us. If nothing else, He has saved us from our sin and promised us life eternal! This should be enough to give us His joy. 

I’m reminded of the beautiful hymn, His Eye is on the Sparrow.

Why should I feel discouraged,
Why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely,
And long for heaven, heaven and home,
When, when Jesus is my portion,
My constant Friend is He;
Oh, oh-oh, his eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watched, watched it over me.

I sing because I’m happy (happy)
I sing because I’m free (free free free)
For His eye, his eye is on the sparrow,
And I know, I know He watches over me.

He is my Constant Friend

God is watching over us. He cares about every detail of our lives. God sees us as His treasured possession! We can sing in this reality.

So don’t give up. Keep Singing.

Keep your eyes looking up. Be faithful to Him.

Allow His light to shine through you so that when you arrive at heaven’s gates, you will be bringing along a whole host of believers that found Christ because of your perseverance.

I will sing to the LORD as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath!

Psalm 104:33

Sing to the Lord!

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA

[ctt template=”4″ link=”513Nr” via=”yes” nofollow=”yes”]even when we feel we cannot sing, we should look back at what God as done for us. [/ctt]

marching to zion

It’s Time to Send out the Choir

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?

    How long will you hide your face from me?

.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;

    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

 I will sing to the Lord,

    because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 13

How Long, oh Lord?

I woke this morning, crying out to God, “How long, oh Lord? How long must our enemies win over us?

Then God replied, remember how many times King David said these very words. In his Psalms, he cried out to God but ended up praising him.

Several years ago, I wrote a series of devotions on perseverance. Read one here and sign up to receive them once a week for 30 weeks.

What did King Hezekiah do?

Then I remembered how King Hezekiah faced a great army. He wondered how he could defeat them.

But God said “I’ve got this. You won’t even have to fight.”

So Hezekiah, sent the choir out in front of the army singing praise to God. The enemy turned on themselves killing each other.

FMF: Time

MY CHALLENGE FOR US

Let’s fill social media with praises to God. Fill it with lyrics or YouTube videos of praise to God. Do it all day long, all week long, and see what God will do. I’ll be doing it. If you want you can go to my social media and share from there.

#projectProclaimHisPraises

Here’s one to start with…

This post was prompted by the gang at Five Minute Friday Each Friday we take five minutes to write on the same prompt. It’s a lot of fun to see what others are inspired to write from the same prompt. Give it a try or click and do a bit of fun reading.

2020 is Over: How Clear is Your Vision?

Be Thou My Vision

Psalm 119:18; 2 Kings 6:8-23

Elisha was a prophet of Israel, but he also was kind of a spy letting the King know if the Syrian army was up to anything. The Syrians were aware of this so they figured if they capture Elisha it would solve their problem.

One night the Syrian army surrounded Elisha and his young, new servant. The servant was very concerned about the situation, asking, “What should we do?” But Elisha had a confident belief about him. He knew that God would protect them. He believed what King David had said that God’s angels would surround and protect them.

Elisha knew that this confidence comes from experience and knowing how God takes care of His own, so he prayed that God would open the eyes of his servant to see the Lord’s Angel armies all around them. And God did it! The servant looked around and there were horses and fiery chariots all around ready to protect him and Elisha.

Can you imagine that? …

Seeing all those fiery horses and chariots on all sides? How exciting!

Do you see the fiery chariots in the image above?

Trouble on Every Side

2020 has been one of those years with so much trouble on every side. I pray that God has opened your eyes to see His armies standing ready to defeat your enemies. I pray that God will give you the confidence of Paul when he wrote. “We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair” 2 Corinthians 4:8-12

Let’s walked with confidence into the new year that God has it all under control.

Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart
Nought be all else to me, save that Thy art
Thou my best thought in the day and the night
Waking or sleeping, Thou presence my light

Be Thou my wisdom, be Thou my true word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me Lord
Thou my great Father and I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one

Be Thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight
Be Thou my armor and be Thou my might
Thou my soul shelter, and Thy my high tower
Raise Thou me heavenwards, oh power of my power

Riches I need not, nor man's empty praise
Thou mine inheritance through all of my days
Thou and Thou only though first in my heart
High king of heaven my treasure Thou art

Oh high king of heaven, when battle is done
Grant heaven's joy to me, bright heaven sun
Christ of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be my vision, though ruler of all

SOURCE: Be Thou My Vision Lyrics

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One Day ~ Hymn Study

What a Difference a Day Makes

one Day Hymn Study
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This hymn, One Day was introduced to me in my teen years. We had moved from Ohio to Wisconsin and being in the middle school Sunday School class, I was required to take part in the Easter program. This hymn was the theme of the program.

At the time, I didn’t particularly like the song mainly because it was a bit slow for my tastes. But over the years the song stuck in my heart and mind because it tells the story of Jesus from beginning to end; from the virgin birth to the cross and resurrection and on to the day still coming… His return… Oh, Glorious Day!

Hymn Writer ~ J. Wilbur Chapman

Full Name: John Wilber Chapman, 1859-1918
Birth Year: 1859
Death Year: 1918

A Presbyterian evangelist. He served in several local churches before becoming an evangelist, preaching with the infamous D.L. Moody, as well as preaching many evangelistic events on his own. He had many preachers who were trained under him including Rev. Billy Sunday.

He wrote this hymn as well as two others

“Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners”  (another favorite of mine)
“‘Tis Jesus”


Hymn Studies at Gracefully Truthful

The writers at Gracefully Truthful are doing a series of hymn studies this month. Click on over to read my contribution to the study on One Day.

gracefully truthful
Worship VII Day 13 One Day – Gracefully Truthful

Hymn of the Week ~ One Day

Source: Sing to the Lord, #210

1 One day when Heaven was filled with His praises,
One day when sin was As black as could be,
Jesus came forth To be born of a virgin,
Dwelt among men, my example is He!

Chorus:
Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me;
Buried, He carried My sins far away;
Rising He justified freely forever:
One day He’s coming– O glorious day!

2 One day they led Him Up Calvary’s mountain,
One day they nailed Him To die on the tree;
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected:
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He![Chorus]

3 One day they left Him Alone in the garden,
One day He rested, from suffering free;
Angels came down o’er His tomb to keep vigil;
Hope of the hopeless, my Savior is He![Chorus]

4 One day the grave Could conceal Him no longer,
One day the stone rolled away from the door;
Then He arose, over death He had conquered;
Now is ascended, my Lord evermore![Chorus]

5 One day the trumpet Will sound for His coming,
One day the skies With His glory will shine;
Wonderful day, my beloved One bringing;
Glorious Savior, this Jesus is mine![Chorus]

I was thrilled when I heard that Casting Crowns had placed the lyrics into a new contemporary song, Oh! Glorious Day. What a beautiful rendition.

Source: Hymnary.org

The Updated Version by Casting Crowns

 

Casting Crowns Story Behind the Song

 

Mandy Farmer

/

Coming Next Week

The hope of God with us

King of Kings ~ Hymn Study

This worship song is new to me but what a message. The Apostle John wrote about the King of Kings in his gospel. Read the prequel devotion at Gracefully Truthful about the prophecy and coming of the Messiah.

I had the privilege of writing the digging deeper portion of this study on John 1. Have you ever wondered why John chose to use “The Word” when speaking of Jesus? I wrote about it at Gracefully Truthful. Here’s a taste of the study.

John’s depiction of Jesus’ Second Coming.

Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse. Its rider is called Faithful and True, and with justice, he judges and makes war. His eyes were like a fiery flame, and many crowns were on his head. He had a name written that no one knows except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called the Word of God. The armies that were in heaven followed him on white horses, wearing pure white linen. A sharp sword came from his mouth so that he might strike the nations with it. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will also trample the winepress of the fierce anger of God, the Almighty. And he has a name written on his robe and on his thigh: King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (Revelation 19:11-20)

The True King of Kings

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David Guzik explains that in Bible times, most soldiers were foot soldiers. To own “a horse spoke of honor, of power, and of speed. The color of the horse depicted victory.” The title, “Faithful and True”, shows Jesus as the Keeper of Promises, including His promise to judge the nations. Jesus will arrive in glory and sit for the final judgment of man. The many crowns on his head indicate He is the ultimate in power and authority.

It is a visible manifestation of what we mean when we say Kings of Kings, an expression of unlimited authority. (Guzik) As King of Kings, he is not just leveling all world governments; but rather, He will totally displace all this world’s sovereigns and governments, taking all dominion and authority out of their hands and putting it in the hands of Christ, as the true and only King of the world.” (Seiss)

There’s so much more to unpack here, but in just these few sentences we can discern that when John spoke of “The Word”, he was speaking of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who will one day return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to set up His eternal Kingdom.

And every knee shall bow to worship Him as Lord.

(Philippians 2:10)

Every Knee Shall Bow to the King of Kings

This universal homage to The Kings of Kings does not indicate a universal salvation, but rather an enforced homage. Only those who have repented and claimed Jesus as Lord before His return will be saved. As Paul implores his readers,

See! Now is the day of salvation!”

(2 Corinthians 6:2)

One day, however, even those who have rejected Christ will be forced to kneel and confess that He is Lord. There will be no other option. The Apostle Paul continues to write to the Christians in Philippi…

“Therefore, my dear friends, (…) work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked world and perverted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, by holding firm to the Word of Life.(Philippians 2:12-16)

God and His Holy Spirit work within us to do good works that reflect His character, these works make us “shine as lights” as He created believers to do. As we live and serve our Lord here on Earth, we are in awe of God, wanting to bring glory to Him in everything we do. We strive to live our lives as a reflection of Christ to glorify Him. We thank Him continually for all He did for us and praise Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Prayer

My Jesus, You came in humility to redeem me. You did it all for me. I worship You as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Help me to shine as a light, reflecting Your image, and drawing others to You. I give You my highest praise and my heartfelt worship. Amen.

Click for more on this study of King of Kings at Gracefully Truthful.

gracefully truthful
Worship VII Day 10 King Of Kings: Digging Deeper – Gracefully Truthful
This universal homage to The Kings of Kings does not indicate universal salvation, but rather an enforced homage. Only those who have claimed Jesus as Lord before His return will be saved. As Paul implores his readers, “See! Now is the day… Click To Tweet
Open my Eyes

Open Our Hearts and Lives For a Better View of God’s Plan

I thought I would share another hymn with you. Maybe you have never heard this one. It’s a beautiful prayer for us to meditate upon, asking God to open our eyes, ears, mouth, and heart to His ways. 

It is easy to get blinded from the Truth. Barbara Harper recently wrote about this blindness and shared it on our Legacy Linkup. It had the highest number of clicks in August so I wanted to feature here today, in case you missed it before.

Open My Eyes That I May See

Open my eyes, that I may see

glimpses of truth thou hast for me;

place in my hand the wonderful key

that shall unclasp and set me free.

Silently now I wait for thee,

ready my God, thy will to see.

Open my eyes, ears, and heart,

illumine me, Spirit divine!

Written by Clara Scott; UMC Discipleship Ministries, https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-open-my-eyes-that-i-may-see

Opening Eyes for a View of God’s Plan

I thought to write a short devotion but when I found a beautiful one through the United Methodist Church Discipleship Ministries, I thought it best to share theirs. Here is a short snippet to draw you in.

Closed ears become a metaphor for a lack of understanding: “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them” (Matthew 13:15).

Dr Haun, director of the sacred music program at Perkins School of Theology.

Now Listen in Acapella


October’s Legacy Linkup Now open


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open my eyes