Here Comes (U.S.) Thanksgiving: The Unbreakable Link between Gratitude and Joy

What are people willing to give for joy? What price are they willing to pay? Consider what people spend on vacations, luxury goods, entertainment, and stimulants and it’s clear the cost is sky-high. And yet all that time, money, and effort never seems to be enough. For so many people, joy remains elusive. And if they do find it, it is fleeting and unsatisfying. It’s ironic that during the holiday season—when we talk about joy the most—it seems to be the hardest to …

Hymn Stories: I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

Horatius Bonar was born in 1808 in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of a ruling elder in the Church of Scotland. After a relatively uneventful upbringing, Bonar entered into the ministry himself, becoming pastor of the North Parish in the rural town of Kelso. Not long after he entered the ministry there was a disruption in the Church of Scotland that resulted in the withdrawal of 451 ministers from the Established church, among whom were Bonar and a number of his …

Become a Patron

Hymn Stories: Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah

If Isaac Watts is known as the father of English hymnody, William Williams (1717-1791) is considered by many to be the father of Welsh hymnody. In 1738 Williams heard a sermon by the revivalist preacher Howell Harris, a fiery Welsh layman who had been influenced by the Methodist movement in England. It was through this sermon that Williams discerned his calling to go into the ministry. Williams first pursued becoming an Anglican priest (in the Church of Wales) and entered …

Hymn Stories: The Church’s One Foundation (+ Free Download)

Songs are a powerful means of teaching. The melodies, rhythms, and rhymes that characterize songs make the words easier to remember. The best and most effective songs combine lyrics and music to cultivate feelings that complement the meaning. All throughout history God’s people have used songs to teach. We can see this as early as Exodus 15 where Moses records the song Israel sang after crossing the Red Sea. It taught everyone who heard and sang it about God’s character in …

Hymn Stories: All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name

Edward Perronet was born in England in 1726, the grandson of a French immigrant. His father, Vincent, was a clergyman in the Church of England and a close friend and associate of John and Charles Wesley. Though Edward had planned to follow his father into Anglican ministry, the influence of the Wesleys prevailed, and he became a traveling Methodist preacher. Louis Benson records in his Studies of Familar Hymns, Second Series that Edward was a capable preacher and sincere follower …

Hymn Stories – Christ The Lord Is Risen Today

The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed! Today Christians around the world are remembering the resurrection of our Savior. If you are celebrating Easter in an English-speaking church (which is likely if you’re reading this blog), there is a good probability that you have sung or will sing the hymn “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.” For about 300 years now, this hymn and its variants have been sung in English churches to commemorate and celebrate that Sunday morning …

Hymn Stories: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (+ Free Download)

It was a daring move when, in 1707, Isaac Watts published his first book of hymns. At that time it was the practice of almost every congregation of the Church of England to sing only Old Testament psalms in their public worship. However, Watts had grown to dislike this because it restricted the Christian from being able to explicitly celebrate in song all those aspects of the gospel that are fulfilled and illuminated in the New Testament. In the preface …

Hymn Stories: My Jesus I Love Thee

My Jesus I Love Thee” is a sweet expression of love for the Savior that flows directly from the author’s experience of the Savior’s love for him. A remarkable thing about “My Jesus I Love Thee” is that it was not penned by an aged and experienced hymn-writer like so many of our favorite hymns. Rather, it was originally written as a devotional poem by Willam Ralph Featherston, a teenager who had recently come to faith. Not much is known …

On Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is once more just about upon us, and by “us,” I mean “you” if you are American. I have written about this holiday and the Canadian equivalent several times over the years. Here are a few that you may find beneficial. A Prayer of Praise and Thanksgiving – This is a beautiful prayer drawn from The Valley of Vision. Tears at Thanksgiving – This was an excellent article by my mother. She expressed some thoughts on divorce and its …

New & Notable Music

While most of what finds its way into my mailbox is books, I also receive a surprising amount of music. This works out well since I happen to love listening to music while going about my daily work. Here are a few new and noteworthy albums you may want to take a look at. Hymns for the Christian Life – It’s always noteworthy when Keith and Kristyn Getty release a new album. Keith Getty is one of today’s foremost Christian …