Reading Through Your Hymnal

Can you identify the hymns that the following lyrics come from?

1. For the Father waits over the way, To prepare us a dwelling place there.

2. Many arrows pierce my soul from without, within, But my Lord leads me on, thru Him I must win.

3. When I am sad to Him I go, No other one can cheer me so; When I am sad He makes me glad - He's my Friend.

4. Sweet is the tender love Jesus hath shown, Sweeter far than any love that mortals have known.

5. But drops of grief can ne'er repay The debt of love I owe; Here, Lord, I give myself to Thee, 'Tis all that I can do.

6. Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done, And great our rejoicing thro' Jesus the Son.

Do you have all sorts of melodies and harmonies going through your head now? Good. Have fun with that all day!

How many of the six hymns were you able to name? A couple of them, most of them? Were there any that you could sing the melody but you couldn't remember more of the words? Or do you know the chorus but not the verses?

We so often sing on Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday night without really thinking about what we're singing. If you've sung "Amazing Grace" every week for 20 years, has it lost its spark in your heart? Are you going through the motions when the song leader has you turn to "What a Friend We Have In Jesus" because you know the song forwards and backwards?

Some of the most beautiful uses of Scripture can be found in the hymnal you hold each service. The songwriters have used their faith, their experiences and the truth of God's Word to give us these spiritual songs. They poured out their hearts, their souls and probably a few tears to put pen to paper and notes to the staff.

I am just as guilty of not paying attention to hymn lyrics as the next person. When you've been raised on these songs, they're more muscle memory than present-day experience. When I would practice piano growing up, I would always play a few hymns at the end of my half hour, so I'm quite familiar with the patterns, the notes and the key signatures. But if that's all that is in my head, I'm really missing out.

Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before;
Every day with Jesus, I love Him more and more;
Jesus saves and keeps me, And He's the One I'm waiting for:
Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.

If these are the lyrics in front of me this Sunday, I want to think about my Saturday while I sing. He did amazing things all day Saturday, blessing me and protecting me. We had good fellowship together, I was moved during my Bible study time and He prepared my heart for the Lord's day. What a wonderful, beautiful Saturday.

But now it's Sunday, and I'm standing in the midst of the congregation singing these words. Yesterday was sweet, but every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before. How precious is this promise that no matter how amazing yesterday was, today will be even better. There is no such thing as an "off day" with Jesus Christ, so today He will build upon the blessings of yesterday and make today even more special.

Wouldn't have we missed that perspective on the Lord's blessings if we're just reading words on a page and putting them to music? We can't expect to be moved by the Holy Spirit in a worship service if we're not personally invested in each part of it. That's why understanding and applying these words are more important than just reading them as words set to music.

Whatever hymns are chosen for your services in the upcoming week have been placed there by God for a reason. If He has laid them on the song leader's heart, then there is an important message in them that you're supposed to see. I pray we will dig deeper into the music this week and open our hearts to the possibilities God can move us to.

And in case your were wondering, here are the answers:
1. Sweet By and By
2. Oh, I Want to See Him
3. Jesus Is All the World to Me
4. Where He Leads I'll Follow
5. Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed?
6. To God Be the Glory

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