There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:7 The Bible teaches that man does not seek after God, but that God initiates the search for lost men. "The Ninety and Nine," based on the parable in Luke 15:3-7, presents a vivid picture of this scriptural truth. Written for children by an invalid woman named Elizabeth Clephane in Melrose, Scotland, the text appeared in a newspaper and caught the attention of Ira Sankey, the well-known music associate of evangelist D. L. Moody. Since he was on the way to their next evangelistic meetings in Edinburgh, Scotland, Mr. Sankey simply tucked the poem in his vest pocket and thought no more of it. During the service that afternoon, Mr. Moody concluded his stirring message on the Good Shepherd and abruptly asked Ira to close with an appropriate solo. Startled, Sankey suddenly remembered the poem in his pocket. He related that he breathed a quick prayer for divine help, struck the chord of A flat on his little pump organ and began to sing, composing the melody as he went. When Sankey reached the end of the song, both he and Mr. Moody were in tears. During the invitation, many 'lost sheep' responded to the call of Christ. During their series of evangelistic meetings in Great Britain, Moody and Sankey held a service in Melrose, Scotland. The two sisters of Elizabeth Clephane were in the audience. To their surprise and delight, they heard their departed sister's poem set to a melody and delivered by the noted Ira Sankey with great spiritual impact. Lift your heart and voice in praise to God for sending His Son to seek and find you when you were lost and indifferent to Him.
But Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. Psalm 86:15 A wealth of truth about the depth of God's love and mercy is expressed simply but eloquently in this choice two-line hymn text written by Frederick William Faber in the middle of the 19th century. In addition to being known as a man with unusual personal charm, persuasive preaching ability, and excellent writing skills, Faber made his most lasting contribution with the 150 hymn texts he composed during his brief life of 49 years. Frederick Faber had an unusual spiritual journey. Raised as a strict Calvinist, he strongly opposed the Roman Catholic Church. After education at Oxford, he became an ordained Anglican minister. Gradually, however, he was influenced by the Oxford Movement, which stressed that Anglican churches had become too evangelical - with too little emphasis on formal and liturgical worship. Eventually Faber renounced the Anglican State Church, became a Catholic priest, and spent his remaining years as Superior of the Catholic Brompton Oratory in London. Faber had always realized the great infuence that hymn singing had in Protestant evangelical churches. Determined to provide material for Catholics to use in the same way, he worked tirelessly in writing hymns and publishing numerous collections of them. In 1854 the Pope honored Frederick Faber with an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in recognition of his many accomplishments. Today we are still grateful for this memorable declaration of the boundless love and mercy of our God to all mankind. Let yourself become immersed in the joy of realizing and accepting in a simple, trusting manner the great mercy of God. Praise and thank Him by singing this hymn.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes, He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9 The wonderful grace of Jesus will be the theme that will echo throughout the corridors of heaven during all eternity. It should also be the joyful exclamation of every Christian now whenever he thinks of Calvary and the deep love of our Savior. Wonderful Grace of Jesus is one of the most inspiring hymns in our hymnals, and it has been used extensively by both choirs and congregations since it was written and composed by Haldor Lillenas in 1918. Born in Norway, Mr. Lillenas came to the United States as a child. He married Berta Mae Wilson, a songwriter also, and together they traveled extensively, furnishing songs and choirs for many of the leading song leaders in the country, including the noted Charles Alexander. Mr. Alexander found this hymn, among the approximately 4000 that Lillenas wrote, to be particularly useful as a mass choir selection in the great crusades in the early years of this century. And the song has remained popular ever since. The reminder of Christ's "all sufficient grace" that is truly "deeper than the mighty rolling sea" and "higher than the mountain" still moves us to stand in awe each time we sing it in a church service. Contemplate again the "scope of your transgressions" and the forgiveness and love of Christ as He stretches out His hand to you. Praise His precious name as you sing.
And I, in righteousness I will see Your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing Your likeness. Psalm 17:15 The anticipation of seeing her Savior's face and praising Him for redeeming grace was a thrilling thought for blind Fanny Crosby to ponder, for the face of Christ as He opened the gate to heaven would be the first sight her eyes would ever behold. Written in 1891, when she was 71 years of age, Some Day, as Fanny titled her text, was prompted by the final words of a dying pastor friend. If each of us is faithful to the grace, which is given us by Christ, that same grace which teaches us how to live will also teach us how to die. Deeply moved by this thought, Fanny completed the lines in a matter of minutes under a sense of divine inspiration. Of all her many hymn texts, this one always seemed to be her favorite. She called it her heart-song. Saved By Grace was one of the favorite hymns of both D.L. Moody and his music associate, Ira Sankey. In their later campaigns, they used it at nearly every service. As Ira Sankey lay dying, he softly sang this song. Take time to anticipate the moment when you, like Fanny Crosby, will see the face of Christ. Praise Him even now because you have been saved by His redeeming grace. Allow this musical truth to encourage your way and perhaps even share it with another.