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Monday, September 7, 2015

Monday Morning Devo - Abide with Me

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Psalms 96:1-2, NKJV

Sometimes when we sing an old hymn in church, I find myself wondering what inspired the songwriters to write their particular song. The words reach so deep, if you pay attention to them rather than just singing the words. So--just in case some of you wondered too--I'm going to devote the next few weeks to talking about the writers and the songs. I'll also post a link to where you can hear the song, whenever I can find it.

The first one I'll tell you about was written by Reverend Henry Francis Lyte in 1847. He had been diagnosed with tuberculosis, and he had just preached his farewell sermon on September 4. He wanted people to accept that one day they all would pass from this life, reminding them that those who had joined with Christ in life could also embrace His death. He said, "I stand here among you today, as alive from the dead, if I may hope to impress it upon you, and induce you to prepare for that solemn hour which must come to all, by a timely acquaintance with the death of Christ."

After the service, he walked alone on the beach for a while, then returned home and retired to his room where he penned the verses.

He would move from the damp and cold climes of Devonshire to Italy where he hoped he would recover, and he revised the verses and sent them to his wife. He only got as far as Nice, France before the disease caught up with him, and ten weeks after writing the song, he crossed the bridge into Heaven.

He left us with this lovely, comforting, and encouraging hymn:

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