“Great Is Thy Faithfulness”
July 30, 2015
Early this morning I (Brooksyne) went for a bike ride on our long road and passed a number of farms (three of them Amish) that grow flowers and vegetables commercially. It was a beautiful sight but unfortunately the sun only came out at the end of my ride, thus, I have just this one photo of red Celosia. Cramer’s Posie Patch is growing them in red, maroon, yellow and green. Their flowers are cut and loaded onto trucks for delivery to New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and other major cities.
“Great Is Thy Faithfulness”
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“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him'” (Lamentations 3:19-24).
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.
We enjoy hearing about the travels of our friends as well as looking at their travel photos. At times people will us show their photos on a tiny phone screen but other times by using their larger computer monitors which we prefer and of course some still use the old-fashioned method, prints! However we have learned that one of the most pleasant photo sharing devices is a tablet such as an iPad.
Several weeks ago we were visiting with Jim Weischedel who earlier this month, along with his family, went on a trip through several mountain states beginning in Colorado and traveling up to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Jim shared how awesome his visit to “Old Faithful” was (his photo is to the right) and I told him that would be a good illustration for a spiritual message. We discussed what is probably the most famous song on God’s faithfulness, the powerful hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”.
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above;
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.
Thomas O. Chisholm, who came to faith at age 27, wrote this as a poem in 1923 in consideration of God’s faithfulness over his own lifetime. His health was unstable and he alternated between periods of illness and gainful employment before his retirement and death in 1960. Through the ups and downs he discovered new blessings from God every morning. The text we use today became very precious to him, “His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your Faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Musician William Runyan set the poem to music, but the hymn was little known for several years. Dr. William Houghton, fourth president of Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, discovered it and often led out in this hymn during chapel. It eventually became the unofficial theme song for the Institute. Later it was greatly popularized around the world by none other than George Beverly Shea and the choirs at Billy Graham Crusades.
As mentioned in Chisholm’s biography his lyrics reference the Bible book of Lamentations 3:22-23. This portion of Holy Scripture was written during the fall of Jerusalem. Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, describes the evil acts of mankind in such loathsome detail that the reader walks with him in his despair. In his book of Lamentations Jeremiah vividly portrays the emotions and feelings of those who actually experienced the catastrophe.
Right in the midst of the ruin, as though he were transported into a completely different setting, renewed hope springs up within his heart. Jeremiah looks away from the affliction and ruin and contemplates the infinite mercies of God. His perspective turns from the evil peril that surrounded him to the eternal promises that renewed him. Isn’t that the perspective we all need?
Thine own great presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.
- In the first stanza he writes of God’s unchanging character and unfailing compassions.
- In the second stanza he writes of God’s faithfulness in maintaining the order of His universe.
- In the third stanza he writes of God’s faithfulness in forgiving our sins, providing strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.
Each stanza leads to the great culminating chorus that declares the victorious words of Jeremiah, “Great is Thy faithfulness.”
May we all be transported through prayer and faith from our present difficulty to a peaceful state of mind where we too can confidently and gratefully proclaim this to be our own personal testimony, “Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.”
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, Your order of the universe is ever dependable and precise, never reliant on the will nor power of the humans You created. The morning also brings us word of Your unfailing love, and especially so for those who put their trust in You. We seek to be unwavering in our faith and confident in Your plans for our life as we stand on Your unending promises. Even as we daily experience Your goodness and faithfulness we will be sustained by Your constant presence and guidance in our life since You promise never to leave nor forsake us. We rejoice in Your lovingkindness as we experience Your tender compassions daily. It is because of Your unceasing mercy that we are not consumed, but rather we are saved through the finished work of Jesus Christ. Your faithfulness enables us to rest in Your unfailing love; we are restored by Your forgiveness; we are rescued from our folly; and we are reminded that You will fulfill Your purpose in our lives through Your eternal, enduring love. Amen.
Brooksyne’s Note: As noted above Dr. William Houghton, president of Moody Bible Institute from 1934 to 1946 greatly appreciated the hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”. I never heard this beautiful song until I learned it in chapel during my Bible College years. The lyrics immediately resonated within my spirit and it wasn’t long before I memorized all three verses. When Houghton died, it was sung at his funeral. Coincidentally, I really haven’t planned anything for my funeral service except for this one thing: I’ve made it known to many, especially my family, that I want that hymn to be sung. It is truly the summarization of my Christian walk with Jesus in life and it will be most present in my death as well.
This morning we were again reminded of the blessing of kind neighbors. John stopped by to give us some savoy cabbage and tomatoes (ours are almost ripe). Last night another neighbor gave us a baker’s dozen (13) of fresh Incredible Corn. Just like its name it’s taste is incredible.
“Great Is Thy Faithfulness” Video Homecoming Singers
“Faithful One” Video Brian Doerksen
Faithful one, so unchanging
Ageless one, you’re my rock of peace
Lord of all I depend on you
I call out to you, again and again
I call out to you, again and again
You are my rock in times of trouble
You lift me up when I fall down
All through the storm
Your love is the anchor
My hope is in You alone.
Live cam video of “Old Faithful”
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