The Story Behind “Fairest Lord Jesus”

Fairest Lord Jesus,

Ruler of all nature,

O Thou of God and man the son,

Thee will I cherish,

Thee will I honor,

Thou, my soul’s glory, joy, and crown.

 

Fair are the meadows,

Fairer still the woodlands,

Robed in the blooming garb of spring:

Jesus is fairer,

Jesus is purer,

Who makes the woeful heart to sing.

 

Fair is the sunshine,

Fairer still the moonlight,

And all the twinkling starry host:

Jesus shines brighter,

Jesus shines purer,

Than all the angels heaven can boast.

Munster Gesangbuch, 1677

Translator Unknown

 

This is sometimes called the Crusader’s Hymn, even though it was probably never sung until several hundred years after the Crusades. It may have first been sung by the followers of reformer John Huss, who lived near Prague around 1400. In an anti-Reformation purge, Hussites were expelled from Bohemia and went into Silesia, where they became weavers and cobblers, maintaining their faith in secret. But they had a strong tradition of hymn singing, and the most reliable tradition says that this hymn came from these humble Christians.

The hymn contains no comments on persecution, but only praise to a wonderful Savior. Whoever wrote the hymn was close to nature and adored God’s creation, but recognized that even fairer than the creation is the Creator. This season as we bask in the beauties of all that God has given us to enjoy, we mustn’t forget that Jesus is fairer and purer than all the blooming garb of spring.

From “The One Year Book Of Hymns: 365 Devotional Readings Based On Great Hymns Of The Faith”, by Robert K Brown and Mark R. Norton

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Bible Adventures: “The Rock And The Sand”

Hello boys and girls!

Are you ready to go on more Bible Adventures? Today we are going to listen to a story that the Good King, Jesus told about two houses. One house was built on a rock and one was built on the sand. Which one will last when a storm comes? Let’s listen and see!

When we obey what Jesus says in the Bible, we are like the wise man in the story. No matter what happens we will be strong and no troubles or problems can knock us down. Isn’t that great to know?

Prayer: Ask Jesus to help you to listen and to obey what He says. Thank Him that He can keep you from being knocked down when bad things happen.

The Story Behind “Abide With Me”

  1. Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
    The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
    When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
    Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.
  2. Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
    Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
    Change and decay in all around I see—
    O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
  3. I need Thy presence every passing hour;
    What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
    Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
    Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
  4. I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
    Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
    Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
    I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
  5. Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
    Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
    Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
    In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

        Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847)

 

Henry Lyte coined the phrase “It is better to wear out than to rust out.” And Henry Lyte wore out when he was fifty-four years old, an obscure pastor who labored for twenty-three years in a poor church in a fishing village in Devonshire, England. This hymn, written shortly before his death, was inspired by the words of the two disciples met by Jesus on the road to Emmaus: “Abide with us, [they said,] for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent” (Luke 24:29, KJV).

Note the fourth stanza, which carries such hope for the Christian. As Lyte wrote this, he knew he was dying of tuberculosis and asthma. It was “eventide” for him, darkness was deepening, and he felt very much alone. But he was not alone, and we are not alone even in our darkest times. Our Lord is with us, “the help of the helpless,” the one who never changes, our guide and security. He will never leave us nor forsake us.

From “The One Year Book Of Hymns: 365 Devotional Readings Based On Great Hymns Of The Faith”, by Robert K Brown and Mark R. Norton

“The Greatest Reward”

Here’s an inspiring story told by a teenage girl:

 

It was one of those open house parties–teens smoking and getting drunk. Being a Christian, I knew I probably shouldn’t be there. I had a little voice at the back of my head telling me to get out of there, and fast, but I stayed anyway.

It wasn’t long before I was offered alcohol. Suddenly the voice inside my head became much louder, and I simply said, “No thanks.”

“Oh, don’t be such a baby, Melissa,” said Rachel, my best friend. “Just have a little; it won’t kill you.”

“Yeah, Melissa, you chicken,” said someone in the crowd of people.

It hurt me to hear my best friend trying to make me feel so small and trying to make me do things that were totally against my beliefs. I thought they were against her beliefs, too.

“Rachel, I said no thanks!” I was trying hard to stop myself from crying.

Just then from the back of the room I heard someone start to chant, “Chicken, chicken, chicken,” and then the whole room sort of caught on and everyone started chanting. I so badly wanted the floor to swallow me up and the chanting to stop.

“Come on, Melissa,” Rachel said, “Just take a little; it’s that easy.”

It’s that easy. Hey, I thought, well maybe it is for you and the rest of the people in this room, but not for me.

“Melissa, why don’t you just take a drink?”

“Well, because…because…” I hesitated. “Because I’m a Christian!” I blurted out the words before I could stop myself. Then I burst into tears.

The whole room was silent, and all of a sudden they started laughing at me. I didn’t know what to do, and I was crying uncontrollably. I ran out of that house as fast as I could, barely seeing where I was going. I wanted to run far, far away and never come back.

I suddenly felt very angry. How could you let this happen to me, God? There I was standing up for You and what I believe in, and this is what I get in return. I think You must have made some mistake here.

After a very long Monday of feeling sorry for myself, I was walking through the now empty school hallway when a girl came up to me and said, “Hi.” I was quite surprised, since I remembered she was at the party and witnessed the whole thing.

“I’ve been looking for you the whole day,” she said.

“Really?” I asked. “Why?”

“Well, I know that what happened to you at the party on Saturday night is not something you want to talk about again, but I’m not here to laugh at you, but simply to tell you how much I respect you for what you did. You were such an inspiration to me. I never could have done what you did. You stood up for what you believed and never gave in to temptation, no matter what price you had to pay for it. You, Melissa, are a true Christian, and I hope we can become better friends.”

I remember that day as if it were yesterday. Sarah and I have been close friends ever since. I wouldn’t have wanted that night to happen any other way. Even if this wasn’t the reward I had wanted from God in the beginning, this is the only reward I want now. Making a difference in somebody else’s life is the greatest reward you could ever ask for.

From “Stories For A Teen’s Heart Book 3”, pgs. 117-118

A Thoughtful Little Boy

Hello boys and girls!

Here’s a story my Papa told me. It’s about a little boy and a Christmas present that he gave his mom.

It was during the Christmas season and Jacob and his mom were very sick. Jacob got better but his mom didn’t. He prayed for her and asked Jesus to heal her. Day after day, Jacob did his best in caring for her. After he gave a bowl of soup he wished that he could give his mom something nice for Christmas. But he had no money. Where was he going to get money? He decided to do some jobs that would help him make some.

He shoveled snow for his neighbors and helped with delivering Christmas Trees. But though he worked hard he didn’t have enough money to buy his mom a very special present. What was he going to do? He had two days left before Christmas! As he was helping with delivering the Christmas Trees he thought to himself, These trees are so nice. I wish my mom could have one. When he was done working and was given his pay, he walked home. Tomorrow was Christmas Eve and he had nothing to give to his mother. When he got home he put his coat and boots away and went to check on his mom. She was sleeping soundly in her bed.

He went into the kitchen and saw a broom handle. Then he had an idea. Would you like to know what it was? He took the broom handle and made holes in it. Then the next day he went to the place where he helped with delivering the trees and saw pine boughs and branches on the ground. He used a bag that he brought with him and stuffed them in it. Since he didn’t have to do any jobs that day he secretly worked on his surprise while he took care of his mom. She was doing so well that Jacob knew she would be completely better by Christmas.

That night his mother got out of bed and made dinner for them. Jacob was so happy that he thanked Jesus for healing his mom. He helped her in the kitchen and together they laughed and talked.

After dinner, Jacob thought that it was the perfect time for him to give mom his surprise. He took her to the living room and asked her to close her eyes. When her eyes were closed he went into his room and got out his present. When he came back he placed it in front of his mom and told her to open her eyes. Do you know what it was? It was a homemade Christmas Tree! Jacob had attached the branches to the holes he made in the broom handle and also covered it with boughs. It looked just as good as the Christmas Trees that he saw at his job. His mother smiled and cried tears of joy. She hugged Jacob and thanked him for giving her such a wonderful present.