How Great Thou Art

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"O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
  How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
 with sorrow in my heart every day?
  How long will my enemy have the upper hand? Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
  Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die. Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, 'We have defeated him!”'  Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall. But I trust in your unfailing love.
 I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord
    because he is good to me." - Psalm 13

When down in the dumps, I find “hymn therapy” a great way of treating what ails me. Humming, singing, or simply listening to one of the great Christian hymns, nourishes my soul with God-prescribed salve. This isn’t just a psychological lift; it’s a biblical practice for nurturing the soul, as we see in Psalm 13, where the psalmist begins with the words: “How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day?” and ends proclaiming, “I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.”

My own appreciation for the hymns has increased as I’ve learned and written about the stories behind them. Men and women, with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, have penned wonderful words and written some of the most beautiful music ever written. Enjoy the story behind "How Great Thou Art".

"While recovering from a serious mining accident in Oklahoma, Vernon Spencer began playing music at a local bar called the Bucket of Blood. He enjoyed the work so much he hopped on a train to Hollywood in 1931, hoping to make it big. Tim Spencer became his stage name, and he joined Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers to become one of the most popular groups in America.

Tim married to a Christian woman named Velma, who prayed earnestly for him, especially while he was on the road. He needed all the prayer he could get, for his lifestyle was epitomized by the title of one of his hits: 'Cigarettes, Whiskey, and Wild Wild Women.' Then one day in a hotel in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, Tim opened a letter from his wife. Included was a verse of Scripture. Picking up a nearby Gideon Bible, Tim read the passage and realized he needed a change in his life. In prayer he gave his life to Christ.

Tim Spencer later established a Gospel Music publishing company, Manna Music, and a few years later his college-age son, Hal, brought him a song from a student missionary conference. Tim contacted the author of the words, Stuart Hine, and published the song. It became one of the most beloved hymns of the 20th century. And that’s how the author of 'Cigarettes, Whiskey, and Wild Wild Women' became the publisher who helped introduce the world to 'How Great Thou Art.'"

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"How Great Thou Art"
-- Songwriter: Stuart Keene Hine
© Capitol Christian Music Group

O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made.
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art.

And when I think of God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art.

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And lead me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow with humble adoration
And then proclaim, my God, how great Thou art.

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art.

Prayer: 
God of wisdom and love, giver of all good things, we thank you for your loving-kindness, And for your constant care over all creation. We bless you for the gift of life, for your guiding hand upon us, and your sustaining love within us. We bless you for Jesus Christ, your Son, our Savior, for the living presence of your Spirit, for your Church, the body of Christ, and all the means of grace. In our weakness, you are our strength; in our darkness, light; in our sorrows, comfort and peace. From everlasting to everlasting you are our God: Father, Son and Holy spirit, one God glorified for ever. Amen.
Date: 
Mar 5 2018