Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hide Thou Me

I know I’m not alone when I quote this phrase from a favorite old gospel hymn, Hide Thou Me:

Sometimes I feel discouraged,
and I think my work’s in vain.
I’m tempted oft(en) to murmur,
to grumble and complain.

Sound familiar? Life can be so hard sometimes, can’t it? And, it can be just as hard to refrain from grumbling and complaining about it. This phrase has been on my mind more times than I can count, especially during these past few months. But, thankfully, this is not how it has to end. The next phrase of the song says:

But, then I think of Jesus and all He’s done for me.
Then I cry, “Oh, Rock of Ages, hide Thou me.”

God never said we would be exempt from difficult times. However, He did promise to be with us every step of the way. So, instead of complaining about WHY life is so hard, and WHY God hasn’t eased our discomfort, we should be taking refuge in Him, allowing Him to shelter us from the storms. It is only then that peace will come from within. 

Psalm 18:2 - The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

There are many hymns that have been written around the Lord being our rock. The traditional hymn Rock of Ages was written by Augustus M. Toplady in 1776, when he took refuge among some limestone rocks in England, during a violent thunderstorm. He was the author of several different hymns, but Rock of Ages seems to have been the most popular of them all.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee.

Click here for the tune, lyrics, and more info on this hymn:

Later in the 1800's, Fanny Crosby, another popular hymn writer, wrote the first version of Hide Thou Me, which also talks about our refuge in the “Rock of Ages.”

In Thy cleft, O Rock of Ages, hide Thou me!
When the fitful tempest rages, hide Thou me!
Where no mortal arm can sever
From my heart Thy love forever,
Hide me, O Thou Rock of Ages, safe in Thee!

Click here for the tune, lyrics, and more info on this hymn:
HIDE THOU ME - Fanny Crosby

In 1926, another version of Hide Thou Me (mentioned at the start) was written by L.R. Tolbert and Thoro Harris. I had a difficult time finding information around this song, but did find it has been recorded by several musical artists throughout the years, including Elvis Presley, The Cathedrals, Iris Dement, The Melody Boys Quartet, and many others. My guess is it’s because people can relate to this song in a personal way. It lets us know we are not alone in feeling discouraged, but also gives us hope and reassurance during the trials we face.

The version of Hide Thou Me which I have enjoyed the most over these past few months is sung by The Gaither Vocal Band from their album, “I Do Believe.” This video below shows them singing the hymn with great harmony and passion. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Life of a Flower

With Spring under way, we are seeing beautiful flowers popping up all around us. I thought this would be the perfect time to share this little story I wrote in my younger years. Keep in mind as you read it, I am not much of a flower expert, and I don't believe I've ever actually seen a green flower. But, there is a point to the story, I promise. Read through it to the end and you will see what I mean....


Once there was a blue flower that sat all alone in a big field. It was an old flower, yet very beautiful. It had a lot of exciting stories to share with anyone who wanted to listen. But, no one was interested in the old flower's stories. So, there it sat with all it's beauty, neglected and alone.

In another part of the field, there was a little yellow flower. This flower also sat alone, but for different reasons. It was a late bloomer and no one thought it had any value. Everyone who passed by would either ignore it or taunt it. The yellow flower grew very lonely and began to wilt with sorrow.

One day, someone came along and noticed the two flowers. He cared about both of them and decided to do something to help them. Very gently, he uprooted the blue flower, carried it over to the yellow flower, then replanted it. He hoped the two would keep each other company and become close friends.

Right away, the blue flower wanted to become friends and started telling it's stories to the little yellow flower. At first, the yellow flower was skeptical and wondered why something so beautiful wanted anything to do with it. As time went by, the yellow flower became more trusting. Soon, it loved every inch of the blue flower's petals and wanted to hear the same stories over and over again. Yes, the yellow flower finally allowed the blue flower to reach out and touch it's heart. When that happened, the yellow flower changed to a lovely shade of green and began to bloom and grow. The flowers were never alone from that day on.

(Now, go back and read the story again. But, this time, think of the blue flower as being the Bible, God's holy Word.)

-Victoria L. Stankus

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Worthy of Praise at Any Time of the Year

Last Sunday was Easter Sunday (also known as Resurrection Day). My family and I had a very nice day as we celebrated what the Lord has done for us, and especially the empty tomb. Because of what He has done for us, because of His victory in overcoming sin and death, our Lord is worthy of glory, honor and praise at ANY time of the year - not just at Easter - even during those times when we are feeling overwhelmed and discouraged by the things we are dealing with in this life.

Chris Tomlin wrote this song (below) to help us know we can praise and worship the Lord, even during our deepest, darkest moments in life. The grave has been emptied and, because of that, we have the greatest hope of a new life to come.

Take a moment to worship now, and to thank Him for His love for you....