Tuesday Hymns: “Poor Sinner, Dejected with Fear”

William Gadsby (1773-1844) was a Baptist pastor who spent most of his days ministering in Manchester, England, and was, also, a prolific hymn writer (The CyberHymnal website lists 284 hymns attributed to Gadsby). He has once again gained popularity because of our Tuesday Hymn of the week, “Poor Sinner, Dejected with Fear.” Indelible Grace has taken a theologically solid old hymn, and released it to a new tune. Not all of Indelible Grace’s tunes are conducive for congregational singing but this one is simple and very singable. I have searched for other tunes connected to this hymn and have been unable to find any.

The hymn paints a picture of the grace that has been poured out upon sinners through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ who “knows and is known by His sheep; They’re His, and He will hold them fast.”

Poor sinner, dejected with fear,
Unbosom thy mind to the Lamb;
No wrath on His brow He does wear,
Nor will He poor mourners condemn;
His arm of omnipotent grace
Is able and willing to save;
A sweet and a permanent peace
He’ll free- ly- and faith- fully give.

Come just as thou art, with thy woe,
Fall down at the feet of the Lamb;
He will not, He cannot say, “Go”,
But surely will take out thy stain
A fountain is opened for sin,
And thousands its virtues have proved
He’ll take thee, and plunge thee therein,
And wash- thee- from filth- in His blood.

The soul that on Jesus relies,
He’ll never, no never deceive;
He freely and faithfully gives
More blessings than we can conceive;
Yea, down to old age He will keep,
Nor will He forsake us at last;
He knows and is known by His sheep;
They’re His- , and He will hold- them fast.

“Old Days Revisited”

(I posted this back in 2011. It is a reminder to me of how God has blessed me greatly in my much too short sixty years.)

This morning I woke up thinking about the Burger Hut in Orange, Texas. It has been closed for years now, but my formative years were spent sitting around the back table with many of my friends, enjoying good food, Dr. Peppers, and hilarity. Of course, I inhaled enough second-hand smoke in that place to rival the Marlboro man, and it was not out of the ordinary for me to eat our modern day’s yearly intake of fat in a twenty-four hour period, especially when a meal included a “Burro.” (The “Burro” was a huge burrito filled with meat [I never asked what kind], refries, Spanish rice, covered with copious amounts of chili, grease, cheese, and jalapeño peppers. And, since I weighed in at a sopping wet 155 pounds, I could eat two of them. Such activity today would require a visit to ICU.)

These memories remain (I can almost taste the “Burro” to this day–in my mind, not because of heart burn) because those days were special to me. It was then that I was learning about life, relationships, and most importantly, about God. Although the church that I grew up in was definitely program driven (I have often wondered if it was a good thing that I kissed a girl for the first time on the church bus during youth choir tour—I still think fondly of red-headed Sally) and more stress was put on Flake’s Formula for Sunday School growth than on theology; it was there where I was confronted with the Gospel, was called to faith by God’s Spirit, and was given a love for God’s Word that has never waned in these last 40 years.

I did not deserve to experience God’s grace, but I will be forever grateful that God is not only holy, just, and a consuming fire, but that He is also a God of mercy and grace, who through Christ’s keeping of the Law, and sacrificial death, provided the means for my salvation for “we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” (Galatians 2:16)

This is the pre-Burger Hut, Zacks, when it was still just a drive in. Everyone who grew up in Orange, Texas has some Zack's memories. Mr. Jacobs put up with a lot from us.

This is the pre-Burger Hut, Zacks, when it was still just a drive in. Everyone who grew up in Orange, Texas has some Zack’s memories. Mr. Jacobs put up with a lot from us.

“Ordinary Lives”

I suppose as one gets older he begins to look back on events in his life that God has used to mold him into the man that he has come to be. One of those times in my life was the summer after my senior year in high school when I worked for the Hilliards, who operated the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company in Orange, Texas. It was the first “real” job that I had other than mowing grass as a boy, working in my brother-in-law’s rice field in high school, and delivering flowers for Arthur Black’s flower shop.

My first few days on the job were spent keeping the conveyer belt of the bottle washer full of empty glass bottles so that we could bottle thousands of bottles of Dr. Pepper, Triple XXX Root Beer, and Diet Dr. Pepper. When I didn’t quit after experiencing that torture, I was chosen to be a “helper” on the delivery trucks. It was there where I learned many lessons of life that I have carried with me to this day (not to mention many new vocabulary words that I have chosen not to make a part of my everyday life). One of the drivers seemed to make it his mission to make my life as miserable as possible. He was as vile as one could imagine and rather lazy which meant that I had to do most of the work while he spent time “shooting the bull” with the store owners as we made our deliveries.

However, one of the other drivers will always have a special place in my heart. His name was Lewis Norris. He was a humble man who loved the Lord very much. Although our theology didn’t agree completely (He went to the Church of the Nazarene) we had many discussions about what it meant to live the Christian life in a fallen world. He lived what he believed, “worked hard for his money,” trusted in the Holy Scriptures, and, witnessed, without being obnoxious, to “the hope that [was] in [him]” through Christ. I am grateful to have known him, and am sorry that I did not let him know how much his faithful life meant to me as a young Christian.

I am sure that there are many Lewis Norrises out there in the world doing the “ordinary things” that are quietly used by God to sanctify the lives of those with whom they come in contact; even the pimply faced 18 year olds who ride the Dr. Pepper trucks with them.

Thank you, Lewis, for your “ordinary” life. I look forward to thanking you in person in the “new heavens and the new earth” some day.

Dr. Pepper Bottling Company in Orange, Texas

Dr. Pepper Bottling Company in Orange, Texas

Tuesday Hymns: “Almighty God, Thy Lofty Throne”

The Trinity Hymnal is full of hymns that come to us from The Psalter which was published by The United Presbyterian Board of Publication in 1912. One of those hymns is our Tuesday Hymn of the Week, Almighty God, Thy Lofty Throne. It is a metrical version of Psalm 89:14-18 and speaks to us of God’s reign over all things from His heavenly throne. An old pastor friend of mine, who is in heaven now, Lester White, used to say, “God sits high, and sees low.” It is comforting to know that the God who rules over all things, also knows all things. He makes no mistakes, and is always working for His own eternal glory and our eternal good. As Romans 8:28 reminds us, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

It is often sung to the tune, Winchester New.

Almighty God, thy lofty throne
Has justice for its cornerstone,
And shining bright before thy face
Are truth and love and boundless grace.

With blessing is the nation crowned
Whose people know the joyful sound;
They in the light, O Lord, shall live,
The light thy face and favor give.

Thy name with gladness they confess,
Exalted in thy righteousness;
Their fame and might to thee belong,
For in thy favor they are strong.

All glory unto God we yield,
Jehovah is our Help and Shield;
All praise and honor we will bring
To Israel’s Holy One, our King.