Published July 15, 2014

Paul's Epistle...
"Hymn Favorites"

Last weekend's broadcast, as you heard, was an all-hymns edition. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and, from comments I've been hearing, a lot of you did, as well.

The old hymns seem timeless somehow. Perhaps it's because we grew up singing them in church. But perhaps it's simply because they so faithfully bear the timeless Gospel message. Many of these classic hymns were birthed in the hearts of the writers as they went through difficult times in their lives, and found comfort and encouragement in the words of Scripture that they then incorporated into their songs.

Recently I asked if you had a favorite hymn – and why it's special to you. Here are a few of the responses I received:

"One of my all-time favorites is "I Sing The Mighty Power Of God." This hymn speaks to the awesomeness of God, even in the created universe, and even more so in man (and woman)." – Gene Ross

"‘It Is Well With My Soul' is my favorite hymn. It speaks to me in so many ways. God is always there no matter the situation." – Karen Dye

"Paul, my favorite hymn is ‘Does Jesus Care,' [as was sung] by Guy Penrod and the late George Beverly Shea. I love this hymn because I know He cares, for sure. I couldn't tell you how many times He has cared and brought me through so much. I get myself in trouble and He is always there to bail me out, so to speak. If I didn't have Jesus in my life, I wouldn't be here. I would be lost, and none of us want that. Yes, Paul, Jesus does care, I know He cares!" – Jan Hawes

"My favorite hymn for years has been ‘In The Garden' because it always reminds me of the fact that there is a special place where I can go to be near the Lord any time, day or night, rain or shine." – David Wilson

"‘Blessed Assurance,' because through Christ I have that Blessed Assurance that I am saved and forgiven." – Elaine Harcourt

"This morning I woke early and was reviewing in my mind and spirit the words of the hymn I first heard in 1956 just after we had come home from Africa. Someone in our church home (Sapperton Baptist in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada) shared the story and words of ‘How Great Thou Art.' As I ‘said' the words over and over in my head...I was lifted in my heart again to what an awesome God we have and what a price He paid so that we humans could rightfully and truly enjoy the created world He has provided for us. Yet we stumble around in our little worlds, missing up everything He has created and provided for us humans. How it must grieve His heart. Lord, I repent of my selfish efforts to try to ‘make it' on my own. Lord, more of You, more of You.... How Great Thou Art!" – William Faulkner

"When my first husband was killed in an accident in 1988, I was totally lost and did not really care if I also died. I did a lot of praying and God heard my prayers. Everywhere I went or listened to the radio, I heard ‘Because He Lives' by Bill & Gloria Gaither. I knew God was speaking to me. I had four wonderful daughters to live for, also. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. I am remarried to a wonderful man and have recently lost a daughter to cancer. I know, because He lives, I can face tomorrow." – Joyce Wagner

"One of my favorite hymns is ‘Mansion Over The Hilltop.' I love the words, but it is so special because my husband (he lives with Jesus now) had C.O.P.D. (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) ...he would sometimes panic when he was having trouble breathing. I would sing this song to him and it would calm him down. God is so good!! Sometimes it makes my cry when they sing this song because I miss him, but it always makes me smile knowing I will see him again one day in that ‘mansion over the hilltop.'" – Barbara Summerhill

"I always had trouble forgiving myself for things I had done. I could forgive others, but not me. Then one Sunday, just a few years ago, we sang an old hymn that I had sung hundreds of times in my life, but suddenly the third verse of ‘It Is Well With My Soul' took on a new meaning:
      My sin – oh, the bliss of this glorious tho't!
      My sin – not in part, but the whole
      Is nailed to His cross and I bear it no more,
      Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!"

Donna Goodrich
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Thanks to all of you who shared these stories about your favorite hymns. God is obviously still using them today in very special ways to encourage, reassure and bless the lives of those who have accepted Him and who love the message these hymns so effectively bear.

- Paul

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