The words to this poem were written by an evangelist who held tent campaigns from about 1896 to 1910 as best I could find. Milan Bertrand Williams was born in 1860 and lived 81 years. The poem was set to music by Charlie Tillman and copyrighted as renewed in 1921 in one hymnal I saw at hymnary.org.
The refrain has been on my mind for two days now and unrelenting! You know how a person gets a jingle in mind and it won’t go away? That’s what this refrain is doing to me; it is good thing. The refrain is: “Blessed book, precious book, On thy dear old tear-stained leaves I love to look; thou art sweeter day by day, as I walk the narrow way that leads at last to that bright home above. My recall to the rest of the song came very slowly as my 1943 processor is getting slower every year!
Finally I looked in my two hymnbooks and couldn’t find it; yet, I recalled singing it as a choir special years ago. YEARS ago. Thanks for computers and search engine success, I found the title by the first line of the refrain. Amazing. When I at last had the title, I found it as hymn number 377 in Soul-Stirring Songs and Hymns Sword of the Lord Publishing, Copyright 1972. Relief. According to hymnary.org the song was no longer found in hymnbooks after 1977.
Last year I endowed my son with my first Bible. It was a gift to me from a sweet friend in 1960 and it journeyed with me through Bible College. When I graduated from Pillsbury Baptist Bible College in 1966 I received a better bound Scofield Study Bible. I still have it. I carried that one for ten years, went to a Thompson Chain Bible, leather-bound which I would still be using as my “carry” Bible if I did not need larger print. With all that said, here is the poem:
There’s a dear and precious book,
Though it’s worn and faded now,
Which recalls those happy days of long ago,
When I stood at Mother’s knee,
With her hand upon my brow,
And I hear her voice in gentle tones and low. (Refrain)
Then she read the stories o’er,
Of those mighty men of old,
And of Joseph and of Daniel and their trials,
Of little David bold,
Who became a king at last,
Of Satan and his many wicked wiles. (refrain)
Then she read of Jesus’ love,
As he blessed the children dear,
How He suffered, bled, and died upon the tree,
Of his heavy load of care,
Then she dried my flowing tears
With her kisses as she said it was for me. (refrain)
Well those days are past and gone,
But the memory lingers still
And the Dear Old Book has been my guide;
And I seek to do His will,
As my mother taught me then,
And ever in my heart His words abide.
Blessed Book, precious book,
On thy dear old tear-stained leaves I love to look,
Thou art sweeter day by day,
As I walk the narrow way
That leads at last to that bright home above.
A good leather-bound Bible in a Bible Book store today will cost about 75 dollars. If it is a study Bible that is leather-bound, even more. No price can be attached, however, to a well-worn, loved, and carried Bible. Certainly no price can be associated in dollar amount for what we may have to do in order to be able to continue practicing its precepts. When I pass from the halls of this earth to the corridors of Heaven, I hope that the Bibles in my house will be a sought-after treasure by my descendents. There are pages with tear wrinkles here and there. And yes, a few coffee stains too!
Unfamiliar with this song and tune? You can find it at http://cyberhymnal.org
John, chapters 20 and 21 is a record of the responses of those who were witnesses to the resurrection. Yes, it does make a difference to you and me.
Peter rushed right into the sepulcher and had lots of questions. That was Peter’s way. I think the word we use today might be motor mouth. John was calm and introspective; John took the time to think things through. John was also the one at the last supper who stayed close to Jesus. Thomas was very deliberate in making decisions. Some preachers describe him as doubting Thomas. I see him as a “just show me the facts” sort of guy.
So we see here that Peter probably talked without thinking much ahead. He took a piece of news and ran with it; why bother with research! John took time to piece the puzzle together; let’s think this through. Thomas had to have facts; before he decided anything he made columns of pros and cons.
Jesus met the disciples on the shore after a fishing expedition. When he called out to them Peter recognized the voice and of course, took immediate action by swimming to shore. John, also a fisherman calmly brought the boat to shore, along with a full net of fish. Thomas probably wasn’t there; he wasn’t a fisherman disciple. He was probably somewhere else driving a hard bargain with someone.
The breakfast on the shore conversation turned to other things among them the subject of how Peter would die. Peter then asked the question of Jesus, “What about John?” Always a question. Jesus politely but pointedly responded, “What is that to thee?” In my terms, I think he said politely, “That is none of your business.”
Jesus loved Peter. Jesus loved John. Jesus loved Thomas. Jesus loves me. Jesus loves you.
Let’s be cautious about passing judgment on the responses of others to situations. I see too many times when someone is criticized for a particular reaction when the reaction was absolutely normal for that person. It must be a problem from, well, forever. Paul addresses it in II Corinthians 10:12 when he warned about comparing ourselves among ourselves. It is so important to remember that Jesus loves us all–warts and all. Oh, that we would be that generous. Make it a goal to live in The Shepherd’s Presence. Just be yourself; everyone else is taken.
Last Wednesday I had the wonder of listening to a retired Navy pilot who flew on and off air craft carriers during the 80’s and 90’s. He began his presentation with, “I have taken off 784 times successfully, and landed 784 times successfully. Without that ratio, I wouldn’t be here.”
He went from a pilot to an even more responsible position of “Air Boss” and we saw footage that had been shot for a CBS presentation that had him in the film. He really did have “bragging rights” and was a delightful speaker who could give many details and hold attention.
As I listened, my curiosity rose on how they get up in the air so quickly without falling in the water. Of course, he answered my unasked question. The jet, weighing an enormous, gigantic amount is catapulted by steam pressure. A single sailor in the belly of that carrier presses a button that sends the plane into the wild blue yonder. How fast? Fast! The jet propels to 180 mph by the distance of 300 feet. Later, the speaker joined my little table of four with his lunch. It would not have mattered what I was eating at that point; it was who was eating with us!
“How much time does it take to propel to 180 mph in 300 feet,” I asked.
His response: “About two seconds.”
As I was returning home, I wondered just how fast are we going to travel out of graves of sundry kinds when Jesus returns? I Corinthians 15:52 tells me, “. . . in a moment. . .” What a day that will be when Jesus comes in the sky! Are you ready?
D-Day is always very sobering to me. Yesterday I met a gentleman whose father is buried in France, a soldier who gave his life for the cause of a free world. This morning I went in search of a few numbers to share with my friends at Hickory Creek Retirement Center and found the short message that General Eisenhower shared just prior to the invasion. He ended the short speech with this:
“And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”
Later, it was under the Eisenhower Administration that “under God” was added to our Pledge of Allegiance.
I was one year old on D-Day. It is always a sobering day for me. I want to thank those of my readers who have a father, brother, uncle, or grandfather buried in France. They purchased great freedom for me and tears roll down my cheeks as I type in this message. I thank them from the very bottom of my heart.
If you want to hear Eisenhower’s words there is a recording at http://www.army.mil/d-day/
This is my lesson for Hickory Creek tomorrow. You may question: These are older people, why teach this? I teach this because it is the Word of God and every part of it is important. I needed all of the background to make application to Psalm 1. I hope that you find this nugget of truth helpful too. It is never too late to begin a true walk with the Lord.
II Kings 11, 12 and II Chronicles 24, Psalm 1
Background: After the death of King Solomon, son of King David the nation of Israel split. The Nation was divided over taxation and leadership values. God had made a covenant promise that only family of David would be kings in Jerusalem. The Northern part of the kingdom followed someone who was not of the family of David. So, in 933 BC the capital of the nation, Jerusalem maintained a son of Solomon, Rehoboam and went by the name of Judah.
Lesson Core:In my guesstimate Jehoiada was born sometime during the reign in Judah of good King Asa. He was a priest who had a position of authority. He had matured under good kings that followed Asa, and also weathered the ungodly leadership of 2 bad kings. When King Ahaziah died, the Queen mother, Athaliah took the throne. To make sure that no son could take the throne, she ordered then all slain! (Nice grandmother, huh?)
She and her bloody soldiers missed the baby. His aunt, Jehosheba sneaked baby Joash out of the nursery and took him to the temple. There, she and her husband, Jehoiada, raised Joash. On his seventh birthday, Jehoiada had enough of Athaliah’s treachery and idol worship, and crowned little seven-year old Joash King.
Joash walked in the ways of the Lord. (II Kings 12:2) Joash ordered reconstruction in the Temple and resisted idol worship. Then something happened. Jehoiada was 130 years old, and died. Without the guidance of Jehoiada, Joash soon gave in to the pleas of some of population of Judah, and allowed idol worship. It appears to me that Joash never made his own value decisions. He walked in the ways of the Lord because Jehoiada expected it of him. Joash found pleasure in following a man, a godly man, but it does not appear that he found pleasure to walk in the way of the Lord by his own deliberate choice.
Conclusion: King Joash died a sad death and without honor. Woe unto us when we fail to form our own personal convictions. Psalm 1 is a psalm of contrast. The first three verses describe a person whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and verses 4 and 5 describe the way of the ungodly. Verse 6 summarizes: “For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”
Don’t be a Christian in name only. Be true. Be true to yourself. Be true to the Lord.
Have you ever been in such a deep slumber as a Christian that people watching you might not even know you belonged to Christ? You didn’t pray, or read your Bible, or tell anyone about Jesus. You went to church. You sang. You smiled. But, inside, you were comatose. Here’s a “Honey Hamster” story for you.
When Honey sleeps he is nearly comatose. Really. I never noticed that about Hank because Hank mostly slept in his little hamster hut made of twine. Honey tried sleeping under his log hideout but that lasted only a day or two. He likes his corner. I have never seen him in action but if I level his corner when I clean the habitat, it take about two days and he has his bed all made again. He piles that bedding up high and burrows down into it.
Since it has been warmer, he sleeps closer to the top and for all the world, he looks dead. (I do know, now, what a dead hamster looks like.) He is barely breathing and with his longer teddy bear kind of coat, his breathing is not detectable. If I stand and stare at him, he must feel my eyes because all of a sudden he will raise his head, glare at me momentarily and sigh. Yes, sigh. Then he once again closes his eyes and resumes his comatose state.
I wish that I could positively say I have never been a comatose Christian. That would be a lie. There have been a few times when I dismayed friends but when they showed that they cared, I glared at them and hoped they would go away. Those loving people that God has allowed in my pathway backed off. They prayed. They wrote me a little note to encourage me. And they were waiting when I came out of semi-hibernation. They fed me little treats from God’s Word much the same as I feed Honey a sliver of walnut.
Before I knew it, those dear friends and loved ones had me running on the hamster wheel of life full speed ahead. Just the same as Honey will do about 10:00 tonight.
How I thank God for those who have stood quietly beside me. God has blessed me with some really wonderful friends. They have come and gone throughout my many years—some short term, some have moved and I don’t see them often, some are long-lasting encouragers who are still very much a part of my life.
Best of all, Jesus promised to Shepherd me and He has never failed—not even when I glared at Him, He did not go away. The promise is trustworthy: “. . .I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)
Honey has my care and presence even when he is in deep slumber.
“… apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5, NIV)
It’s very hard to take those words seriously. After all, at first glance it doesn't seem possible that we can't do anything without Christ.
It seems to me that a lot of people do lots of good things without Christ? Anyone, even an atheist, can be kind, pay his suppliers on time, tell their boss the truth, visit the sick, befriend a lonely colleague, and do quality work.
Impact Player: Leaving a lasting legacy on and off the Field, is an autobiography by Bobby Richardson. Tyndale Publishers, 2012. 283 pages and a photo section.
The first book, The Bobby Richardson Story, 1965, Revell, was also a first-hand account of this New York Yankee second baseman. It is much smaller, and now found only as second-hand books by sellers on places such as eBay and Amazon.com.
Bobby Richardson, along with Al Worthington, was known for his clean living and excellent major league playing ability. The two did not mix easily in the late 1950’s and into the 1970’s. With thanks to players like Richardson and Worthington, we now have clean-living options for professional sports. After his retirement from baseball, Richardson tells of the efforts he put into Baseball Chapel, Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Those contributions are part of the book.
Impact Player is captivating if the reader enjoys baseball. Otherwise, the book has detailed many events in Richardson’s life that could help younger athletes understand the importance of giving place to those who made a difference in achievement. In places the book becomes tedious even to those readers, like myself, who enjoy the game of baseball. I found myself flipping past pages (I read it on my Kindle™) of World Series play-by-play innings.
Once I found myself at the point of how Richardson was instrumental in the spiritual lives of other great Yankee players, my interest perked up quickly. The last chapters of the book detail how Richardson was used of God to lead Mickey Mantle to saving faith in Jesus. Richardson, himself, conducted Mantle’s funeral. With humility and grace the book also points out spiritual struggles that the Richardsons faced in marriage and family.
I highly recommend this book to men of all ages. It encloses challenges to men in particular. I enjoyed it from the standpoint of my personal enjoyment of the sport called baseball. I put this book alongside books by Dungy, and my favorite, Higher Calling by Rick Husband. How’s that for well-rounded biography? Baseball, football, and an astronaut!
I give this book at least four stars; let’s make it 4.8 stars just because of some of the pages I flipped past!
The Christian Radio station I most listen to does not carry these broadcasts. I get the Facebook posts on a schedule I can’t figure out. Here is today’s 330 word composition that is packed with homespun wisdom. I’ll never figure out why people make things to difficult to understand with lots of flowery words when the plain spoken words are best, (in my opinion, of course).
From “Love Worth Finding” Adrian Rogers, long time pastor in Memphis, TN Pastor Rogers has been in Heaven since 2005 but his words still speaks from the pages of his broadcasts.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” The Lord is the only one we can put our full trust in. Do you find it difficult to trust in the LORD, especially with all your heart? Do you have a half-hearted trust? Do you want me to tell you why? You may not like what you’re going to hear, but…it’s because you don’t love the LORD. You see, you can’t trust a person you don’t love.
Have you ever had anyone come up to you and say, “Hey, will you do something for me?” What’s your first question? “Well, what is it?” And they say, “Never mind what it is. Just trust me.” Will you do it? No. But suppose my wife comes to me, and she says, “Adrian, will you do something for me?” I say, “What is it, Joyce?” She says, “Never mind. Just trust me.” I know her enough, I love her enough, I know she loves me enough that she would not do anything to harm me or put me in a position that would not be for my welfare. And I could say, “I’ll do it.” Why? Because I love her! It’s hard to trust someone you don’t love. Why don’t you love Him? Because you don’t know Him. Friend, if you knew Him, you’d love Him because He’s altogether lovely. He is altogether trustworthy. The people who don’t love Him are those who don’t know Him. Why don’t we know Him? Because we’re not spending time with Him. You can’t love someone you don’t spend time with. You can’t know someone you don’t spend time with. But as we come to know Him, we come to love Him. And as we come to love Him, we come to trust Him. And as we come to trust Him, we come to obey Him. And as we obey Him, we are blessed by Him.
Honey and I are beginning to bond. Here is post #1 of others to come!
I know, I should learn how to insert pictures. I have not taken a picture of Honey yet because sometimes he is difficult to see. He is that little piece of fluffy fur curled up in his favorite sleeping corner. I named him “Honey” because he is honey colored, a solid coat with no spots. He and I are in a period of adjustment.
Uncle Bill’s Pet Center is very firm about not feeding hamsters anything other than the seed category. Walnuts are seeds. Since I tamed Hank by offering him walnut slices, I thought Honey might do the same. Ah, Honey can be bribed! After only two days of offering Honey a walnut sliver, he is already “asking” for a treat.
Jack, my grandson’s hamster, Hank, my former hamster, and Honey are just like people: they all have a different personality. Jack likes to escape. In fact, he escaped last week—again. This time he munched on Kevin’s music! Hank liked security. Honey builds a sleeping nest that is sky high! He keeps piling up the bedding into one corner; then he sleeps on top of it. Jack buries himself in his exterior wheel. Hank liked his hut.
I like them all: Jack, Hank, Honey. God made us all with our unique likes and dislikes. Even identical twins, I am told, have a unique and different finger print. What is absolutely astounding is that God knows all about us on an individual basis. God knows us better than we know ourselves. Psalm 139:2 tells me that “. . . Thou understandest my thoughts afar off.”
I look at my pet and wonder, “What is he thinking?” God looks at me and says, “I know what Karyl is thinking.” I uniquely belong to God; God belongs uniquely to me. I know Him as my Savior. Do you?