PETER MARSHALL

(born May 27, 1902)

Peter_Marshall

Peter Marshall

There was no trace of light that night from moon nor stars. On that coal black evening, 22-year-old Peter Marshall took a shortcut across the moors, trying to avoid a limestone quarry. Rising above the sound of a slight wind, he heard a voice call his name. Peter paused and asked who it was. Only the wind answered. So Peter continued. He again heard in a compelling tone, “Peter!” This time in stopping, he stumbled to the ground. He felt around before standing to discover that the mysterious voice had prevented him from falling to his death into the quarry.

Peter spent his life trying to understand God’s voice and to make it clear to others. He moved from his native Scotland to the United States in 1927. After graduating from seminary, he pastored churches in Georgia where his preaching filled the pews. While leading Westminister Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, he met and married Catherine Wood.

As Catherine Marshall, she would later write her husband’s biography, A Man Called Peter (which was made into a Hollywood movie in 1955) and books containing his sermons and prayers. They moved to New York, then to Washington D.C. where Peter pastored large congregations, also serving as the U.S. Senate Chaplain from 1945-1947. He became famous for his prayers that opened sessions of the Senate.

Peter died from a heart attack on January 4, 1949.

Favorite Peter Marshall quotes——————————————————–

“It’s what one does after the parade is over that counts.”

“Keep me from unkind words and from unkind silences.”

“May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.”

“God will not permit any troubles to come upon us, unless He has a specific plan by which great blessing can come out of the difficulty.”

“The proof of how real Jesus knew hell to be is that He came to earth to save us from it.” 

Resources———————————————————————–

` You can hear audio versions of a few of Peter’s sermons  (in his strong Scottish accent) at Sermonaudio.com.

` Find clips and the full-length Hollywood movie of A Man Called Peter on YouTube.

Bibliography————————————————————————————————————–

  • Larsen, Timothy, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2003.
  • Marshall, Catherine. A Man Called Peter. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1951.

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ELISHA HOFFMAN’S 180th BIRTHDAY

  Born MAY 7, 1839

Elisha Hoffman

Elisha Hoffman, author of more than 2,000 hymns, wrote songs for the church in an era when most churches preferred something different from today. Yet God continues to honor the results of Elisha’s faithful service.

EDUCATION AND ENDURANCE

Elisha was born in Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania. Following a public education in Philadelphia, he attended Union Seminary in New Berlin. In 1868, he received ordination into the Presbyterian Church.

Like the prophet whose name he bears, Elisha was not a quitter. He pastored in Ohio, Illinois and Michigan, remaining 11 years in Cabery, Illinois followed by 33 years in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

LASTING CONTRIBUTIONS TO CHRISTIANITY

Elisha also worked for the Evangelical Association’s publishing house (Cleveland, Ohio) for 11 years. He edited 50 songbooks and wrote his 2,000-plus  hymns. More than half a dozen of his songs remain popular today. Like their author, the songs have an enduring quality that encourages us and inspires us in our service to God.

The following information covers three of his lasting hymns, each written in a different decade of the 1800’s. I’ll describe each song, tell why it matters and examine its longevity.

“ARE YOU WASHED IN THE BLOOD?”    1878

In both evangelistic crusades and local pulpits of that day, sermons focused more directly on Jesus shedding His blood for our sins. The hymn’s opening line asks, “Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power? Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?” It goes on to remind us what should be our response to Jesus’ blood covering our sins. The second stanza asks, “Are you walking daily by the Savior’s side?” The third stanza ponders, “When the Bridegroom cometh will your robes be white?”

The song’s central image connects Jesus’ death for sins to the Old Testament sacrificial lamb. John the Baptist introduced Jesus as “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). The apostle Peter said our salva-tion was purchased “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” ( I Peter 1:19). The song matters because it reminds us that Jesus died for our sins and that we must respond to His vicarious death.

In some religious venues, the cross is sanitized and hymns about Jesus’ blood are ignored. Elisha’s song survives today in hymn-singing churches that keep Jesus’ sacrificial death their central doctrine. It’s kept alive outside the church walls via ongoing recordings by Christian singers.

“LEANING ON THE EVERLASTING ARMS”     1887

One day Mr. Hoffman received a letter from a friend in Alabama. In the letter his friend, a music teacher named A. J. Showalter, mentioned two of the his former students, recent widowers. He told Elisha he’d tried consoling them with the words of Deuteron-omy 33:27: “The eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Mr. Showalter wanted the scriptural truth turned into a hymn. He had a chorus in mind, but wanted Elisha to pen some verses. It didn’t take him long.

The song grew out of a need for internal peace amid severe circumstances. The hymn dwells on that need. It declares, “what a peace is mine” and “I have blessed peace with my Lord so near.” As with Are You Washed in the Blood? Elisha included a question in the song. He asks, as one trusting God, “What have I to dread. what have I to fear?” He captured the essence of a need in the lives of Christians everywhere in every century and decade: to seek refuge in God’s strength.

The hymn “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” has thrived within Christianity for 132 years. In the past century it’s been recorded by groups as diverse as The Sons of the Pioneers, The Jordinaires, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and David Crowder Band. Individual Christian singers who’ve recorded it include Twila Paris, David Baroni, Guy Penrod and Bart Millard of MercyMe.

It too has longevity within the broader culture. According to IMDB, Hollywood has used Leaning on the Everlasting Arms in various  20th Century films. Most recently, the tune dominated the musical score of the 2010 remake of the movie True Grit. The song is sung at the end of the film.

“I MUST TELL JESUS”    1894

 Thinking Woman by Jiri Hodan

One day, Pastor Elisha Hoffman visited a parishioner who felt desperate from physical and emotional afflictions. She asked him, “What shall I do? What shall I do?” His answer concluded with the words, “you must tell Jesus.” “Yes,” she said, “I must tell Jesus. I must tell Jesus.” Elisha went home dwelling on those words and wrote a new song.

What I Must Tell Jesus does so well is admits our own inability to solve our problems and acknowledges our need for God’s intervention. As a statement of faith it decides to surrender “trials,” “burdens,” “distress,” “troubles,” “sorrows” and temptations to Jesus. The song matters because it states with assurance that if we ask Jesus will bear our load and help us.

In the last two decades, along with southern gospel versions, Elisha’s hymn of trusting Jesus has been recorded by Kim Boyce, Crystal Lewis and the group Virtue.

Elisha passed away in 1929 at age 90. The way God has kept his songs in the public ear and continued using them to draw people closer to Him is a great testimony to Elisha’s personal surrender to God.

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LET ME KNOW:  How has Elisha’s story informed, encouraged, or otherwise helped  you? I welcome your comments.

Bibliography————————————————————————————————-

You can find and listen to songs mentioned in today’s post on YouTube.

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3 Hymns With “Cross” in the Title

Christian worship has always revolved around the most defining emblem of the faith: the cross. For twenty centuries Christians have celebrated how Jesus’ crucifixion turned a mode of capital punishment into a symbol of spiritual salvation. Our songs of faith reflect that reality. This post focuses on three enduring hymns of the church, published between the years 1700 and 1915.

Isaac_Watts

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross     1707

Today, Isaac Watts is called the “Godfather of English Hymnody.” He re-invented the church hymn. In the process, he wrote over 600 songs for the church. Song books of his day were usually the Psalms set to music. He chose to  infuse his songs with more New Testament theology. He also preferred easier lyrics for the average church-goer. As in the case of When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, Watts introduced personal pronouns into his titles.

Isaac Watts was a wordsmith. Along with other songs still sung today (Joy to the World, etc.) When I Survey the Wondrous Cross is full of spiritual passion with vivid images and devotional depth.  It’s pace is contemplative. What happens when you really think about Jesus’ crucifixion?

According to verse one, you feel humility.

“When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.”

According to the last line in verse two, you want to surrender: “All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.” Given all that Jesus suffered for humankind, verse four reaches the only true conclusion,  “Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.”

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Fanny_Crosby

Fanny Crosby (1829-1915)

Near the Cross         1869

Fanny Crosby became a Christian under the influence of an Isaac Watts hymn that mentioned the cross. At the end of a church service she attended when she was 31, they sang the  invitation song, Alas and Did My Savior Bleed! Her moment of surrender came during the words of the fifth verse, “Here, Lord, I give myself away.”

The results of Jesus’ crucifixion flow throughout Fanny Crosby’s poems set to music. One song specifically mentions the “cross” in it’s tile: Near the Cross.

The first and third verses are prayers. Verse one says,

Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain—
Free to all, a healing stream—
Flows from Calv’ry’s mountain.

She reflects on the cross as her means of salvation. Verse two begins, “Near the cross, a trembling soul, Love and Mercy found me.” She prays in verse three, “Near the cross! O Lamb of God, Bring its scenes before me; Help me walk from day to day, With its shadows o’er me.” Verse four states her determination to remain near the cross: “Near the cross I’ll watch and wait Hoping, trusting ever, Till I reach the golden strand,
Just beyond the river.”

You can read a fuller biography of Fanny Crosby at https://lights4god.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/fanny-crosby/.

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George Bennard

George Bennard (1873-1958)

  The Old Rugged Cross        1913

As with many hymns, The Old Rugged Cross was born out of personal difficulty. Evangelist George Bennard faced his struggles by going to the heart of the New Testament: John 3:16.

He spent a season of prayer and concentration on the cross. The words of his most famous hymn eventually lodged in his mind. After publishing the song describing the power of the cross, the words began finding their place in the hearts and minds of others. The Old Rugged Cross was voted America’s favorite hymn year after year from 1925-1960, 

In each of the three verses, George used strong descriptions of the cross followed by his expressions of personal affinity, concluding with reasons that it means so much to a believer.

Descriptions

 In verse one, he calls the cross, “The emblem of suff’ring and shame.” In verse two, he says it’s, “so despised by the world.” Verse three cuts to the reason people either accept or reject the cross: it’s “stained with blood so divine.” 

Response

The place where our salvation was purchased evokes deep feelings. George represents Christians all over the world when he says (in verse one) “And I love that old cross,” (in verse two) that it “has a wondrous attraction for me,” and (in verse three), “In the old rugged cross… a wondrous beauty I see.” To the non-believer, the rugged, bloody cross is repulsive, but it’s beautiful to those who’ve embraced it’s true purpose  (I Corinthians 1:18).

Reason

Each verse concludes with the sacrifice that launched our eternal salvation. The cross is where God in human form, “For a world of lost sinners was slain.” By choice, “the dear Lamb of God left His glory above, to bear it to dark Calvary.” Simply put, “on that old cross Jesus suffered and died, to pardon and sanctify me.”

The chorus shouts our unflinching loyalty to the cross:

“So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.”

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Bibliography

  • Blumhofer, Edith. Her Heart Can See: The Life and Hymns of Fanny Crosby.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmands Publishing Company, 2005.
  • Osbeck, Kenneth. 101 Hymn Stories. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 1982.
  • Petersen, William J. and Ardyth Petersen. The Complete Book of Hymns. Carol Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Inc., 2008.
  • Terry, Lindsay. I Could Sing of Your Love Forever. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Inc., 2003.

 

 

 

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BLACK HISTORY MONTH: 3 SONG WRITERS WORTH KNOWING

Here’s a re-post about the lives of three outstanding African American song writers.

Thoro Harris

Thoro Harris  (1874-1955)

His gospel themes and children’s songs live on today. Thoro’s lyrics capture both the sense of deep-felt need and the internal peace of Jesus’ provision in songs like “Hide Thou Me” and “All that Thrills My Soul is Jesus.” Read his bio.

 

Thomas Dorsey  [PD-1923]

Thomas A. Dorsey (1899-1993)

When Thomas turned from a career in non-Christian music, God turned Thomas into the “Father of Gospel Music.” His two most enduring compositions, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” and “Peace in the Valley,” were forged under difficult circumstances. Read his bio.

 

 

Andrae Crouch

Andrae Crouch (1942-2015)

As a child, Andrae learned to play the piano without a single lesson. He grew up to write and sing songs that won Dove and Grammy awards. Read the stories behind his songs, “The Blood Will Never Lose its Power,” “My Tribute,” and “Through it All” in his bio.

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Lights-4-God Timeline

Thank you for your interest in Lights-4-God. Below is a list of every Christian leader I’ve featured, arranged in chronological order according to the century they were born. After each name is a short description of their main contribution to Christianity. Read any of their biographical posts by clicking the name of the person.


————————————–Born in the 1700’s————————————–

Jonathan Edwards (Revivalist)…………………………………………..10/5/1703

Charles Wesley (Song writer)……………………………………………12/18/1707

David Brainerd (Missionary to American Indians)……………….4/20/1718

John Newton (Song writer)………………………………………………..7/24/1725

Robert Raikes (Sunday School promoter)…………………………….9/14/1735

William Wilberforce (Social reformer)………………………………..8/24/1759

William Carey (Missionary to India)……………………………………8/17/1761

Elizabeth Fry (Prison reformer)………………………………………….5/21/1780

William Colgate (Christian businessman)……………………………1/25/1783

Adoniram Judson (Missionary to Burma)…………………………….8/9/1788

Charles Finney (Groundbreaking revivalist)……………………….8/29/1792

Billy Bray (Lay preacher/chapel builder)………………………………6/1/1794

————————————–Born in the 1800’s————————————–


George Muller (Orphanage pioneer)……………..,,,,,……,,………..9/27/1805

Cyrus McCormick (Christian businessman)………………………..2/15/1809

John Hunt (Missionary to Fiji)………………………………………….6/13/ 1812

Robert Murray McCheyne (Pastor/spiritual leader)……………..5/21/1813

James Hepburn (Missionary to Japan)……………………………….3/13/1815

Fanny Crosby (Song writer)………………………………………………3/24/1820

Anna B. Warner (Song writer)……………………………………………8/31/1820

Alfred Edersheim (Author)………………………………………………….3/7/1825

Robert Lowry (Music composer)………………………………………..3/12/1826

Lew Wallace (Author of Ben Hur)………………………………………4/10/1827

Andrew Murray (Evangelist to South Africa)………………………..5/9/1828

William Booth (Founded the Salvation Army)…………………….4/10/1829

Hannah Whitall Smith (Author)…………………………………………..2/7/1832

Hudson Taylor (Missionary to China)…………………………………5/21/1832

Charles Spurgeon (Pastor/evangelist)………………………………..6/19/1834

E. M. Bounds (Author/prayer specialist)…………………………….8/15/1835

Alexander Whyte  (Pastor/author)……………………………………..1/13/1837

Dwight L. Moody (Evangelism pioneer)………………………………2/5/1838

Philip Bliss (Song writer)……………………………………………………7/9/1838

John Wanamaker (Christian businessman)…………………………7/11/1838

Elisha Hoffman (Song writer)……………………………………………..5/7/1839

Lottie Moon (Missionary to China)…………………………………..12/12/1840

Henry Heinz (Christian businessman)………………………………10/11/1844

Mary Slessor (Missionary to Nigeria)…………………………………12/2/1848

Julia Johnston (Song writer)……………………………………………..1/21/1849

Eliza Hewitt (Song writer)…………………………………………………6/28/1851

R. A. Torrey (Evangelist)…………………………………………………..1/28/1856

Johnson Oatman Jr. (Song writer)……………………………………..4/21/1856

Charles Gabriel (Song writer)…………………………………………….8/18/1856

Charles Sheldon (Author of In His Steps)……………………………2/26/1857

Rodney “Gypsy” Smith (Evangelist)……………………………………3/31/1860

C. T. Studd (Missionary to China, India, Africa)………………….12/2/1860

Jessie Brown Pounds (Song writer)……………………………………8/31/1861

Billy Sunday (Evangelist)…………………………………………………11/19/1862

John Hyde (Missionary to India/prayer warrior)…………………11/9/1865

Amy Carmichael (Missionary to India)……………………………..12/16/1867

Lettie Cowman (Author of Streams in the Desert)………………..3/3/1870

William Seymour (Pastor of Azusa Street)……………………………5/2/1870

Thoro Harris (Song writer)………………………………………………..3/31/1874

Oswald Chambers (Missionary/devotional author)……………..7/24/1874

Helen Cadbury (Founded the Pocket Testament League)……..1/10/1877

Evan Roberts. (Welsh revival evangelist)……………………….,……6/8/1878

Alfred Ackley (Pastor/song writer)…………………………………….1/21/1887

Lillian Trasher (Missionary to Egypt)………………………………..8/27/1887

Henerietta Mears (Founded of Gospel Light Press)……………10/23/1890

Corrie ten Boom (Author of The Hiding Place)……………………4/15/1892

Warner Sallman (Painted The Head of Christ)……………………4/30/1892

William Cameron Townsend (Wycliffe Bible Translators)……..7/9/1896

C. S. Lewis (Author/apologist)…………………………………………11/29/1898

Thomas Dorsey (Song writer)……………………………………………..7/1/1899

————————————–Born in the 1900’s————————————–

Eric Liddell (Christian athlete/missionary to China)……………1/16/1902

Gladys Aylward (Missionary to China)……………………………….2/24/1902

Paul Hutchens (Author of The Sugar Creek Gang series)……..4/7/ 1902

Peter Marshall (Pastor/U.S. Senate chaplain)……………………..5/27/1902

Albert Brumley (Song writer)…………………………………………..10/29/1905

Dietrich Bonhoeffer(Author)……………………………………………….2/4/1906

Dawson Trotman(Founded the Navigators)………………………..3/25/1906

Ira Stanphill (Song writer)…………………………………………………2/14/1914

Paul Brand (Missionary to lepers)……………………………………….7/17/1914

Catherine Marshall (Author)………………………………………………9/27/1914

Bob Pierce (Founded World Vision/Samaritan’s Purse)………..10/8/1914

Audrey Mieir (Song writer)…………………………………………………5/12/1916

Ruth Bell Graham (Godly wife/mother)………………………………6/10/1920

John Stott (Pastor/author)…………………………………………………4/27/1921

Bill Bright (Founded Campus Crusade for Christ)……………….10/19/1921

John W. Peterson (Song writer)……………………………………………11/1/1921

Walter Martin (Apologist)…………………………………………………9/10/1928

D. James Kennedy (Pastor/Evangelism Explosion)……………….11/3/1930

David Wilkerson (Founded Teen Challenge)…………………………5/19/1931

Millard Fuller (Founded Habitat for Humanity)……………………..1/3/1935

Larry Burkett (Financial expert)……………………………………………3/3/1939

Andrae Crouch (Singer/song writer)………………………………………7/1/1942

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DAVID BRAINERD’S 200TH BIRTHDAY

 

david_brainerd_on_horseback1

David Brainerd (1718-1847)

Missionary David Brainerd ministered in the 1700s to native tribes on the American frontier. He introduced the gospel to the Mohican tribe, then to the Delaware tribe. He endured health problems and other hardships. But he served faithfully for as long as he could.

David Brainerd kept a journal. After the young missionary’s death, his father-in-law Jonathan Edwards edited the journal which he published as “The Life and Diary of David Brainerd.”

For answers to the following questions, follow the link below—

  • What caused him to be expelled from Yale University?
  • Why did he turn down an offer to pastor a church on Long Island?
  • What event caused him to write in his journal, “Amazing change this! Affected by nothing less than divine power and grace!”
  • What illness took his life at age 29?

https://lights4god.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/david-brainerd/

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REMEMBERING C.S. LEWIS

 

C. S. Lewis II

C. S. Lewis. Image: butterfunk.com.

 

Clive Staples Lewis was born November 29, 1898.  I posted a biography of him five years ago today.

The 1400-word overview covers seven major points of his life under the headings, “Teen Athiest,” “The Fox Hunt,” “New Purpose,” “Waging War,” Narnia and Christianity,” “Joy and Grief,” and “Remembered in Bronze.”

Read the post  here.

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