I came across this traditional tune from Wikipedia while reading the entry of “Pilgrim”. Which usually refers to the English Settlers of New England, who celebrated the “First Thanksgiving with the Native Americans in 1621.

I remember a lot of these Pilgrims left England due to religious oppression from the state churches to the individual Christians groups. So they left for Americas.

Personally, I once was considering should I name my blog “The Lone Pilgrim” or not.. hahah, In a way, We are all sojourners on earth, waiting for a heavenly city. None the less, the lyrics of the traditional hymn caught my attention, as it kind of reminded me of the situation I am in. (Yes.. my trials isn’t over) . But of course, I hardly think that I will get a contagious diseases and die in a tomb alone…

From the Lyrics, I can see that a fellow Pilgrim was walking and he came across a tomb of another fallen Pilgrim.. and this Pilgrim is sharing about all that he had done for God, how he left his home, and family to sojourn in a foreign world. And he asked the Pilgrim to comfort his family, saying that God who brought him through places that are more severe has kindly brought him home to heaven instead.

According to my web research, one of the website I found reads

Legends of its origin and claims to its authorship are many. The ‘White Pilgrim’ form has been attributed to B. F. White (The Sacred Harp, 1911); the ‘Lone Pilgrim’ to William Walker (Southern Harmony, 1847; Christian Harmony, 1866)…

The White Pilgrim was Joseph Thomas, a ‘New Light Christian’ evangelist who dressed in white raiment and travelled through much of the area east of the Mississippi from July 6, 1815, to April 9, 1835, when he died of the smallpox in Johnsonburg, New Jersey. In the fall of 1838, a fellow preacher, Elder John Ellis of Dayton, Ohio, visited the grave of the Pilgrim and composed the poem which the author said was ‘sung around the world.’ At any rate, the song appeared in various shape-note hymnals and on at least one broadside, gained three stanzas in its various appearances, and has been collected by folklorists from Vermont to California… In some Northern hymn books, including those edited by Elder Ellis, the text is set to ‘Lily Dale’, but the more popular tune is the one Doc sings, a set of ‘The Braes of Balquhidder’….

But what it strikes me most about the lyrics sang, is that the Lone Pilgrim seems to be happy with God even though God led him through “scenes most severe”, and God has brought kindly brought him home. According to this song, he caught a contagious disease and died.

This led me to wonder about my own trials… When the “Scenes most severe” comes, what will my reaction be? Will I still continue to trust God.. and say Amen.. even if Gods final will is to just “recall” me back to heaven? Not that I think I am perfected in anyway, but just because of the grace of God.

Nonetheless, the lyrics of the hymn reminded me of a few verses of the bible.

Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”
And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Matt 8:19-20

But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Lk 9:62

So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time-houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions-and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mk 10:29

(Note: I am not advocating it is proper for Christians to abandon their duties and love for the family. In fact, we must love our families all the more)

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again. Php 1:19-26

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 1 Tim 4:6-8

I search youtube for the hymn… but honestly, my favourite is still the one I found on Wikipedia by Emily Hurst. But you may find the lyrics she is singing differs from mine.

Title: The Lone Pilgrim
Lyrics: Unknown

I came to the place where the lone pilgrim lay
And pensively stood by his tomb,
When in a low whisper I heard something say,
“How sweetly I sleep here alone.”

The tempest may howl and the loud thunder roar,
And gathering storms may arise,
But calm is my feeling, at rest is my soul.
The tears are all wiped from my eyes.

The cause of my Master compelled me from home,
No kindred or relative nigh.
I met the contagion and sank to the tomb,
My soul flew to mansions on high.

Go tell my companion and children most dear
To weep not for me now I’m gone.
The same hand that led me through scenes most severe
Has kindly assisted me home.”

(this additional verse is compose by JJ Hicks, Not commonly sung)
And there is a crown that doth glitter and shine,
That I shall for evermore wear:
Then turn to the Saviour , his love all divine
All you that would dwell with me there.

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Lately I been looking at a friends MSN status, and he asked “Are We Teaching The Truth In Love” As I pondered about this phase, I started to find the youtube of the hymn as well as the Lyrics.

Reading it, kind of reminded me of an old minister who once told me, “Nowadays, perhaps we have became Pharisees already”. In church, we have stressed alot in Gods justice that he cannot tolerate sin.. and he will trample on the wine-press of judgement (Is 63:1-6). We often like to be quick to decide if that is right or wrong, sin or no sin. Sometimes I feel that we do it so fast, that before Gods feet lands into the wine-press, we crushed all the grapes already.

In Paul’s time, there are two types of preachers, both of them spoke the truth. Some of them teaches the truth out of love for the people. And they wanted to save as many souls for God. While some others teaches to show that they are nice and good, and out of personal glory. (Philippians 1:15-18). Actually, I guess if we were to ask Elder James, he would rather the members not to be teachers, as teachers receive a stricter judgement from God (Jas 3:1-2). None the less, God wanted the truth to be taught to the whole world, so that man could reconcile with God and be saved. (1 Tim 2:3-5). Therefore, he uses his blood to purchase each and everyone of us to be a teacher in the truth, and to lead others back to God. (Matt 28:18)

So, now understanding the reason why we are teachers in truth. Should we teach the truth in love, or to teach it like a pharisee? The choice is really up to us, But in this hymn, there were too examples of Jesus teaching the truth in love.

Example 1: The rich young ruler (Matt 19:16-22, Mk 10:17-27, Lk 18:18-29)
There was a rich young ruler that came to Jesus to ask how he can inherit eternal lives, Jesus told him the truth, telling him to keep the commandments. The young man has kept all of them in his life, but he asked if theres anything else he lack. It was then Jesus wanted him to become his disciple, so he told him “If you want to be perfect, sell off all your belongings and give them to the poor, and follow me” Jesus was extending an invitation to him to become his disciple… should he had taken it up, perhaps he would have been the 13th disciple. But the man went away sorrowfully, because he was unable to part with his life of Luxury.. for he had great possessions.

Actually, there are times when, being a disciple of the Lord, you have to forgo many things that you have. Things that you hold on too and honestly, even in the journey, sometimes God allow not so nice things to befall us. This is a very heavy cross to carry, and that is the hard truth to bear, and not everyone has the ability to bear it. But Jesus taught this young man out of love, he was hoping that he would be able to learn, and to become his disciple, but in the end he left, being unable to take up the challenge

There are times, in our teaching of the truth, we would talk about things that are not too easy to be done. (IE: Forgiving 70X7 times, Love your enemies, Walk a second mile, Keep the sabbath, bless those who curse you). There may be times where people may not have the strength to keep it… Do we then get angry with them, persecute them, help God trash his wine-press, or do we teach them the consequences, encourage and to pray for them to be able to hold on to these teaching of God? How should we react when people are unable to accept the truth that is taught? Can we be as gracious as Jesus, to still tell the truth, yet not get angry, upset, or judgemental when some people still fails to learn?

Lets pray and hope that we can teach the truth like Jesus.

Example 2: The Adulterous Woman (John 8:1-12)
In this occasion, there was an adulterous woman, caught in the act. The people had captured her, and sent her in front of Jesus, claiming that according to Moses law, the woman ought to be stoned to death. It is no doubt that this woman had committed a huge sin before God. Over here, Jesus wanted to teach the truth to 2 groups of people. The people who wanted to stone her, and the woman herself (who should be so ashamed of herself)

Jesus wrote on the ground, while the people are talking, and shouting and demanding… Then suddenly, Jesus said “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone” and he continue writing on the floor. Slowly, her accusers started to move off one by one, until theres only Jesus and her. Jesus simply asked “Where are all the accusers? Has anyone condemned you?” she answered “No one, Lord” So Jesus replied “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more”.

The people who dragged this woman before the Lord are also teachers by their own right. They claimed to be “exercising the justice of God”. They wanted to ensure no such sin comes into their lives.. Sometimes in our own life, we wanted to be just, and condemn all the evilness around.. But alot of times, we tend to forget that we are mere man, and our righteousness is like filthy rags before God (Is 64:6-7). Before God, we are no better than the adulterer, because as long as we break one of the law, it is equivalent to breaking all of them (Jas 2:8-13). Jesus is not telling us to condone sin, he still wants us to be just, but at the same time to love mercy and to walk humbly with him (Micah 6:6-8) … As we are sinners just like her. Jesus wanted to teach this to the accusers… but they are too hot to listen… this is why Jesus only said. “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone” …. Slowly the people got the message… and go off one by one.

Over here Jesus taught the people out of love, he did not raise his voice, nor did he condemn the accusers.. he only left them to consider their own sin before stoning her… and that teaching is done, both out of the love for them, as well as his love for the sinner woman.

Just as the people walk away, Jesus asked the woman… if her accusers are still around… and the woman answered… no… Jesus did not condemn her.. But Jesus did not attack her as well… Jesus did not ask her.. what really happened.. or what she had done … Why she has done it… Rather he just said “Neither do I condemn you… go and sin no more” Jesus wanted her to repent herself, and to make a resolve not to sin again.. This is one of the rare occasion where God forgave an adulterer… (The last record I can remember is David, that is way hundreds of years before her)

Alot of times, we keep thinking, God will tread his wine-press, he will punish all the sinners and the wicked… This is indeed true, but do you think God enjoy the process as much as some of us do? (Ezekiel 18:19-30). God hates sins, but he doesn’t desire the death of a sinner… He would rather want the person to turn and live.. (Of course, by this I do not advocate that adultery is a not a sin leading to death 1 John 5:16-17) .. But alot of times, we do not need to “execute” this judgement on Gods behalf.. rather, if the other party is repentant and is willing to mend her relationship with God, we should just allow the person to continue to listen to the words of God.. and let God make that final judgement himself.

Conclusion
Like the hymn mentioned.. sometimes we may not know how to say it, sometimes we wonder when is the time for us to put our foot down, and when is the time for us to show mercy…

Should we now no longer discuss the issue of sin?  or water down the Christian warning about sin?… My answer is a straight NO. But rather, we should expound this truth, not in a judgemental way, always prowling around to condemn .. rather, we should continue to speak against it, in a firm, but gentle way.

God unfortunately, did not leave behind a ISO Standard SOP book for Christian to follow.. But I see the wisdom of God in doing that, because, alot of time, the wisdom to handle the matter comes from God.. and its not really something that one can draw out in a flow chart with yes and no arrows.

It is hope that, by studying the two examples here, we would all learn to teach the truth in love. Let our righteousness not be higher than Gods, that we judge and condemn even before God strikes. Let us learn to be firm and clear in our message.yet are able to carry the grace and mercy of God to the sinful world to know.

Title: Teaching the Truth in Love
Artist: Acapella

Chorus:
Are we teaching the truth in love
Telling it like it is
While holding pure motives
And showing that we care
Are we teaching the truth in love

A man came to my Jesus
Telling all that he had done
To fulfill the good commandments
He knew every single one
But Jesus said there’s something
That indeed he did lack
Yes the Savior told the truth
He didn’t hold the message back

(Because)
He was teaching the truth in love
Telling it like it is
While holding pure motives
And showing that He cares
He was teaching the truth in love

A woman caught in evil and without an alibi
The truth, so very obvious, made no attempt to lie
With all the foes against her how she felt so all alone
Until Jesus asked the people who would throw the first stone

Teaching the truth in love
Telling it like it is
While holding pure motives
And showing that He can
He was teaching the truth in love

Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how we are to share
With our Master’s words of confidence, directly, do we dare?
Should we water down the message, should we tell them only parts?
Will they see Him in our message, will they see Him in our heart?

Repeat Chorus (x2)

We’re teaching the truth in love
Give Him the peace of His Love
Yes in love, oh yes in
We’re talking, we’re talking love
Oh, in love, yeah.

for those who are wondering, yes, the hesitant prize fighter is still fighting the darkest hour of his trial.. his strength is fleeing by the moment… even kneeling down to pray…. makes him feel strength less. Sometimes he needs to sit down and pray.. as his strength is drawn out from him quickly… he just feels that this matter is too important and ought to be made known to everyone.. hence he is writing this.. please continue to pray for him..

Last night I got a friend who suggested the hymn “Does Jesus Care” so I decided to blog about it today.

Actually today is quite alright.. God just comforted, though the trials still look difficult and impossible to clear. I still am trying to wait on the Lord.. and see what will come out of it.

The lyrics of this hymn is written by Frank E Graeff. Who wrote it during his period of difficult trials. He found is comfort from the words of God. Therefore he put a resounding “O Yes, He cares” in the chorus

1 Pet 5:7 ” Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Personally, I know that Jesus cares, but sometimes I guess in the midst of trouble, it is very hard to assure ourselves.

Title: Does Jesus Care
Lyrics: Frank E Graeff
Music: J.Lincoln Hall

Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress
And the way grows weary and long?

Refrain

Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near?

Refrain

Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief there is no relief,
Though my tears flow all the night long?

Refrain

Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye”
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks,
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?

(Refrain)
Oh yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

I was at Facebook and I have a friend who was sharing this youtube hymn.
Personally, I am feeling very helpless in prayer lately, although I know God has
always been listerning. But somehow or rather, I find him so silent to me.
To a certian extent, I was wondering whether God has ignored me already

Actually I was listerning to this hymn, and I got curious about the bible verses
that were placed as the hymns was playing.. Somehow or rather, it reminded me
alot about simple facts about prayers that I have forgotten.

Especially the fact that the Holy Spirit do pray for us making intercessions for us
with groaning that cannot be uttered. And the fact that we must especially pray when
we are suffering, knowing the fact that the end of all things is at hand.

I particulary liked the fact that Jesus assured me that I have to continue to believe.
He would provide us the strength to live from day to day, because his grace is sufficient
for us, and his strength is made perfect in weakness. Je listerns to our prayers because
he love us.

Title: 祷告 I Pray
Hymn Series:讚美之泉 10 单单只为你,6
曲、词:郑楷

祷告,因为我渺小; dǎo​ gào yīn ​wèi wǒ miǎo ​xiǎo​
祷告,因为我知道我需要 dǎo ​gào yīn ​wèi​ wǒ​ zhī​ dao​ wǒ xū ​yào​
明暸,你心意对我重要。 míng liǎo,nǐ xīn ​yì​ duì​ wǒ zhòng ​yào​
祷告,已假装不了; dǎo ​gào, yǐ jiǎ ​zhuāng bù​ liǎo​;
祷告,因为你的爱我需要; dǎo ​gào, yīn ​wèi nǐ ​de ài​ wǒ xū ​yào​
你关怀,我走过的你都明白 nǐ guān​ huái,​ wǒ zǒu ​guò de nǐ​ dōu​​ míng ​bai​
*(Repeat)
有些事我只想要对你说, yǒu ​xiē shì​ wǒ zhǐ​ xiǎng ​yào duì nǐ shuō​
因你比任何人都爱我; yīn nǐ bǐ​ rèn ​hé​ rén​ dōu​ ài wǒ​
痛苦从眼中流下, tòng​ kǔ​ cóng​ yǎn ​zhōng liú xià​
我知道你为我擦。 wǒ zhī ​dao nǐ wèi wǒ​ cā​
在早晨我也要来对你说, zài zǎo ​chén wǒ yě yào lái duì nǐ shuō​
主耶稣今天我为你活; zhǔ​ Yē ​sū jīn​ tiān wǒ​ wèi nǐ huó​
所需要的力量你天天赐给我, suǒ xū​ yào​ de​ lì​ liang nǐ tiān ​tiān cì ​gěi wǒ​
你恩典够我用。 nǐ ēn​ diǎn gòu​ wǒ​ yòng​
(sing 2 times, repeat at *)

English Translation
I pray, because I am tiny and insignificant
I pray, because I know I have the need
to understand, your will and they are important to me.
I pray, this is not in a pretentious manner
I pray, because I need your love
You cared for and understood all that I have walked
There are things I would like to tell you,
Because no one loves me more than you do; *
As suffering flows from my eyes.
I know you would always wipe them away from me
Every morning I would like to say to you
O Lord Jesus, Tpday, I am living for you,
Please grant me the strength I need daily,
for your grace is sufficient for me.

The bible verses quoted are
(1st Group)
Ps 86:6
Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; And attend to the voice of my supplications
Jer 29:12
Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
Philip 4:6
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
Rom 8:26
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

(2nd Group, after the hymn is sang first round)
1 Tim 2:1
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,
Rom 12:12
rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
Eph 6:18
praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints-
2 Tim 2:22
Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Jas 5:13
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.

(Closing Group When the Hymn closes)
Mk 11:24
Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
1Pet 4:7
But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.
Rom 1:10
making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you.
Ps 6:9
The LORD has heard my supplication; The LORD will receive my prayer.

This is an old Irish hymn that I know many Christians love.  I found out that the main tune of this hymn is taken from an Irish folk song “Slane” which talks about the day when St Patrick de­fied a roy­al edict by light­ing can­dles on East­er Eve. High King Lo­gaire of Ta­ra had de­creed that no one could light a fire be­fore Lo­gaire be­gan the pa­gan spring fes­ti­val by light­ing a fire on Ta­ra Hill. Lo­gaire was so im­pressed by Pat­rick’s de­vo­tion that, de­spite his de­fi­ance (or per­haps be­cause of it­), he let him con­tin­ue his mis­sion­ary work.  (Approximately 433 AD)

My own feeling about the hymn is that it reminded me that God should always be the guiding vision in our life, and this hymn is a plea to God to be our vision, wisdom, protection, and it finally reminded us that God is the Lord in heaven, which is where we all wants to be in.

It also reminded us what is the ultimate prize in our life, not money,not fame, but God, and a chance to be heavens joy. This reminded me about the main characteristic of every man of faith recorded in Heb 11.

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them,[c] embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” Heb 11: 13-16

Be Thou My Vision

1. Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

2. Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

3. Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

4. High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Note: There is this stanza that is found in the lyrics at Cyber hymnal that is seldom sang out.  this is found between Stanza 2 and 3

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.