Friday, August 11, 2017

A Sisterly Coffee Chat

Good morning, friends! 
I'm here enjoying a lovely breakfast with my wonderful sister Sarah. Here's a little chat we had together. My questions are in bold, her answers are in italics. Enjoy! :)
Hi Sarah, thanks for joining me today. 
Hi! It's my pleasure. :) 

To start off, tell us a little bit about yourself. 
My name is Sarah, I am 19, and am currently going into my sophomore year of studying nursing at Pensacola Christian College. I currently am a cashier at Chick-fil-a. Sadly, I don't have much time to pursue my hobbies, but I enjoy hiking, canoeing, bike-riding, reading a good book and going to the beach. 

What is the most important lesson you have learned in life so far? 
Give your life to God and always follow him. Follow his commandments and you'll avoid many hardships and trials that come your way. 

What are some things you're most thankful for?
I am most thankful for my salvation, for being raised in a Christian home, my family, Pensacola Christian College, and for being homeschooled. 

You said you work at Chick-fil-a. How do you find opportunities to witness in the workplace? 
I  usually have opportunities on my lunch break or when I've just gotten off shifts to just sit down and talk with my co-workers. Something they say may give me an opportunity to share the gospel. 

You're going to be returning to college in a couple weeks. :( What advice would you give to incoming freshman? 
Hmm. I would say study hard, pray hard and have some fun. College is not all about studying. It's also about the relationships that are formed and the many different opportunities you have to reach out to others. 

What's your favorite Bible verse and why? 
I really like Psalm 18:1-2. I love these verses because they're such powerful reminders that God is with us. He is our strength. 

What's your favorite book of the Bible? 

Has God been teaching you anything lately? 
Just to live a life that is sold out to the Lord.

What's your favorite drink? 
Hands down, coffee. :) 

What's one of your favorite things you did this summer? 
Worked at Chick-fil-a and went on a vacation with my family to Virginia. 

Well, that's all the questions I have for you, Sarah. Thank you so much for answering them. Do you have anything else you would like to add? 
I'm excited I got to do this for you all, and maybe the next chat I have with Ashley can be about my nursing. lol. :)

And to end, I'll share this picture of a cute coffee cup I found. :) 

Have a wonderful, good and godly weekend, ya'll! 

Psalm 18:1-3
I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust. ; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Little Girl's Tea Party

On the Saturday of July 29th, Sarah and her friend Casey hosted a tea party at church for girls age 8-13. The theme was 'Honoring Your Parents' and it was so much fun to help with. I think the girls really enjoyed it. :) Enjoy these pictures from the party. 

At each place setting there was a menu, a coloring page, and a Bible quiz.

Isn't this watermelon tea pot cute? Sarah carved it and filled the inside with a variety of fruit.

Blueberry Scones
Sarah also made these pretty, delicious peti-fours. 

Sarah (and Casey) did a wonderful job at giving the devotional. 
 All nine girls, ready to play musical chairs.
This sweet little girl won musical chairs and received a tea cup as a prize. :) 
The girls also played several rounds of four square and made a tea cup craft. Everyone had such a fun time and hopefully there will be another tea party in the future.  :D 

Ephesians 6:1-3
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Jesus, Lover of My Soul

Jesus, Lover of My Soul
By: Charles Wesley

Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to thy bosom fly, 
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high:
Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last. 

Other refuge have I none; hangs my helpless soul on thee;
Leave, O leave me not alone, still support and comfort me:
All my trust on thee is stayed, all my help from thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head with the shadow of thy wing. 

Thou, O Christ, art all I want; more than all in thee I find:
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick and lead the blind:
Just and holy is thy name, I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am, thou art full of truth and grace. 

Plenteous grace with thee is found, grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within:
Thou of life the fountain art, freely let me take of thee;
Spring thou up within my heart, rise to all eternity. 
Charles Wesley, author of this hymn, was born in 1707 in Lincolnshire, England and was the youngest of eighteen children. His father, Samuel, was a poor country parson and his mother, Susannah, taught her children from the Bible as well as to sing psalms and spiritual songs as they did their chores. As a child, Charles demonstrated an unusual interest in poetry and composed verses on any subject at hand. Despite his family's poverty, Charles was sent to Westminster School in London at the age of nine, where he joined his older brother John. After he completed his schooling, he went to Christ Church College, Oxford, where he earned his Master of Arts degree in 1730. While at Oxford, Charles and a group of like-minded young men formed a Christian group that was known as the "Holy Club." The members adhered to strict rules and methods of living, studying, and practicing their faith. Because the followers of Wesley followed a different method, they were later called Methodists. In 1735, Charles Wesley was ordained a priest in the Anglican church. He was assigned as secretary to George Oglethorpe, the governor of the colony of Georgia. That same year he tried to travel to North America with the governor, but he fell sick in the fall of 1736 and set sail for England. He encountered a tremendous, alarming storm while on the journey, and Charles underwent spiritual transformation. In Wesley's journal he records the following concerning this even: "In this dreadful moment, I bless God, I found the comfort of hope; and such joy in finding I could hope, as the world could neither give nor take away." Wesley sought to comfort the other passengers and "urged them to resolve, if God saved them from this distress, that they would instantly and entirely give themselves up to Him." The vessel finally arrived back in England on December third. Wesley wrote in his journal: " I knelt down and blessed the Hand that had conducted me through such inextricable mazes." While Wesley has not specifically indicated that it was this experience that prompted the writing of "Jesus, Lover of My Soul," one reading may see the parallels in the first two verses of the hymn. 

A second life-changing experience occurred eighteen months later in May of 1738. Wesley was bedridden with fever, dysentery, and pleurisy, and despaired of ever returning to health. As he lay alone in his room in Aldersgate, he had a vision of a woman named Mrs. Musgrove telling him: "In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, arise, and believe, and thou shalt be healed of all thy infirmities." From that hour his health rapidly improved and he embarked on the intensely evangelical lifestyle for which he is remembered.  It was just one year after this dramatic conversion that Charles Wesley wrote "Jesus, Lover of My Soul." Although Charles' brother John disliked the hymn for being too sentimental, it has become one of the best known and loved hymns and has been translated into all the languages of the missionary world. 

As the Methodist movement spread throughout England, he traveled on horseback from place to place. His mother died on July 23, 1742. Her last words were, "Children, as soon as I am released, sing a psalm of praise to God." Later, while preaching in Wales, Charles met Sally Gwynne, a young lady who was half his age. A courtship followed, and Charles wanted to propose, but he was virtually penniless with no way of supporting a wife. That's when he decided to publish his Hymns and Sacred Poems, as well as his journals and sermons, hoping the royalties would provide an income. Charles and Sally were married on April 8, 1749. Charles noted: "Not a cloud was to be seen from morning till night. I rose at four, spent three hours and a half in prayer or singing, with my brother...At eight I led my Sally to church...It was a most solemn season of love!" They left immediately on a preaching tour, and Charles continued his ministry until 1756, when at age 49, he and Sally settled down. He busied himself preaching, visiting, counseling, fretting about his three unsaved children, trying to keep Methodism within the Church of England, and giving unsolicited advice to his brother John. All the while, he worked on his hymns and poems. Early 1788, Charles was bedridden, not from sickness, but from a lifetime of fatigue. By March, too weak to write, he dictated his last hymn to Sally: 

 In age and feebleness extreme, who shall a sinful worm redeem? 
Jesus, my only Thou art, strength of my failing flesh and heart;
Oh, could I catch a smile from Thee, and drop into eternity!

I hope you all had a blessed Lord's day.

Sincerely yours, eternally His,

Psalm 46:1 
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 

Ephesians 5:2
And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Andora's Folly ~ Blog Tour // Book Review

Hello everyone!
You may remember author Abigayle Claire; she wrote Martin Hospitality, which I posted about here. Well she has just published a second book called Andora's Folly. It's a medieval retelling of Pandora's Box, if any of you are familiar with that book. I haven't ever read Pandora's Box, or any medieval re-telling for that matter, but I really enjoyed Abigayle's Folly. It was well-written and mystery filled. The characters were well thought of and intriguing. There was even a deathly sword fighting match, which I think Abigayle did a very good job describing. There were a few parts in the beginning that left me slightly confused and wondering why the characters would say and do certain things, but I really liked the attention grabber that Abigayle used to capture the reader's curiosity. Andora's mother gives her a letter and tells her to never open it, but one day about 3/4 of the way through the book, she does. Everything eventually gets explained and the mystery gets solved. Overall, it was a thrilling read and I would recommend it to teenagers and up due to some of the medieval content such as the fighting scene.
Abigayle, thank you for allowing me to be a beta reader for your new book, and I hope the rest of the blog tour goes well for you. :) 
You all can buy the book on Amazon, (it's only available in e-book form; paperback may come out later) or you can enter the giveaway for a copy by commenting on Abigayle's post.
About the Book: 
A Pandora's Box retelling

Andora is a beautiful young woman with insatiable curiosity. Raised in splendor, she is spoiled by her privileged life. When a love letter is slid under her door, her life takes a drastically unromantic turn. Nothing makes sense—her arranged marriage, the gifts her parents bestow on her wedding day, or her new husband’s temperament.

As Andora begins to unravel the mysteries around her, she ignites a chain of events that have the power to sabotage her entire village forever. Only her new-found wisdom as a desperate peasant's wife can save her from her folly.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

What a Friend We Have in Jesus
By: Joseph Scriven

What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! 
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! 
Oh, what peace we often forfeit, oh, what needless pain we bear, 
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer! 

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? 
We should never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer:
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share? 
Jesus knows our every weakness, take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge; take it to the Lord in prayer: 
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In his arms he'll take and shield thee; Thou wilt find a solace there. 
This favorite hymn about the unfailing friendship of Jesus was written by a man who had few close friends on earth.  He had experienced the sorrows of grief and loneliness; and he had poured out his life in service to others without thought to repayment of any kind. In fact, it was said of Joseph Scriven that he would only work for those who could not pay.  Born into a prosperous Irish family on September 10, 1819, Joseph Scriven successfully completed the requirements for entrance to Trinity College in Dublin, but after attending for only a short time, he decided to leave and join the army. Because of his poor health, his military career was cut short and he returned to Trinity College where he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree. Soon after, Joseph was engaged to be married, but very tragically, the day before their wedding, his fiancee was thrown from her horse into the river and drowned. Overcome with grief, Joseph became despondent and withdrew from his friends and family. He left the religious traditions of his parents and decided to leave his homeland of Ireland to move to Canada in 1844 at the age of twenty-five. With the move, Joseph focused on trying to live his life described by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount. He became a servant to the handicapped, the ill, the imprisoned, and poverty-stricken people. In Port Hope, Ontario, he cut and hauled wood for destitute families so they might survive the winter. Although he was respected by the townspeople for his deeds of mercy and kindness, he was viewed as an eccentric and was not integrated into their fellowship. Ten years later in 1855, Joseph received word that his mother was seriously ill. Since he didn't have enough funds to travel back home, he wrote three verses of a poem he titled "Pray without Ceasing." He sent them to his mother hoping they would life her spirits and comfort her. Mrs. Scriven gave a copy of the poem to a friend who had it published anonymously, and it quickly became a popular hymn, though no one knew who had written it. (Joseph had not intended for it to be read by anyone else.) When Joseph was confined to his bed with illness, a neighbor stopped in to see him. He saw Joseph's poem and asked if he had written it. Joseph replied, "The Lord and I did it between us."  Receiving Joseph's permission, the neighbor had it published in a small collection of poetry called Hymns and Other Verses
Sometime thereafter, Joseph met a Canadian women named Eliza Catherine Roche and, once again, planned to marry her. But before the wedding took place, Eliza contracted either pneumonia or tuberculosis in 1860 and died. To escape his sorrow, Joseph gave himself wholeheartedly into ministry, doing charity work for the Plymouth Brethren and preaching among the Baptists. He lived a simple, obscure life in Port Hope, Canada, cutting firewood for widows and giving away clothes and money to those in need. He was described as "a man of short stature, with iron-gray hair, close-cropped beard, and light blue eyes that sparkled when he talked." A while later, Charles Converse, a well-known composer of the day, wrote a melody for the verses Joseph had penned. The hymn was then retitled "What a Friend We Have in Jesus."
On the cold morning of October 10, 1886, Joseph Scriven, delirious from his illness, staggered outdoors where in fell into Rice Lake in Bawdly, Ontario, and drowned. He was 66 years old. In his memory, the citizens of Port Hope, Ontario erected a simple monument. On its face they inscribed the words of Joseph's hymn. The last line reflects the author's final hope: "In his arms He'll take and shield thee. Thou wilt find a solace there."

I hope you enjoyed reading about the author of this loved hymn. Something I found interesting was that Ira Sankey knew him. 

May you all be filled with the love and grace of Jesus this week. 

much love,

Psalm 68:5
A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.

Philippians 4:6-7
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Counted Worthy ~ Winner of E-Book

Hey everyone,

The time has come to announce the winner of the e-book Counted Worthy by Leah E. Good. 
The winner is...........................................C.B. Cook from The World of the Writer. Congratulations! I really hope you enjoy it. And to everyone else, thank you for entering the giveaway. Don't forget, you can always pick up the book on Amazon or on Leah's website.

Have a most wonderful rest of the week.

That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
~Colossians 1:10-13

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Counted Worthy ~ Book Review and Giveaway!

Counted Worthy
By: Leah E. Good

About the book: 
Heather Stone lives in fear of repeating the past, yet she continues doing the one thing that could trigger another disaster. When the police trace an illegal Bible to her house, Heather's world begins to crumble. 

Her father's life hangs in the balance. No one with the power to help knows or cares. If she tries to save him, she could lead her friends to their deaths. If she does nothing, her father's fate is certain. Can she evade a hostile police force and win public sympathy before it's too late? 

My thoughts:
Counted Worthy is one action-packed book! The minute I started reading, I was hooked and could hardly put it down. The author did an amazing job of making the first chapter an attention grabber. While working at a book sorting center, Heather spies a red Bible. She hides it in her coat and heads home, where she waits for her father to return home from work. Unbeknownst to Heather, there's a tracking bug in the Bible, and that night, men from The Agency appeared at her front door. They took her dad prisoner while Heather escaped out the window and ran to the lake where she promptly threw the red Bible in. From there on, Heather and other members of the underground church looked for ways to free her dad.  Before she knew it, Heather was on The Agency's wanted list. I won't tell you any more of what happened lest I should spoil the end for you, but you can pick up the book here and read it for yourself. Counted Worthy touches many emotions. There are a few parts that make you laugh, others seem to make you frustrated along with Heather that she isn't progressing in finding her dad, and others may even cause you to shed a tear, especially the sad, touching scene at the end between Heather and her father. It made me realize yet again how precious the Word of God is, especially to those who are forbidden from owning one.  Christians are being persecuted for their faith in the Lord and for having Bibles in their possession, yet they still continue to love and serve Him. This is a challenging and inspiring book and is one of the best novels I've read in a long time; I highly recommend it to you all! I loved how Leah drew me, as the reader, in with an attention grabber in the beginning, and then kept me interested throughout the whole book. Another thing that I thought was neat was how the main character had so many Bible verses memorized and kept quoting them to remember the promises of God during her trials. And for an added bonus, all the Bible verses used are quoted from the KJV! :) I would say this is a book that both girls and boys would enjoy reading. It would also be an awesome book for families to read together. I give this book a high rating of 5/5 stars! 
You can purchase the book here, on Leah's website, or on Amazon

Leah, thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to read and review your book. It touched and encouraged me and I so enjoyed reading it. :) You are an awesome writer and I hope God blesses you as you continue writing for Him.

Now, let's move onto the giveaway. Leah has so graciously offered to give one e-book copy away to one of you readers. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below. :) 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Day By Day

Day By Day
By: Karolina Sandell-Berg 

Day by day and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment, I've no cause for worry or for fear.  
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure, gives unto each day what He deems best;
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure, mingling toil with peace and rest. 

Ev'ry day the Lord Himself is near me with a special mercy for each hour,
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me, He whose name is Counselor and Pow'r.
The protection of His child and treasure, is a charge that on Himself He laid;
"As your days, your strength shall be in measure," this the pledge to me He hath made. 

Help me then in ev'ry tribulation, so to trust your promises, O Lord;
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation, offered me within your holy Word. 
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting, e'er to take, as from a Father's hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting, till I reach the promised land. 
This a a Scandinavian hymn written by Karolina W. Sandell-Berg, who is also known as the "Fanny Crosby of Sweden." Karolina was born in Frvderyd on October 3, 1832. Her father, Jonas Sandell, was a pastor of the village's Lutheran church. Though frail in body, Lina had a strong spirit, and was raised with artistic, literary, and religious influences in her home life. Sadly, tragedy struck when she was twenty-six; it profoundly affected the course of her life. Lina and her father were enjoying a boat trip on the east coast of Sweden near Gothenburg when the ship suddenly lurched. Tragically, before her very eyes, Karolina's father pitched overboard and drowned. After returning home alone, Karolina began processing her grief through the Scriptures and expressing her faith in poetry. She had written hymns before, but now she poured out her broken heart in an endless stream of beautiful songs. Her hymns mightily influenced the revival that swept across Scandanavia after 1850. They became even more popular because of the simple, beautiful melodies written for them, especially those written by Oscar Ahrnfelt. He played his guitar and sang her hymns throughout Scandanavia. Karolina once said that Ahrnfelt sang her songs "into the hearts of the people." The world-famous vocalist, Jenny Lind, visited factories and sang Lina's beautiful hymns. Fourteen poems were published that tragic year of 1858, one of which is sung even to this day: 
Children of the heavenly Father safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in heaven such a refuge e'er was given.

Several years later, her best-known hymn, "Day By Day," was published. In Matthew 12:34, Jesus said, "...for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." Karolina Sandell-Berg's voice spoke more than 650 hymns from a heart filled abundantly with love for her Saviour. In Day By Day, Lina spoke from personal experience about the daily strength the Lord provides for His struggling children. 

Day by day, and with each passing moment, strength I find, to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment, I've no cause for worry or for fear. 

If you need strength for a particular trial, take this grand old hymn into the day with you, and claim some of the wonderful promises God has given: 
The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him. ~ Exodus 15:2

Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. ~ Nehemiah 8:10 (emphasis mine)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. ~ Psalm 46:1

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. 
~ Isaiah 40:31

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Set - Apart Femininity ~ Book Review

Set Apart Femininity
By: Leslie Ludy 

About the book:  
Do you long for something more than the shallow, self-focused, pleasure-seeking femininity so prevalent today? Do you want a focus beyond chasing male approval and pop-culture appeal? Do you need a fresh vision of God’s amazing purpose for your life as a young woman? Are you ready to become one of the few in this generation who will make an eternal impact upon this world?
This book tackles key issues you’re facing today, like:
  • Unlocking God’s sacred call upon your life
  • Understanding God’s pattern for true feminine beauty
  • Captivating the heart of a Christ-like guy
  • Aligning your daily existence with God’s priorities
  • Finding real fulfillment by living a poured-out life
Discover Set-Apart Femininity. In this powerful, candid, and conversational book you will gain a compelling vision for femininity that can forever alter your existence and take you far beyond the unfulfilling trends of modern culture. This book is not the same old mediocre message you’ve always heard. It’s a radical call to a counter-culture lifestyle in which every aspect of your femininity—from the way you relate with guys to the focus and direction of your life—is shaped by an intimate relationship with the King of kings. It’s the kind of heroic femininity that the world-changing women of history understood. And it’s well within your grasp, no matter where you’ve been.
Get ready to experience the lost art of set apart femininity—and find what you’ve been searching for. Great for teens, college-aged women, and singles.

My thoughts: 
I've heard marvelous things about this book, and was excited to read it. However, I was a little disappointed when I started reading. The first chapter contained information about how young girls dress nowadays, and it gave too many unnecessary details that I don't think our minds should be dwelling on. I didn't care to read much of the first chapter. The third chapter was entitled "Sacred Priority and talked about femininity that captivates the masculine heart. Sadly, it talked about things that aren't appropriate for many young girls to read, howbeit, there were three pages at the end that contained some really good and embolden information. The theme of it is encouraging young girls and ladies to live a set-apart life. If Christ is your Redeemer, then you are called to be set-apart and different. You (and your heart) belong to Jesus - not the world. I like what the writer says in chapter 4 ("Sacred Decorum- raising femininity to heavenly heights): Is Jesus Christ merely a part of your life? Or is He your entire life?  Overall, I enjoyed most of the book and other than the two sections I mentioned above, found it both helpful and encouraging. I would recommend this book for girls of ages 18 and up. If you do read it, I also suggest having your mom read it first so she can mark or tear out anything that's not suitable to read.

I received this book from Set Apart Girl  in exchange for an honest review.

I hope all you dear readers have a lovely weekend!  

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Might Fortress Is Our God

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
By: Martin Luther

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper he, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe; 
His craft and pow'r are great, and armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal. 

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God's own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth, his name, from age to age the same,
And he must win the battle. 

And tho this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph thro' us: 
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure, 
One little word shall fell him. 

That word above all earthly pow'rs, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours thro' him who with us sideth: 
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God's truth abideth still, 
His kingdom is forever. 

 We think of Martin Luther as a great reformer, Bible translator, and political leader. But I don't think many people realize that he wrote many hymns. He was born in an area of Germany which was known for its music. In his little Thuringian village, Martin grew up listening to his mother sing. He joined a boy's choir that sang at weddings and funerals. He became quite proficient with the flute (recorder), and his volcanic emotions often erupted in song. 
 When the Protestant Reformation began, Luther determined to restore worship to the German church. He worked with skilled musicians to create new music for Christians to be sung in the vernacular. He helped revive congregational singing and wrote a number of hymns. The years following 1520 were dark and filled with danger for Martin Luther. Despite serving for several years as an Augustinian priest, he had become an adversary of the Catholic church after publicizing his objections to the practice of selling indulgences. Eventually, Luther was excommunicated for this position, and his public declarations and criticism placed him at the center of controversy. Threatened with arrest and extradition to Rome for trial, Luther was "kidnapped" by men Frederick the Wise of Saxony had sent, and taken to Wartburg Castle where he remained for over a year. (Frederick the Wise was someone who cared about Luther and tried to protect him.) It was during this time in isolation that he began translation the Bible from Greek into German. He felt strongly that the people ought to be able to read the Holy Scriptures in their own language and also to speak directly to God through hymns in their native tongue. He composed a hymn book for use by German congregations. With the translation of the New Testament into German in 1522, the publication of a hymn book in 1524, and the completion of the Old Testament translation in 1534, Luther provided the foundation for the Protestant Reformation in Germany. In his honor, German Protestants became known as Lutherans.

If there was a theme song of the Reformation it would have to be Luther's powerful hymn, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." Based on the first verse of Psalm forty-six, "God is our refuge and strength," this hymn became the rallying cry of peasants and dissidents across Europe. In difficulty and danger, Luther would often resort to this song, saying to his associate, "Come Philipp, let us sing the 46th Psalm." It has been translated into almost every known language, and is today the national hymn of Germany. 

Martin Luther knew the power of congregational singing and saw it as a powerful tool for bringing men and women closer to God. He wrote: "If any man despises music, as all fanatics do, for him I have no liking; for music is a gift and grace of God, not an invention of men. Thus it drives out the devil and makes people cheerful. Then one forgets all wrath, impurity, and other devices." He also wrote: "Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. It controls our thoughts, minds, hearts, and spirits..."

When he died in 1546, in his hometown of Eisleben, Germany, Luther had, through his theological writings, his Bible translations, and hymns, laid the foundations of a movement that would forever change the religious history of the world. In recognition of this, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" was sung at his funeral and the first line of the hymn is inscribed on his tomb in Eisleben.

I hope you all enjoyed reading about this hymn and had a wonderful Lord's day. 

In God's abounding love,