Such Is His Love

odessie harris

(Photo of Odessie Wade Harris)


“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him” (1 Jn. 4:9)

     INTRO.:  A hymn which extols the love that God manifested by sending His only begotten Son is “Such Is His Love.”  The text was written by Odessie F. Wade (Mrs. Galen L.) Harris, who was born on Feb. 25, 1929, on a farm at Endicott near Littleton in Wetzel County, West Virginia, the daughter of Archie and Alma Wade.  The family was originally Methodist, but when they left the farm and moved into Littleton, they lived near the meeting house of the church of Christ.  Odessie began attending there, learned the truth, and obeyed the gospel in the fall of 1946.  Having been educated in the grade and high schools of Wetzel County, she was valedictorian of her graduating class of 1947.

After graduation, Odessie attended business school in Wheeling, WV, where she received her diploma as Junior Accountant, and worked at a bank in Wheeling for a short time.  In the fall following graduation from business school, she moved to Moundsville, WV, and placed her membership with the Cedar Ave. congregation, where she met Galen Larrimore Harris, who later became her husband.  They were married on Sept. 8, 1950.  She kept books for an automobile dealer until February of 1952 when she went to work for what is now P.P.G. Industries, where she completed over 27 years.  Her songs include “Let Our Bending Be” and “Such Is His Love,” the latter copyrighted in 1971 with tune composed by John D. Bacon (1900-1982).  Bacon encouraged her in her song writing.

In 1980, Gene C. Finley included “Such Is His Love” in his collection Our Garden of Song.  Later, the Harrises were members of the Mound City Church of Christ in Moundsville, but they eventually moved to Thonotosassa in Hillsborough County, Florida.  Galen died on July 30, 2001, at Lakeland in Polk County, Florida.  Odessie died, aged 81, at Lakeland on Aug. 16, 2010, from heart failure.  Her funeral service was held on Aug. 18 at the Lakeland Funeral Home.

“Such Is His Love” identifies three aspects of God’s relationship to mankind which show His great love.

I. Stanza 1 mentions His mindfulness

I stand beneath the canopy of heaven

And view the vastness of the starry sky;

I wonder how our God in all His greatness

Could mindful be of creatures such as I.

  1. God created the canopy of heaven: Gen. 1:1, 14-19
  2. When we gaze at the vastness of the starry sky, we marvel at His greatness: Gen. 15:5
  3. Yet, in all this we realize that God has been mindful of us: Ps. 8:3-9

II. Stanza 2 mentions His nearness

I’m only one among His many children

Yet feel His nearness; He’s my guiding light.

He promised in His word, “I’ll never leave thee;”
He’ll guide my feet in paths of truth and right.

  1. God’s love has made it possible for us to become His spiritual children: 1 Jn. 3:1-2
  2. Thus, He will draw near to us if we draw near to Him: Jas. 4:8-10
  3. And He has promised never to leave us: Heb. 13:5-6

III. Stanza 3 mentions His friendship

It means so much to have a friend like Jesus,

When earthly friends forget and go their way,

To know that He will be my shield and comfort,

And surely come to take me home someday.

  1. Jesus is certainly a good friend to have: Jn. 15:13-15
  2. He is a friend who will comfort us in our trials: 2 Cor. 1:3-7
  3. And His goal when He comes someday is to take us home to be with Him: Jn. 14:1-3

CONCL.:  The chorus reminds us of the ultimate expression of God’s love.

God so loved, He gave the Prince of heaven,

His only Son, on Calvary;

Giving hope for life in heaven’s glory,

Such is His love for you and me.

When we consider how that God loved the whole world, including each one of us, enough that He sent His Son to this earth to die for our sins on Calvary and give us the hope of heaven’s glory, then we are made to marvel that “Such Is His Love.”

such is His love

Going with Jesus to Glory Land

w j graves

(photo of W. J. Graves)


“Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory” (Ps. 73:24)

     INTRO.:  A song which talks about the hope of being with the Lord in glory is “Going with Jesus to Glory Land.”  The text was written by James Rowe (1865-1933).  The tune was composed by William Jefferson Graves, who was born on January 27, 1865, in Hunt County, TX, the son of Jefferson Asbery Graves and Sarah Nabors Graves.  On Jan. 27, 1892, he was married to Gertrude Sims (1874–1966).  Trained in singing at several music schools, he also studied under Judson L. Moore, a music teacher, song writer, and publisher in Georgia.  Graves spent practically his entire life in Hunt County where he followed his profession as a music teacher and song writer who wrote songs for several different companies.

The author of more than 100 songs, Graves wrote “Dare to Be a Daniel,” “Tell Sinners Salvation is Free,” and “Going with Jesus to Glory Land,” which was copyrighted from his home at Cumby, TX.  His works were accepted by many music publishing companies.   Graves was a member of the Christian Church for fifty years and for the last fourteen years of his life resided in Greenville, TX, where he held membership with the Central Christian Church in that city.  Mrs. Graves was also a music teacher and song writer.

After having been ill for a duration of eight months, Graves, aged 80, died on Thursday, Dec. 13, 1945, at his home in Greenville, TX.  He was survived by his wife, a half brother, a half-sister, and several nieces and nephews.  The funeral service was held on Saturday, Dec. 15, at the James-Peters Funeral Chapel with James L. Sandlin, minister of Central Christian Church and Fred Moore of Ardis Heights officiating. Burial was in East Mount Cemetery.  Gene C. Finley included “Going with Jesus to Glory Land” in his collection Our Garden of Song.

The song identifies some things that Jesus does so that we can go with Him to Glory-land.

I. Stanza 1 says that He holds our hands

I’ve a carol to sing while gladly I cling

To Jesus, the blessed one who holds my hand;

For with goodness enfolding me, ever upholding me,

I’m going with Jesus to Glory-land.

  1. The Christian can sing a joyful carol of praise to Jesus: Jas. 5:13
  2. We do this because He is the blessed one who holds our hands, symbolizing the fact that He leads us by His example: 1 Pet. 2:21
  3. Also, His goodness enfolds us as all spiritual blessings are found in Him: Eph. 1:3

II. Stanza 2 says that He hides our past in mercy

He is hiding my past in mercy at last,

And helping my weak and wayward soul to stand;

So to others upraising Him, serving and praising Him,

I’m going with Jesus to Glory-land.

  1. Jesus hides our past in mercy by offering forgiveness through His blood: Eph. 1:7
  2. Then He helps our weak and wayward souls to stand: Eph. 6:11-13
  3. As a result, we should serve and praise Him: 1 Pet. 4:11

III. Stanza 3 says that He leads us in the right way

With the angels above I’ll sing of His love,

Forever upon the blessed golden strand;

So with rapture I follow Him, honor and hallow Him,

I’m going with Jesus to Glory-land.

  1. Our hope is to join with the angels above in singing praise to Jesus: Rev. 5:8-14
  2. This will be in His presence upon the blessed golden strand beside the river of life: Rev. 22:1-5
  3. But if we truly want this blessing we must follow His leading in this life: Matt. 16:24-26

CONCL.:  The chorus expresses the desire to be with Jesus in Glory-land.

Ever fondly I cling to Him, sweetly I sing to Him,

While resting my future on His promise grand;

From the tempter He’s hiding me, cheering and guiding me,

I’m going with Jesus to Glory-land.

Life is often thought of as a journey toward eternity.  When we travel here on earth, we usually have a certain destination in mind.  For Christians, our final goal is “Going with Jesus to Glory Land.”

going with Jesus

Where Have You Been for So Long?


(photograph of Norman Gipson)


“…How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things” (Rom. 10:15)

     INTRO.:  A hymn which is designed to encourage us to bring glad tidings of good things to the lost is “Where Have You Been for So Long?”  The text was written and the tune was composed both by Harold Norman Gipson, who was born on August 29, 1918, in Estelline, Hall County, Texas, to West Texas pioneers John Holbert Gipson (1874–1941) and Mattie Pauline Hill Gipson (1880–1973).   His first sermons were preached in 1935 at rural churches of Hall and Briscoe Counties, TX.  On August 28, 1938, he was married to Annice Aline Teurman, and they had five children, four of whom survived to adulthood.  His local work included churches in Grand Prairie, Houston, Ballinger, and Amarillo, all in Texas.  He served five years in New England, two in Maine and three in Massachusetts, helping the cause there.  In addition, he held gospel meetings and singing schools in more than thirty states and engaged in preaching efforts in Canada, Spain, and England.

Beginning around 1969, Gipson began work with the Sunset School of Preaching (now Sunset International Bible Institute), serving as an instructor for three years and director of the school for five years.  In 1979, he moved to Denver, CO, to serve as local evangelist with the Bear Valley congregation.  His writings include The Steward of God, a treatise on the eldership, and Why a Christian Cannot Be a Mason.  Articles by him have appeared in the Firm Foundation, Gospel Advocate, Twentieth Century Christian, North Atlantic Christian, and other religious journals.  He has appeared on lectureships at Abilene Christian University, Northeastern Christian Junior College, York College, and Lubbock Christian College.   Also, he served on the boards of Gander Brook Christian Camp in Maine, and Koinonia Christian Camp in Texas.

In addition, Gipson produced several hymns which have been published, including “Soldiers of Christ, Arise” and “Our Journey to Heaven.”  His song “Jesus Reigns in Heaven” (copyrighted in 1942) appeared in the 1978 Hymns of Praise edited by Reuel Lemmons for The Firm Foundation Publishing House.  In 1980, Gene C. Finley included “Where Have You Been for So Long?” (copyrighted in1978) in his collection Our Garden of Song.  And, “Lord, Hear Our Prayer” was written for the 1991 New Songs of Faith.  Gipson eventually returned to Lubbock, Texas, where he died, aged 88, on May 14, 2007.   Preceded in death by his wife, who died in 1989, sons Timothy Charles and Harold Don, five brothers, and a sister, he was survived by three daughters, Norma Ann, Linda Jo, and Nita Kay; seven grandchildren; ten great-grandchildren; one sister; many nephews and nieces; and a multitude of friends. A memorial service was conducted on Thursday, May 17, at the Sunset Church of Christ in Lubbock.  A graveside service was held on Saturday, May 19, in the Old Southland Cemetery, Grand Prairie, Texas.

“Where Have You Been for So Long?” should motivate us to be more active in sharing the gospel.

I. Stanza 1 mentions talking about Jesus

I talked to a man about Jesus;

He listened with wondrous surprise.

Then I felt the start of pain in my heart

When he asked me with tears in his eyes:

  1. We should talk to others about Jesus, as did the healed demoniac: Mk. 5:19-20
  2. Our hope is to find those who will listen with noble and good hearts: Lk. 8:15
  3. But we won’t go until we feel the pain of Christ’s love compelling our own hearts: 2 Cor. 5:14-15

II. Stanza 2 mentions telling about the Lord

I told him the Lord came from glory

To bring down salvation to men;

He joyfully heard the wonderful word,

Then wept as he asked me again:

  1. We need to tell people how the Lord came down from glory: Phil. 2:5-8
  2. His purpose in doing so was to bring salvation to sinful men: 1 Tim. 1:15-16
  3. But in order to obtain this gift, people must hear an receive the word of God: 1 Thess. 2:13

III. Stanza 3 mentions speaking the good tidings

To all the whole world tell the tidings

That Christ is the Life, Truth, and Way;

So when time is done and judgment has come,

No one in that throng may need say:

  1. We need to spread the tidings to the whole world: Mk. 16:15-16
  2. These tidings are about Christ who is the Life, Truth, and Way: Jn. 14:6
  3. This is essential for them to be prepared for the judgment: 2 Cor. 5:10

CONCL.:  The chorus asks us why we are not seeking to reach more people.

Where have you been for so long?

Why didn’t you come to my door?

Just living in sin so long I have been;

Why didn’t you tell me before?

When we as Christians stand before God in judgment, we certainly don’t want to hear someone such as a friend or neighbor say, “Where Have You Been for So Long?”

where have you been

Who Is This King of Glory?


(photograph of Robert W. Gillen)


“Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle” (Psalm 24:8)

      INTRO.: A hymn which identifies Jesus Christ as the King of glory who is strong and mighty in battle is “Who Is This King of Glory?”  The text was written and the tune was composed both by Robert Wesley Gillen, who was born at Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, California, on July 31, 1925, and lived in Dinuba, CA, most of his life. As a boy he accompanied his father, Arlo C. Gillen, on his calls to serve churches as minister of the gospel in the San Joaquin Valley.  Displaying a talent for music at an early age, he learned to read music by the age of six from the hymn books, and led his first song at ten years.   At age 13, he was buried with his Lord in baptism and served the remainder of his days as an active and faithful member of Christ’s church. While in grammar school he played the snare drum and then was first violin in the D.U.H.S. orchestra.   He sang bass in the high school chorus, and was the soloist in the “Messiah” at both Fresno and Visalia. Also, he sang in two operas, “The Magic Flute” and “La Traviata,” as well as in the Mozart Festival which featured Mozart’s “Requiem.”   Singing bass or high tenor with equal ease, he sang alto in a male quarter over radio station KEKC in Visalia, California, in the later thirties.

Gillen served his country in the Air Force during World War II and the Korean War. Between wars he was engaged in the retail farm supply business.   In addition, he was a song leader and chorus director for over forty years, having sung on twenty-eight television programs for the churches of Christ, and had several songs published. Among them are “That Upper Room,” and “Who is This King of Glory?” The latter was copyrighted in 1972.  His song “Jesus My God, My Lord, and King” appeared in the 1978 Hymns of Praise edited by Reuel Lemmons for The Firm Foundation Publishing House.  In 1980, Gene C. Finley included “Who Is the King of Glory” in his collection Our Garden of Song.   Over the years, Gillen served his Lord and church in hundreds of ways, including as a deacon, a Bible school teacher, treasurer, and a member of the board of trustees.

In his later years, Gillen suffered from severe physical problems, beginning with a massive heart attack that brought about his retirement from business, and then underwent surgery for cancer of the esophagus.  He passed away, aged 57, early on Sunday morning, July 24, 1983, at Dinuba in Tulare County, California, survived by his wife Romona; two sons, Bruce and Gary; one daughter, Lisa Richards; and five grandchildren. In another week he would have been celebrating his 58th birthday. The news of his passing came as a shock to many of those close to him and his friends at the Yosemite Family Encampment.   Funeral services were held at the Church of Christ in Dinuba, CA, to an overflow crowd that came to pay their last respects. This is the only congregation that Bob ever had membership. The local minister, Joe Tomlinson, officiated, and a chorus from Visalia sang songs and hymns that Gillen had written; burial followed in Smith Mountain Cemetery.  His obituary appeared in the Gospel Advocate, November 17, 1983, page 696.

“Who Is This King of Glory?” looks at several areas in which Jesus is such a glorious King.

I. Stanza 1 calls Him the angels’ King because of His birth

Some time ago and far away,

A child was born that joyous day;

All heaven rings, the angels sing,

For this He was—the angels’ King.

  1. Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea: Matt. 2:1-6
  2. Angels announced His birth to shepherds: Lk. 2:8-14
  3. This shows us that He is so much better than the angels: Heb. 1:1-4

II. Stanza 2 calls Him the Christian’s King because of His perfect life

He humbly lived in Nazareth,

A perfect life the Scripture saith;

He then went forth good news to bring,

And he became the Christian’s King.

  1. Concerning His earthly life as a man, Jesus grew up in Nazareth: Lk. 2:51-52
  2. He lived a perfect life as an example for us: 1 Pet. 2:21-23
  3. Also He brought to man the good news or gospel of His kingdom: Matt. 4:23

III. Stanza 3 calls Him the King of kings because of His death, resurrection, and ascension

He died one day but then arose,

He reigns in triumph o’er His foes;

Good will to men all earth now sings,

For He was crowned the King of kings.

  1. Jesus died one day for our sins: Rom. 5:8
  2. But He arose again the third day: 2 Tim. 2:8
  3. Now He reigns in triumph as King of kings: Rev. 19:11-16

IV. Stanza 4 calls Him the eternal King because of His return in glory

I know we, too, from earth must fly,

When life is over by and by;

In clouds on high we’ll see Him wing—

All hail to Thee, eternal King.

  1. Someday we too from earth must fly away: Ps. 90:10
  2. After that we shall see Him come from on high for us: 1 Thess 4:14-17
  3. Then we shall join with those who hail our King eternally: Rev. 5:8-14

CONCL.:  The chorus first asks who the King of glory is and then answers that Jesus is our  wonderful King.

Who is this King of glory?

Who is this King of glory?

Who is this King of glory?

Jesus, my wonderful King!

Jesus, my wonderful King!

As Christians, we should always be ready to give the answer of Christ whenever someone asks us, “Who Is This King of Glory?”

who is this

All My Love

orville dunlap

(photo of Orville D. Dunlap)


“For the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God” (Jn. 16:27)

    INTRO.:  A hymn which talks about the kind of love that we should have for Jesus our Redeemer is “All My Love.”  The text was written and the tune was composed both by Orville Duane Dunlap, who was born on  Nov. 9, 1934, at Doddridge in Miller County, Arkansas, to Orville Kerval Dunlap and Helen Louise (Martin) Dunlap.  At some point, the family moved to Port Neches, TX, and the father served as an elder in the church at Port Neches for many years.  The younger Dunlap was baptized into Christ by L. Q. Robinson, a gospel preacher for many years who was the husband of Dunlap’s aunt, Lena Robinson.

After graduation from high school in Port Neches, Dunlap attended Lamar University in Beaumont, TX, where he earned the Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Mechanical Engineering.  In 1956, he married Barbara Nell Fergusson of Port Arthur, TX.  They had three children, Mike, Lisa, and Terri.  While Dunlap made his living employed in industry, the love for singing gospel songs was shared by his whole family.  His son Mike attended the Foundation School of Music and the Haskell Singing School.  In addition to music courses taken in college, Dunlap himself studied under such men as Austin Taylor, Lloyd O. Sanderson, and Holland L. Boring, attending the Texas Normal Singing School for three years.

Dunlap led singing for over thirty years and taught classes in music and song directing.  Also he produced several songs.  The words to “Memorial” were written by his aunt, Lena Robinson.  “All My Love” was copyrighted in 1973 and appeared in an undated book entitled Gleam of Glory published by Holland L. Boring Sr.  Dunlap served as a deacon in the Lord’s church for many years and in 1978 was appointed an elder of the Pine Tree Church of Christ in Longview, TX.   In 1980, Gene C. Finley included “All My Love” in his collection Our Garden of Song, and in 1990, Leland R. Fleming included it in his 1999 book Into Our Hands.   Orville Duane Dunlap passed away on Oct. 17, 1996, at the age of 61 in Longview, Gregg County, Texas, and his body was buried in Rosewood Park Cemetery.

“All My Love” expresses three reasons why we should love Jesus.

I. The reason mentioned in stanza 1 is that He fills our hearts with joy

How I love the name of Jesus!

It fills my heart with joy and love;

Some day I’ll see Him in His glory,

When I shall reach my home above.

  1. The name of Jesus is important because only in it can we have salvation: Acts 4:12
  2. Those who receive salvation in His name can truly rejoice in the Lord: Phil. 4:4
  3. This joy comes from Him who was received up into glory: 1 Tim. 3:16

II. The reason mentioned in stanza 2 is that He left us a perfect example

Each day of my life I’ll live for Him,

And like Him I will try to be;

My prayer that through the life I shall live

Someone the way of God may see.

  1. We live for Jesus by denying self, taking up the cross, and following Him: Matt. 16:24
  2. In this way, we try to be like Him who left us this perfect example: 1 Pet. 2:21-23
  3. As we do this, we let our lights shine so that others can see the way of God in us: Matt. 5:14-16

III. The reason mentioned in stanza 3 is that He will take us to heaven

Soon He’s coming back to welcome me;

‘Twill be a happy, wondrous day.

Saved ones will meet the Lord in the sky

And dwell in mansions far away.

  1. I am not fond of songs which use the word “soon” with reference to the Lord’s return since the Scriptures say that we just don’t know the time, but we do know that He’s coming back: Matt. 24:36-44
  2. It will be a happy, wondrous day because He will receive us unto Himself: Jn. 14:1-3
  3. Then the saved ones will meet the Lord in the sky to be with Him evermore: 1 Thess. 4:13-17

CONCL.:  The chorus continues to express praise and love for Jesus, our blest Redeemer.

Jesus, blest Redeemer,

Sent from God in heaven above;

I will live for Him, I will give to Him

All my praise, all my songs, all my love.

Because Jesus has loved me enough to bring me salvation and joy, guide me throughout this life, and give me the hope of eternal life in heaven, I in turn owe Him “All My Love.”

all my love

In That Home Over There

edison dennis

(photo of Edison O. Dennis)


“Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Heb. 4:11)

     INTRO.:  A hymn which reminds us that heaven will be a place of eternal rest is “In That Home Over There.”  The text was written by James Rowe (1865-1933).  The tune was composed by Edison Omega Dennis, who was born on Oct. 11, 1906, at Sayre in Beckham County, Oklahoma, the son of the early song writer John Wesley Dennis (1866–1945), composer of the music for “I’ll Be a Friend to Jesus,” and his wife Susan Elizabeth Lowrance Dennis (1864–1952).  Edison married Eunice Rebecca Huff on Oct 2, 1929, in Hanford, CA.  They adopted a son named Donald.  The family moved to Oklahoma City, OK, in1940 and worshipped with the Capital Hill congregation where he led singing for several years.

Then the Dennises came to Midwest City, OK, in 1951, and were charter members of the Del City Church of Christ.  Soon after he helped to establish the church there, he was made an elder and remained active in the Lord’s work for the rest of his life.  He and several others in the area would meet somewhere nearly every Friday evening for a two hour singing.  For much of his life, he was a pipeline welder who worked in forty states and three countries; also, he was a Boy Scout pack leader.  After leaving the pipelines, he then worked for seven years with the First National Bank of Oklahoma City, where he retired in 1972.

I do not have a date for Dennis’s music for “In That Home Over There,” but the song was copyrighted by his father, so it must have been prior to the father’s death in 1947, and maybe even before Rowe’s death in 1933.  In 1980, Gene C. Finley included it in his collection Our Garden of Song, and in 1990, Leland R. Fleming included it in his 1999 book Into Our Hands.  Edison O. Dennis passed away on July 24, 1995, at Midwest City in Oklahoma County, OK, aged 88.  Preceded in death by his parents, he was survived by his wife, son, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  Funeral services were held on Friday, July 28, at the Del City Church of Christ with Judge N. Norris officiating.  The place of interment was Sunny Lane Cemetery in Del City, Oklahoma.

“In That Home Over There” encourages us to set our mind on things above.

I. Stanza 1 points out what will not be in heaven

Not a sorrow will ever be known,

There will not be a trouble or care;

We shall never be sad or alone,

In that home of the soul over there.

  1. There will be no sorrow because God will wipe away all tears: Rev. 21:4
  2. There will be no trouble because nothing that causes trouble will be there: Rev. 21:27
  3. And there will be no sad loneliness because the very presence of God Himself will be there: Rev. 21:3

II. Stanza 2 focuses on what will be in heaven

There the joy-bells will ring, peal, and chime,

There the ransomed will sing evermore;

Life will always be sweet and sublime,

Over there on that beautiful shore.

  1. The ringing of bells, like the playing of harps, simply symbolizes the joy of heaven: Rev. 14:1-3
  2. The ransomed will sing praise to God: Rev. 15:1-4
  3. Life there will always be sweet and sublime because it will be eternal life: 1 Jn. 2:25

III. Stanza 3 asks each individual if he or she is ready to go to heaven

Will you be in that home by and by,

Where they praise Him with heart and with voice?

Are you sure of a welcome on high,

Where the saved shall forever rejoice?

  1. In heaven, God will be praised with heart and voice: Rev. 5:11-14
  2. There will be a welcome for all who are faithful: Matt. 25:21
  3. But to go there, we must be among the saved: Mk.16:15-16

CONCL.:  The chorus tells us about the joy and rest that will be in heaven

Every soul will blest,

We shall have neither sorrow nor care!

O the joy!  O the rest,

In that home of the soul over there.

Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.  Therefore, we must make ourselves ready by submitting to God’s will if we hope to be prepared for a place where there will be no sorrow or trouble but only praise and joy “In That Home Over There.”

in that home over there

I Ask My Lord

f creamer

(photo of Forest Creamer)


“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matt. 21:22)

     INTRO.:  A hymn which encourages us to ask of God in prayer those things which we most fervently desire is “I Ask My Lord.”  The text was written and the tune was composed both by Forest H. Creamer, who was born on June 29, 1918, in the small Cottle County community of Chalk, Texas, some fifteen miles from Paducah, to Buck Creamer and Ethel Johnson Creamer.  As a child, he attended school and church in Chalk.  During a summer meeting in 1930, he obeyed the gospel and was baptized into Christ by W. P. Skaggs.  After high school, he began farming with his father.  On Dec. 6, 1939, Creamer was married to a neighbor girl, LaVerne Kate, in Quanah, Texas.  They had one son Jamie.

Lifelong members of the Church of Christ, the Creamers worshipped with the church in Chalk until 1944.  In that year, the congregation disbanded because several families moved away, so they began attending services with the Church of Christ in Paducah, where Creamer was the song director after about 1960 and taught a Bible class.  In 1976, while riding a tractor plowging cotton, he composed his first song, “I Ask the Lord.”  It was arranged by his nephew, Eddie Chance, who was on the music faculty of Lubbock Christian College.  Since that time, he has produced several other hymns, some with the assistance of Holland Boring Sr.

In 1980, Gene C. Finley included “I Ask My Lord” in his collection Our Garden of Song.  After having spending all of his life on the cotton farm in the same Chalk community, Creamer passed from this life on Dec. 15, 2013, in Paducah, TX, at the age of 95. Preceded in death by his parents, his wife, and his sister Hazel, he was survived by his son, four grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, seven great-great-grandchildren, and one brother Sherrill. Visitation was held on Monday, Dec. 16, at the Zapata Funeral Home of Paducah, and a graveside service was held on Tuesday, Dec. 17, at the Garden of Memories in Paducah, with Leo Schumpert officiating.

“I Ask My Lord” reminds us of the importance of prayer in the life of the Christian.

I. Stanza 1 asks for the Lord’s guidance in my life

I ask my Lord to guide me day by day,

Watch over me in work or while I play.

He taught me how to follow in His way.

I trust my Lord each minute of the day.

I’m striving for a home in heaven above;

I want to be up there with those I love.

I ask for strength to follow Him today,

And be closer home than I was yesterday.

  1. I need divine guidance in this life: Ps. 32:8
  2. To have it, the Lord wants me to follow Him: Matt. 16:24
  3. His purpose in this is to lead me to a home in heaven above: 1 Pet. 1:3- 5

II. Stanza 2 asks the Lord to bless our loved ones

I pray my loved ones here on earth below

Will follow Christ as on through life they go,’

And be obedient to His holy way

That they may live in that eternal day.

We want to meet again in heaven above,

And be with all the saints we’ve learned to love.

We pray to God to see us through this day,

And be closer home than we were yesterday.

  1. It is always a joy to know that our loved ones are walking in truth, so we should pray that their souls prosper: 3 Jn. vs. 2-4
  2. Of course, to receive eternal salvation, they must be obedient to Christ: Heb. 5:8-9
  3. And if they are, we hope to meet them again when Jesus comes: 1 Thess. 4:13-18

III. Stanza 3 asks the Lord to lead the sinner to salvation

Dear sinner friend, will you obey your God,

And follow Him through life you here must trod?

Change then your ways, get ready for His call,

For surely heaven will be worth it all.

Oh, don’t you want to go to heaven above

Where you can live with you and peace and love?

Then sinner, turn and do His will today,

And be closer home than you were yesterday.

  1. Again, sinners must obey God to be saved, including changing their ways in repentance: Acts 17:30-31
  2. This is necessary to prepare for the call of death: Heb. 9:27
  3. And it should be done as soon as possible as we are nearer the end than we were before: Rom. 13:11

CONCL.:  One of the great spiritual blessings that God has given to me as His child is the privilege of communicating with Him in prayer.   I can cast my cares on Him and make my requests known to Him as I also express my praise and thanks to Him.  And I have His promise that He will hear and answer regardless of whatever “I Ask My Lord.”

i ask my lord0006