“JESUS LIFTED ME”
“I will extol Thee, O Lord; for Thou hast lifted me up…” (Ps. 30:1)
INTRO.: A song which expresses thanks to the Lord for lifting us up is “Jesus Lifted Me.” The text was written by George Orlia Webster, who was born on Apr. 25, 1866, at Fort Ann. NY, the son of a Baptist minister. Attending school at Saxon’s River Academy, George also became a Baptist minister and began his work with a church in St. Johnsbury, VT. In 1899 he married Mabel Mary Vestella. Of his more than fifty years of service as a minister, over thirty were spent in inter-denominational settings, often with churches having Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist members. The author of several hundred published hymns and other songs, he produced “Jesus Lifted Me” around 1923 when it was copyrighted by the Gospel Advocate Co. in their Choice Gospel Hymns edited by Thomas B. Mosley with a tune by James Henry Fillmore (1849-1936). Webster and Fillmore collaborated on another song, “The Victory May Depend on You” copyrighted in 1906.
Perhaps one of Webster’s best known songs, at least among us, is “I Need Jesus” with music by Charles H. Gabriel, copyrighted in 1924 and used in Sacred Selections of the Church. Other books that I have seen include Webster’s “Love Led Him to Calvary,” also with music by Gabriel and copyrighted in 1924. Cyberhymnal lists eight of Webster’s hymns, but Hymnary.org credits him with 222. In later years, Webster was minister with the Federated Church at Essex, NY, where there is a plaque in his memory. His death occurred on Oct. 1, 1942, most likely near Bolton Landing, NY. Among other hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, “Jesus Lifted Me” appeared in the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1) edited by L. O. Sanderson.
The song reminds us of the blessings that come to those who seek Jesus to lift them up.
I. Stanza 1 says that Christ will assist us with our burden of sin and care
“When I was sinking in despair, O’er-burdened by my sin and care,
I raised to heaven an earnest prayer, and Jesus came and lifted me.”
A. The Christian who has turned away from the Lord is often pictured as sinking in despair just as Peter was sinking in the sea when he looked away from Jesus: Matt. 14:28-30
B. The reason for this is that we sometimes allow ourselves to be over-burdened by sin and care: 1 Jn. 1:8
C. However, we can raise an earnest prayer and if our aim is truly to be right with God, He will hear and respond: 1 Jn. 5:14
II. Stanza 2 says that Christ will be a helper to bind our wounds
“No other helper could I find, No other friend my wounds to bind,
But one I found, so tender, kind, When Jesus came and lifted me.”
A. Sometimes we feel as if there is no one who can help us: Ps. 142:4
B. This is especially true when we have deep spiritual wounds that need binding: Ps. 147:3
C. But Jesus is a helper who is tender and kind because He is the friend of sinners: Matt. 11:19
III. Stanza 3 says that Christ will walk beside us to cheer us on our way
“He walks beside me day by day To cheer me on my earthly way;
In Him I find my strength and stay, Who heard my prayer and lifted me.”
A. After we have turned back to Christ, He will abide with us as we love Him and keep His word: Jn. 14:23
B. When we thus walk with Him, He will cheer us on our earthly way: Jn. 16:33
C. And in Him we can find the strength we need: Eph. 6:10
CONCL.: The chorus points out that no matter how bad things seem, Jesus Christ is there to lift us up if we only put our trust in Him.
“From sin’s dark night He lifted me, When I was in despair;
To plains of light He lifted me, And walks beside me there.”
Every Christian was once a lost sinner whom Jesus lifted out of guilt and shame. And even though we may try to live righteous lives, we still stumble and fall from time to time. Therefore, as I look back over my life, I am so thankful for those times when “Jesus Lifted Me.”