Won’t That Be a Happy Meeting?

homerking

(photo of Homer L. King)

WON’T THAT BE A HAPPY MEETING?

“…To meet the Lord in the air; and…ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17)

     INTRO.:  A hymn which looks forward to that time when we shall meet the Lord in the air and ever be with Him is “Won’t That Be a Happy Meeting?” (#662 in Sacred Selections for the Church).  The text was written and the tune was composed both by Homer Leonard King, who was born on April 4, 1892, at Orla, Laclede County, near Lebanon, MO, in a log cabin, in poverty, the son of Alvin and Mary (Davis) King. He was reared by humble Christian parents. Except for a year in Oklahoma and nearly two years in New Mexico, his home was near Lebanon, MO, until he moved to Stockton, CA, in 1961.  King received his education in Dallas and Laclede Counties, MO, and one year in Oklahoma. He taught school for seven years in Missouri.  At the age of 18 in Dec. of 1910, King obeyed the gospel, under the preaching of A. C. Crenshaw, of Harper, KS, in a series of meetings at Union (now the Lees Summit congregation), his home congregation for many years.

Immediately after his baptism KIng began to take an active part in the public work of the church.  In 1914, King was united in matrimony to Maybelle Massie, to which union three children were born, two daughters and a son.  King’s first sermon was preached in 1915, and two years later he conducted his first protracted meeting near Norwood, MO, baptizing three and a number were restored. For the next 47 years he was active in preaching the gospel, covering most of the states, except the New England states. In a meeting in Indiana, 40 responded, 36 being baptized.  In another in Alabama, about 60 responded. In his old home congregation of Lee Summit, 27 were baptized.  In a mission effort near Lebanon, MO, 31 were baptized. He has engaged in a number of debates, oral and written, including a written debate with N. L. Clark on the number of cups for one assembly, which was put out in a tract.   King began his writing in the Apostolic Way.  He also wrote for The Truth published by Harry Charles Harper, being an associate editor.

In 1932, Harper turned the publication to King, and the name was changed to Old Paths Advocate. He published this for 30 years, until he suffered a stroke, and it became necessary to turn the paper to Don McCord.  On Sept. 16, 1933, Maybelle King departed this life. On April 27, 1938, Homer was united in matrimony to Helen Buck, to which union a son was born. King was also a song leader, a vocal music teacher, and a song writer.  “Won’t That Be a Happy Meeting?” was copyrighted in 1944.  He compiled 22 songbooks, and published a book of sermons in 1945.  After 1962, King lived at Stockton, CA, and served as an elder in the Stockton congregation. He was noted for being in the fight against all departures from the Word of God, since his obedience to the gospel, in both the press and the pulpit.  In 1976, his son, Don L. King, acquired the publishing responsibilities of the Old Paths Advocate.  Homer L. King died on July 31, 1983, aged 91, at Stockton, San Joaquin County, CA, and was buried in Cherokee Memorial Park at Lodi, CA.

The song identifies several things which we eagerly anticipate when we meet the Lord.

I. Stanza 1 mentions being with the faithful

In this world we have our burdens,

And we often say good-by;

But we hope to meet the faithful

In that blessed home on high.

  1. All of us have our burdens or load to bear in this world: Gal. 6:5
  2. One of those burdens is having to say good-by to loved ones who die: Heb. 9:27
  3. But we shall meet them again when the faithful are told to enter in: Matt. 25:21

II. Stanza 2 mentions wearing the crown of life

Jesus promised to the Christian

A bright crown of life to wear,

And the glory of His presence,

With all heaven’s joys to share.

  1. Jesus has promised a crown of life to all who love His appearing: 2 Tim. 4:8
  2. But even greater than that is basking in the glory of His presence: 1 Thess. 2:19
  3. In addition, there will be all the other joys of heaven to share: 1 Pet. 1:3-5

III. Stanza 3 mentions receiving a reward

Then, dear brother, let us battle

In the fight of God’s dear Son;

We believe He will reward us

When life’s work on earth is done.

  1. As long as we remain in this life, we must battle in the fight of faith: 1 Tim. 6:12
  2. But those who are faithful in this warfare will receive a full reward: 2 Jn. v. 8
  3. This will occur when they rest from their labors: Rev. 14:13

CONCL.:  The chorus provides motivation for us to prepare for that great meeting of the redeemed over there.

Won’t that be a happy meeting

With redeemed ones over there,

There to dwell with Christ forever

In that mansion bright and fair.

Many years ago, when I was working with a church which used Sacred Selections, we had a special song and prayer to prepare for an upcoming gospel meeting.  I led this song, explaining that the “happy meeting” of the song was not our gospel meeting but that if we worked hard to make the gospel meeting a “happy meeting,” we might just help more people to be prepared for the “happy meeting” of the song.  As Christians, we need to make sure that we live our lives here on earth in such a way so that we, by God’s grace, can know with assurance the answer to the question, “Won’t That Be a Happy Meeting?”

wont-that-be

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God Answers Prayers Today

brent-lewis

(photograph of Brent Lewis)

“GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS TODAY”

“If we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us…” (1 Jn. 5.14)

     INTRO.: A song which affirms that God does indeed hear our prayers is “God Answers Prayers Today” (#71 in Hymns for Worship Revised). The text was written and the tune was composed both by J. Brent Lewis, who was born on Nov. 13, 1940, to Roland and Olive Lewis. The Lewis family was long associated with Florida College in Temple Terrace, FL, since the elder Lewis served the school from its beginning until his retirement and death, first as a professor and registrar and then as dean. Brent’s own formal education includes an A. A. from Florida College, and a B. Mus. Ed. from Abilene Christian University. He is married to the former Joy Harwell, and between them they have four sons and three daughters.

Lewis has preached with churches in Culver City, CA, from 1964 to 1966; Eau Gallie, FL, from 1966 to 1970; and Long Beach, CA, from 1970 to 1975. This hymn first appeared in its original form in a 1972 issue With All Boldness, the monthly bulletin of the Studebaker Rd. church in Long Beach. In 1975, Lewis began working with the church in Garden Grove, CA, and that year the hymn was republished in a subscription magazine also called With All Boldness which Lewis edited. Following this, Brent worked with churches in Lubbock, TX, from 1981 to 1984, and Eau Gallie, FL, again from 1984 to 1988. A new version of the hymn, with alterations to the words and rearrangement of the music, was made by Lewis and R. J. Stevens (1927-2012) in 1986. This was published in Hymns for Worship.

Following that, Lewis lived in Tampa, FL, from 1988 to 1991, and then labored with the Lake Gibson congregation, formerly Lake Wire, in Lakeland, FL. In addition to his preaching, he worked as bookstore manager at Florida college for several years, and served as co-editor of Christianity Magazine from its inception in 1984 for its entire existence, writing two regular columns in the magazine each month. For more than twenty years, his hobby has been the designing and typesetting of published materials, and he has been engaged in preparing several different types of religious materials for publication. Currently he operates the Harwell-Lewis Publishing Co. in Lakeland. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song is found only in Hymns for Worship.

It explains several reasons why it is so important to know that God will hear our prayers.

I. Stanza 1 talks about our weaknesses and burdens that come to humble us

“We pray for strength that our desires may be fulfilled,

But weakness comes and humbles us to do God’s will.

We pray for health that we can do some greater thing,

Yet burdens come; To Him we always cling.”

  1. Certainly prayer is a time when we can make our requests known to God: Phil. 4.6
  2. Thus, it is not wrong to ask of God for strength and for health and other things that we need: Jn. 14.13-14
  3. However, Paul found that when he prayed to the Lord, his burdens were not always removed but he was given the strength to bear them: 2 Cor. 12.7-12

II. Stanza 2 talks about being thankful for the blessings that God has given us

“We thank our Father for the blessings we’ve received,

What a joy to know He hears when we believe.

We do not seek from Him earth’s wealth or worldly fame,

We seek Him first, in Jesus’ blessed name.”

  1. Not only is prayer a time to make our requests known to God, but it is a time to be thankful as well: 1 Thess. 5.18
  2. And in such times, it is a joy to know that the Lord’s ears are open to the prayers of the righteous: 1 Pet. 3.12
  3. So, the purpose of prayer is not to seek worldly fame or earthly wealth, but to seek God’s kingdom and righteousness first with the promise that He will take care of our needs: Matt. 6.33

III. Stanza 3 talks about the cares of growing old

“As days grow short and life begins to fade away,

We see God’s wisdom as He answers when we pray.

Our heavenly Father knows our every care and need,

He knows what’s best; His will we must give heed.”

  1. God has promised to be with His people even when days grow short and life begins to fade away: Isa. 46.3-4
  2. Then, when the evil days come nigh, we can look back and truly see that God knows what is best if we have remembered Him and His will from the days of our youth: Eccl. 12.1-14
  3. The one who has lived a life of trust recognizes that our heavenly Father knows our every care and need even before we ask Him: Matt. 6.8

CONCL.: The chorus emphasizes that in all these situations the Christian can pray and God will answer.

“God answers prayers today,

But in the wisest way,

He knows what’s best for us,

From day to day.”

His answer may be “yes,” it may be “no” (which is always hard), it may be “maybe” (that is sometimes harder), and it may be “just wait a while” (which may be the hardest). But whether in times of trial or joy, and in both youth and old age, the faithful Christian will always take comfort from the fact that “God Answers Prayers Today.”  (The version below is the original.)

god answers prayers

The Bond of Perfectness

tex-stevens

(photograph of Texas H. Stevens)

THE BOND OF PERFECTNESS

“And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness” (Col. 3:14)

      INTRO.:  A hymn which emphasizes the need to put on charity or love in our lives is “The Bond of Perfectness.”  The text was written and the tune was composed both by Texas Hulan Stevens, who was born on Nov. 28, 1922, at Yoakum, in DeWitt County, TX, the son of Madison Roy Stevens (1899–1968) and Hallie Mae (Benton) Stevens (1904–1997).  In his family, there were three brothers and a sister, Eldred Nicklas, Roy Joseph Stevens, Benton Lanier, and Nancy Ruth.  A baby brother died in childbirth.  Attending Abilene Christian College (now University), he was student body president in 1945 and 1946 and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B. A. degree in 1946.  Participating in choral groups, ensembles, quartets, and musicals during college, he came on L. O. Sanderson’s staff in 1947.

On Sept. 12, 1947, Stevens was married to Pansy Mae Dawson; they had three children, Roy Hulan, Douglas Eldred, and Kathy.  From 1946 to 1947, he worked with the Sears and Summit (now Skillman Ave.) church in Dallas, TX.  In addition, he attended Southern Methodist University with thirty hours toward the M. A. in Old Testament, and the University of Houston with sixty hours toward the Doctor of Psychology.  His preaching labors have been at Ferris, TX (1947-1949); Elmwood in Dallas, TX (1949-1954); Bloomington, TX (1955-1956); Highland Hills in San Antonio, TX (1956-1962); Lindale in Houston, TX (1962-1974); McGregor Park in Houston, TX (1974-1977); and Bammel Rd. in Houston, TX (1977-1989).  Also, he did mission work in New Zealand, Jamaica, and Canada.

Beginning in October of 1974, Stevens was a writer and Executive Vice President with Gospel Services Inc. of Houston, TX.  In addition, he was on the Lubbock Christian College Summer Music Camp staff for some ten years, was a choral director for television programs in San Antonio and Houston, and was conductor of the Houston A Cappella Chorus.  Also, he was a song writer.  Among his published songs are “Blessed Are the Little Children” with text by Mrs. James Beardon, “Our Hearts Aflame with Love,” and “The Bond of Perfectness,” all copyrighted in 1966 by the Gospel Advocate Company and published that year in Christian Hymns No. 3 edited by L. O. Sanderson.  Stevens died on Oct. 10, 1989, at the age of 66 in Madisonville, Madison County, TX.

The song focuses on love as the bond of perfection.

I. Stanza 1 asks a question

Would you embrace the King of kings?

Would you be heir of many things?

Yea, more than this shall he possess

Who dons the bond of perfectness.

  1. Jesus Christ is the King of kings: Rev. 19:11-16
  2. Through Him, we can become heirs of many things: Rom. 8:16-17
  3. But the one who dons the bond of perfectness shall possess more than this because God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above what we ask or think: Eph. 3:20

II. Stanza 2 provides the answer

What is this bond so sweet, so dear?

What is this bond we all may wear?

It is to love and grow in grace,

Walking the way of righteousness.

  1. What is this bond? It is love: Eph. 5:1-2
  2. This is certainly one area in which we need to grow in grace: 2 Pet. 3:18 (cf. 1:5-7)
  3. Only by love can we truly walk the way of righteousness: 1 Jn. 3:7-11

III. Stanza 3 explains its importance

Through shadows dark and waters deep,

In trial’s hour, and e’en in sleep,

This bond the heart and life will bless;

Love is the bond of perfectness.

  1. Love will sustain us as we go through waters dark and deep: Isa. 43:1-2
  2. Also it will sustain us in trial’s hour: Jas. 1:2-4
  3. It will even sustain us in our sleep: Prov. 3:21-26

CONCL.:  Love is one of the grand themes of the Bible.  It begins with God’s great love for mankind shown by sending His Son to provide salvation from sin.  Then there is our response to love the Lord with all our hearts, souls, and minds in return.  Also we have the responsibility to love our neighbor as ourselves.  When we understand all this, we shall see that this love is “The Bond of Perfectness.”

bond-perfectness

I Come To Thee

a-e-m-zerr

(photo of E. M. Zerr)

“I COME TO THEE”

“Behold, we come unto Thee; for Thou art the Lord our God” (Jer. 3:22)

     INTRO.:  A song which indicates the desire of the penitent sinner to come to the Lord is “I Come To Thee” (#342 in Hymns for Worship Revised, #588 in Sacred Selections for the Church).  The text was written and the tune was composed both by Edward Michael (E. M.) Zerr, who was born on Oct. 15, 1877, in Strassburg, IL, the second of six children born to Lawrence and Mary Manning Zerr.  Lawrence had been raised as a Catholic, but after he married Mary Manning he obeyed the gospel.  Soon after Edward Michael’s birth, the family moved to Missouri.  At the age of seventeen, young Edward was immersed into Christ in the Grand River near Bosworth, MO.  In June, 1897, he received a letter from A. L. Gepford asking him to go to Green Valley, IL, and preach in his stead.  His first sermon was entitled, “My Responsibility as a Preacher of the Gospel, and Your Responsibility as Hearers.”  In the next 62 years, he preached around 8,000 sermons from California to Connecticut, and from Washington to Arizona.  Among those brethren with whom he was most frequently associated, it was then common to have protracted periods of concentrated Bible studies, commonly known as “Bible Readings.”

Zerr attended a three-month Bible reading conducted by A. M. Morris in 1899 at Hillsboro in Henry County, near New Castle, IN, where he stayed in the home of a farmer named John Hill.  After leaving, he began correspondence with John and Mathilda Hill’s daughter, Carrie.  The following year, while attending a Bible reading in Indianapolis, IN, conducted by Daniel Sommer, he and Carrie were married on Sept. 27, 1900, and took up residence in New Castle, IN, where their four children were born, one of whom died in infancy.  In 1911, A. W. Harvey arranged for him to conduct a Bible reading at Palmyra, IN, which continued for several months.  His special abilities as a teacher were soon recognized, and he continued to conduct such studies for 48 years.  In addition to his oral teaching, he was a prolific writer and was a regular contributor to several magazines.

Zerr’s printed works include a number of books, such as Historical Quotations, consisting of gleanings from 40,000 pages of ancient history to confirm prophetic statements of the Bible; New Testament Questions, which contains a study course of 16,000 Bible questions with at least fifty on each chapter of the New Testament; and Bible Reading Notes, taken from the Bible readings which he conducted.  However, the crowning success of his efforts was the writing of a six-volume commentary on the whole Bible which occupied his time from 1947 to 1955.  Also he composed the music and lyrics of several religious songs.  :”I Come to Thee” was copyrighted in 1956 and first appeared in Sacred Selections for the Church, published that year by Ellis J. Crum (1928-2011).  Another of Zerr’s hymns from that collection is “True Riches.”  Shortly after preaching a sermon, “Full Surrender” taken from Matt. 13:44, on Oct. 25, 1959, Zerr was involved in an automobile accident in Martinsville, IN.  Following four months in a coma, he died on Feb. 22, 1960, and was laid to rest at Hillsboro, IN.

The song emphasizes the need to come to Christ for salvation.

I. According to stanza 1, we must come to Christ for cleansing in the blood

O Lord, I come to Thee,

Thy blood is all my plea,

Myself I give for Thee to live,

Devoted thus to be;

O let Thy love be mine,

And fill with joy divine,

Thy tender care now let me share,

My life, my all, are Thine.”

  1. It is the blood of Christ which cleanses us from all sins: 1 Jn. 1:7
  2. But to have this cleansing, we must give ourselves to Him in obedience to His will: Heb. 5:8-9
  3. When we do this, we receive the benefits of His love: Rom. 5:8

II. According to stanza 2, we must come to Christ for truth

O Lord of truth and love,

All earthly things above,

Thy life bestow and make me know

Thy righteous will to prove;

O keep me in the light,

And lead me by Thy might,

Till life shall end and I ascend,

To Heaven where all is bright.

  1. Only the truth can make us free, and Jesus Himself is the truth: Jn. 8:32, 14:6
  2. When we accept and follow His truth, we prove the good and acceptable and perfect will of God: Rom. 12:1-2
  3. Whether we follow this truth or not is determined by our keeping in the light: 1 Jn. 1:5-6

III. According to stanza 3, we must come to Christ for His guidance

Thy word I would obey,

And keep from day to day

Thy precepts pure, and thus secure

My heart from error’s way.

Then let the world deride,

Within Thy love I’ll hide,

No foes can harm nor fears alarm,

While keeping near Thy side.

  1. The means by which the Lord guides us is His word: Ps. 119:9-11
  2. Therefore, we need to keep His precepts to secure our hearts from error’s way: Ps. 119:104
  3. In this way, we can hide in the protection of His love: Rom. 8:35-39

CONCL.:  Some invitation songs are based on the call of Jesus to come to Him and are addressed directly to the sinner.  Others center around the response that Christ desires of those who come to Him and show the attitude of the penitent sinner.  This song reminds me that if I am lost and wish to be saved, I must tell the Lord, “I Come to Thee.”

i come to thee

Hero of Calvary

c-t-lynn

(photo of Mr. and Mrs. C. T. Lynn)

HERO OF CALVARY

“…Christ Jesus…was made in the likeness of men…and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:5-8)

     INTRO.:  A song which discusses what Jesus, who was made in the likeness of men and became obedient unto death, has done, is doing, and will do for us is “Hero of Calvary.”  The text was written and the tune was composed both by Claude Thomas (“C. T.”) Lynn, who was born on Jan. 11, 1889, in Collins County, TX, near the towns of Kulleoka and Princeton, to Thomas Jefferson Lynn and Rebecca Salina (nee Brandon) Lynn. He had one older brother Willie M. and two sisters, Lela May who was older and Faith who was younger.    His father led singing at the old Pearl and Bryan Sts. Church of Christ in Dallas, TX, and it was there that young Claude really became interested in music.   Greatly encouraged by “Grandma Wright,” he began to sing at an early age.  Later, he attended a school taught by H. N. Lincoln, studied tonality, and learned the family of tones.

Lynn’s father died in July of 1903, and the three older children had to support the family, so when he was just a young teen, Claude got a job at the Texas Seed and Floral Company, working in the field with their flowers.  Yet, he graduated as Salutatorian from the Dallas High School class of 1906.  In October of 1921, he was married to Miss Lucy Woods.  They had four children, Mary Ann, Alice Louise who was stillborn, Ruth W., and Thomas Dale.  During the early 1920s, the family attended the Trinity Heights Church of Christ in Dallas, which began meeting in Ben Burrus’s Feed Store, and then moved to the Lynn home on Idaho St. before erecting a new building.  Not too many years after Dale was born, Lucy became an invalid and eventually passed away in early 1954.  On Dec. 26, 1954, Lynn married Mildred Chitwood.

Lynn’s interest in songs continued.  Newton W. Allphin helped him with his first two hymns and published them in a book called Sing His Praise.  Also he became acquainted with many other prominent song writers who worked with him, including Tillit S. Teddlie, Palmer Wheeler, Holland Boring Sr., and Austin Taylor.  Each time he knew of a singing school, he managed to be able to leave his work as a Certified Public Accountant long enough to attend.  Teddlie and Wheeler conducted a school at the Oak Cliff church which he attended, and there he wrote the words to “Rejoice in the Lord,” published in 1958, which is very popular, and “Move Forward.”  His next singing school was at Sabinal, TX, which was conducted by Boring, Taylor, and Edgar Furr.  Taylor taught the harmony classes, and it was through his encouragement that Lynn really learned to put his songs together with words, melody, and harmony.  He attended the Texas Normal Singing School for some eight or nine years.  “Faithful You Have Been,” copyrighted in 1959, is a unique song written for those who have been married for fifty years.  “Hero of Calvary,” published in 1967, is widely used, appearing in the 1972 edition of the 1971 Songs of the Church (where it replaced “Dying With Jesus” which was moved elsewhere) edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978 Hymns of Praise edited by Reuel Lemmons; and the 2009 Favorite Songs of the Church edited by Robert J. Taylor Jr.  Another of Lynn’s best loved hymns is “He Restoreth My Soul.”  Also from 1967 is “I’ll Always Be True,” written with his wife Mildred and often used at weddings.  Lynn left this life on Aug. 21, 1975.

“Hero of Calvary” suggests three important reasons why we should love Jesus.

I. Stanza 1 tells us that He died for us

Why should I not love Jesus?

Jesus who died for me!

Why should I not adore Him,

Hero of Calvary.

  1. God demonstrated His love for mankind in that Christ died for us: Rom. 5:8
  2. Therefore, we should adore Jesus in song: Rev. 5:9-10
  3. We can revere Him as the “Hero of Calvary” because that is where He gave His life for us: Lk. 22:33

II. Stanza 2 says that He saves us

Why should I not love Jesus?

Lost and alone was I;

In His great love He saved me,

Lifted my soul on high.

  1. At one time, all of us were lost like the sheep who went astray: Lk. 15:4-7
  2. But in His love, He came to save us: 1 Tim. 1:15
  3. As a result, He lifts our souls on high in the heavenly places: Eph. 2:4-6

III. Stanza 3 reminds us that He will come again and take us home to glory

Why should I not love Jesus?

One day He’ll come for me;

Oh, I shall share His glory

For all eternity.

  1. Jesus Himself promised to come back for us: Jn. 14:1-3
  2. Then we shall share His glory: Col. 3:4
  3. And this we shall do for all eternity because we shall receive eternal life: 1 Jn. 2:25

CONCL.: The chorus summarizes the reasons why we should love His name.

Seated in glory, I see Him now,

Highest arch angels before Him bow;

Earthward He came, Bearing my shame,

Ever I’ll love His Name.

Each of us has had some kind of “hero” in our lives—parents, grandparents, other relatives, close friends, historical figures, literary characters, Biblical personages, athletes, musicians, movie stars, etc.  Some are good while others are not so good.  But the very best example to whom we can look for guidance and encouragement is the “Hero of Calvary.”

hero-calvary

Share My Burdens, Lord

chappelear

(photo of Floyd D. Chappelear)

“SHARE MY BURDENS, LORD”

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Cor. 12.9)

     INTRO.: A hymn which asks the Lord to help us bear our burdens with His all-sufficient grace is “Share My Burdens, Lord” (#539 in Hymns for Worship Revised). The text was written by Floyd D. Chappelear, who was born at Columbus, OH, on Apr. 30, 1942, the youngest child of Leslie and Bernice Chappelear, and after working a while as a meat cutter began preaching in 1960. While laboring in West Portsmouth, OH, he was married to Judy Lee Stalzer in November of 1963, and to this union were born two children, a son Kenneth, and a daughter Meredith. Early on Chappelear began writing, and many of his articles appeared in the Gospel Guardian and Truth Magazine. After West Portsmouth, Chappelear labored in full-time preaching work at Ft. Wayne, IN; Savannah, GA; West Columbia, TX; Hazelwood, MO; Bedford, OH; and beginning in 1972, Virginia, where he labored for many years with the church of Christ at Annandale, outside of Washington, DC.  Having held meetings in most parts of the United States and having had the opportunity to preach in several foreign countries, including Belgium and China, he and his wife continued to live in Centreville, VA, until Floyd’s retirement. In addition to writing for various periodicals published by members of the Lord’s church, he has edited Stand, the monthly bulletin of the Annandale congregation, and Sentry, a subscription journal, for a number of years.

I originally met Floyd when he came to Sandusky, OH, in the spring of 1974, to hold a gospel meeting with the congregation where I began my first preaching work. We maintained casual contact following that.  His hymn, “Share My Burdens, Lord,” was produced when he was returning home after visiting a very dear friend who was sharing his burden without complaining. While driving in the car, Chappelear came up with the poem and his wife put it down on paper. The tune was later composed by R. J. Stevens (1927-2012).  The song was copyrighted in 1991 and first published in the revised edition of Hymns for Worship.   Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song is found only in Hymns for Worship Revised.  Floyd eventually developed some serious burdens of his own related to health problems, and, after 53 years of full-time work as an evangelist for the Church of Christ, he retired to Malta, OH, where he was a member of the Wolf Creek Church of Christ and did some preaching as he was able.

On October 28, 2018, Floyd and his wife Judy were in a serious automobile accident. They were both seriously injured, suffering several broken bones. Judy was taken by Medevac to Ohio State University Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and Floyd was taken to the Zanesville, Ohio, hospital but was later transferred to the same hospital where Judy was taken. Floyd suffered three broken bones in his back and two in his neck, but with no apparent paralysis.  On November 3, Floyd Chappelear was moved to the New Lexington Center in New Lexington , OH.  By Nov. 19, the fistula used for Floyd’s daily required dialysis was not working properly and the doctor did not believe it either wise or prudent to attempt further work to insert a new fistula or to try any “heroics.”  On Nov. 21, the doctor took Floyd off of dialysis and sent him home under hospice care.  Then on November 26, 2018, Floyd D. Chappelear, aged 76, passed away at his home.   Preceded in death by his parents; three sisters, Bertha Mae Vanhoose, Marie Stemm, and Maxine Campbell; and a brother, Sheldon Chappelear, he was survived by his wife, daughter, son, and eight grandchildren. The funeral was held on Thursday, November 29, at Miller-Huck Funeral Home in McConnelsville, OH, with Harmon Thomas officiating and burial following in East Branch cemetery near Burr Oak.

His song suggests that we look to the Lord to assist us in dealing with the trials and tribulations of life.

I. Stanza 1 teaches us that the Lord will help us to bear our burdens

“Dear Lord, I pray that Thou wilt help

Me bear my heavy load;

Please share it with me, precious Lord,

Till I walk heaven’s road.”

  1. All of us have various kinds of burdens in life, but God has given His children the privilege of prayer as a time when they can make their requests to Him: Phil. 4.6
  2. Thus, the scriptures tell us that in this way we can cast all our burdens upon the Lord: Ps. 55.22
  3. And He has promised to help us bear our burdens until we walk the street of gold in the New Jerusalem: Rev. 21.1-2, 21

II. Stanza 2 teaches us that the Lord allows our thorns to help us learn to depend on Him

“For in this world I know I need

A thorn within my side.

On Thee, my God, I will depend,

And in Thy grace abide.”

  1. Paul was sent a thorn in his side to help keep him humble in his work: 2 Cor. 12.7-8
  2. In the same way, such thorns in our lives will help us to realize that we depend on God: Ps. 86.1
  3. We need to abide in the word of His grace which will build us up: Acts 20.32

III. Stanza 3 teaches us that the Lord holds out the hope of heaven to encourage us to endure

“If in this life I had no care

To burden me each day,

I may not long for heaven’s home

As I pass by this way.”

  1. One possible reason why the Lord allows the cares and burdens of life is to chasten us: Heb. 12.5-11
  2. The trials and tribulations of this life help us to long for heaven’s home: 2 Cor. 4.16-18
  3. It is by this hope that we are saved as we pass by this way because our hope gives us the strength to persevere: Rom. 8.24-25

IV. Stanza 4 teaches us that the Lord will hold our hands as we journey in life toward heaven

“So, my dear God, I do not ask

That I be burden free;

Just hold my hand in Thine, dear Lord,

And lead me home to Thee.”

  1. When the early church began to face persecution, they did not ask that the persecution stop but that they would be granted boldness to speak the word in spite of the persecutions: Acts 4.23-31
  2. The picture of God’s holding our hands suggests His guidance and protection: Ps. 31.5
  3. Therefore, we should hold to God’s hand in faith, even in spite of our burdens and trials, so that we can be kept for the salvation ready to be revealed at the last time: 1 Pet. 1.3-9

CONCL.: We do not know what lies ahead of us as we arise each new day. Yet, we do know that it is likely that various tribulations will await us as we live on earth. How can people cope with such uncertainty with the possibility of suffering and have the steadfastness to live a victorious life? For the Christian, the answer is an unwavering confidence in the Lord with His care for our needs and His ability to provide for them. Therefore, as I face various responsibilities and sorrows in life, I should ask my heavenly Father to “Share My Burdens, Lord.”

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Home Prepared for All the Saved

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(photo of T. E. “Nong” Smith)

HOME PREPARED FOR ALL THE SAVED

“..Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34)

    INTRO.:  A song which looks forward to that kingdom prepared by the Father for us from the foundation of the world is “Home Prepared for All the Saved.”  The text was written and the tune was composed both by T.E. “Nong” Smith, who was born on Jan. 29, 1877.  Receiving very little formal education in Lincoln County, MS, around Brookhaven, he became a self-made man by reading what he could find and becoming conversant with it.  Excellent in figures, he did much study of the Bible.  As a young man, he was dismissed from the Baptist Church for heresy and became a New Testament Christian, obeying the gospel under the preaching of N. L. Clark.  In all he had eight children, four sons Garland T., Grafton, Dallas, and Carlos, and four daughters Lillian, Agnes, and Bernice, and Iva.

Soon becoming a deep student of the word, Smith began work as a gospel preacher, one of those early evangelists who went from place to place holding meetings and establishing churches with very little or no support.  Early in life he became interested in music, attending many singing schools normals of traveling singers and teachers.  Soon excelling in this, he began teaching his own.  His grandson was Morris Lynwood Smith, who was born Mar. 27, 1924, to Rance and Lillian Smith.  Lynwood’s mother died when he was about two months old, and he ultimately came to live with his grandfather and Nong’s second wife Josie (nee Griffin).

Lynwood was baptized in Aug., 1938, by his grandfather and, after attending singing schools held by his grandfather, left home at the age of seventeen to study at the Stamps Quartet School of Music in Dallas, Texas, in the 1940s.  In demand over the community as a singer and teacher, “Nong” Smith wrote some songs in his later years, including “A Rest for the Soul,” “The Coming Judgment,” and “The Open Fountain for Sin.”  “Home Prepared for the Saved” was published in 1950 in Old Path Melodies No. 3.  In the late forties or early fifties, Smith and various relatives, including his brother Johnson Smith, and his son Garland T. Smith, along with their families, were members of the New Salem Church of Christ at Brookhaven MS.  T.E. (Nong) Smith died on Apr. 17, 1953, in Lincoln County, MS, near Brookhaven.   “Home Prepared for the Saved” also appeared in the 1980 Our Garden of Song compiled by Gene C. Finley; the 1999 Into Our Hands: Songs for the Church edited by Leland R. Fleming; and the 2014 Ceaseless Praise edited by Kevin W.  Presley.

The song mentions several reasons why we should want to go to God’s eternal home.

I. Stanza 1 tells us that we shall meet the Lord

If we meet again in that blest mansion,

Meet again where partings come no more,

We with all the saved of all the ages,

There shall meet the Lord on that bright shore.

  1. Jesus is preparing mansions or dwelling places in the Father’s house for His people: Jn. 14:1-3
  2. Someday all the saved of all the ages will be either raise or changed: 1 Cor. 15:51-52
  3. Then we shall be caught up together in the clouds to be with the Lord: 1 Thess. 4:16-17

II. Stanza 2 suggests that we shall reign with God there

O the joy and bliss of that great meeting,

Basking in the sunlight of God’s love;

Souls redeemed from sin and all corruption

Reign supremely in that home above.

  1. There will be joy and bliss at that great meeting: Jude v. 24
  2. Those who have been redeemed from sin and all corruption will be there: Rev. 5:8-10
  3. And they will reign forever in that home above: Rev. 22;3-5

III. Stanza 3 says that we shall live in glory where there is no night

When we come to cross death’s chilly Jordan,

And we catch a glimpse of glory bright,

Will it be with you and me in glory,

Living on and on where comes no night?

  1. Death is often poetically symbolized by the Israelites’ crossing of the Jordan into Canaan: Josh. 3:14-17
  2. What awaits the faithful on the other side is referred to as glory: Col. 1:27, 3:4
  3. Then they will live on and on in a land where comes no night: Rev. 21:23-25

IV. Stanza 4 points out that we shall receive a great reward

Look to yonder home, O way-worn pilgrim,

Promised by Jehovah in His word;

Over there ‘twill be no sin nor sorrow,

And at last receive your great reward.

  1. In this world we are but pilgrims and strangers: 1 Pet. 2:11-12
  2. But we look to yonder home where there will be no sin nor sorrow: Rev. 21:1-4
  3. There we shall receive our great reward: 2 Jn. v. 8

CONCL.: The chorus continues to remind us is preparing a home for His people in heaven.

Home prepared by Christ for every nation,

Where shall come no sin nor dark despair;

Home where there shall be no separation,

O the joyful thought of meeting there.

God has blessed us on this earth with many things to enjoy, but as long as we’re here our lives will also have their times of trials, tribulations, and troubles.  Thus, we always await with eager anticipation that “Home Prepared for All the Saved.”

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