Hold Me Close And Hold Me Fast Lyrics – Most people in the world do not experience lasting joy in their lives. We’re on a mission to change that. All our resources are there to guide you to eternal joy in Jesus Christ.
Have you ever feared that your faith might fail? Are you worried that you won’t be able to “endure” or “endure” the long and difficult journey of the Christian life?
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Robert Harkness (1880–1961) was a gifted Australian pianist who traveled the world in his twenties with the famous evangelist R. Torrey: One night at an evangelistic meeting in Canada, Harkness met a young man who had recently been converted and who feared that he might not be able to “hold it.” Harkness longed for the young man and countless others affected by revival meetings to have confidence in their hearts that finishing the race and keeping the faith had not finally given up on them. He wanted this young man and others to know that God finishes what He starts.
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Jude mentions God’s sustaining power in his favorite doxology. “Now unto him that is able to keep you from temptation, and with great joy to present you blameless before his glory” (Jude 24). It is a truth that the apostle Paul often repeated, as he did to the Philippians; “I am convinced that he who began a good work in you will complete it in the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). . And when he said to the Thessalonians: “The Lord is faithful. He will establish you and keep you from evil” (2 Thessalonians 3:3). And when he testified about his endurance, the decisive reason for his oppression was not his own hand and push, but “because Christ Jesus made me his own” (Philippians 3:12).
Yes, Paul continued. He was a hard worker. He worked. He applied himself. He strove to endure and go to make Jesus his own. But he knew that all his striving and endurance were decidedly enabled by the power of Christ, who had made him his, and would surely hold him fast.
A young convert in Canada was not wrong to doubt his ability to “endure” or “endure.” Indeed, he must have doubted himself, as we must doubt ourselves. But what the young man still didn’t know deep down in his heart was that his steadfastness in faith just hadn’t left him. When God truly begins a work, he will finish it (Philippians 1:6). If Jesus has made us his own, he will be faithful to keep us to the end (1 Thessalonians 5:24; Hebrews 10:23).
And not only from our own sin and weakness and tendency to wander, but also from satanic attack. He will “keep you from evil” (2 Thessalonians 3:3). Jesus prayed for his people the night before his death. “I ask not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15), and the Father never forgets to answer it; prayer for those who are truly his Son.
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After a troubling conversation with a Canadian convert, Harkness wondered how he could help other Christians celebrate the power of God’s sustaining hand in our perseverance and deepen this sweet truth in our souls. For a musician like Harkness, the answer was obvious: song. He noted in a letter to London hymnist (and friend of Charles Spurgeon) Ada Habershon (1861–1918) that the need for hymns encouraged “sure assurance of success in the Christian life.” Inspired, he wrote seven. One he called “When I Fear My Faith Will Fail.” Harkness then wrote the original tune.
A century later, across the pond, Matt Merker, an American worship pastor in Washington, D.C., pulled out Habershon’s words, given to him by a congregant during a probationary period. He found fresh comfort and hope in the words, set new music to the old hymn, and added a third verse. He shared the song with his wife and then senior pastor Mark Dever, who thought the church should try singing it. “The church quickly took hold of the song and began singing it joyfully (and really loudly),” Merker says. Word soon spread, and churches far and wide are now singing Habershon’s old hymn to Mercer’s new tune. Mercer says: “It reinvigorates us to know that God is in control and he will see us through to the end.”
To his people, but he does so with “great joy” (Jude 24). Habershon’s hymn echoes the truth and beauty of Psalm 149:4, “The Lord delights in his people,” as he writes.
God will not only protect his people, but he is pleased to do so. He not only keeps us strong, but He does it with great joy. And there is no safer place in the universe than to be hidden with Jesus in the heart of God’s pleasure.
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Desiring God partnered with Shane & Shane’s The Worship Initiative to write short meditations for over a hundred popular worship songs and hymns.
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Audio Article Prayer Problem Jesus says. Did he really mean that? If so, how would that prayer sound today? Greg Morse, 2023 June 27, This devotional hymn has its roots in three continents. The story begins with the American evangelist R.A. Torrey (1856–1928) and his musical director Charles Alexander (1867–1920), who were touring Australia in 1902, met the young pianist Robert Harkness (1880–1961).
Dr. Torrey and Mr. Alexander came to my home town of Bendigo in June. Before they came the Mission Committee came to me and asked if I would help out at the meetings by playing the piano for a while. I was not interested in evangelistic meetings. indeed, I was rather opposed to them, but the idea occurred to me that perhaps my good father and mother would be pleased if I attended these meetings, and I consented. I hadn’t been into the first meeting ten minutes before I realized it was definitely going to be hot, much hotter than I expected.
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Mr. Alexander announced hymn number 7 and soon I was playing a two-line hymn with an old southern tune. I wasn’t deeply interested and played it mindlessly. When I came to the chorus, I closed the book while playing the “Song of Glory”. I quickly memorized it and improvised the chorus in an attempt to displease Mr. Alexander; but instead of displeasing him, he turned and looked at me and said, Continue in the same way. That’s what we want.” So I continued. The next time we sang, I played a full octave in the accompaniment, thinking he would surely be upset, but he wasn’t there to be upset. At the end of the meeting, Dr. Torrey asked me if I was a Christian. I straightened up and said. “No, I’m here to play the piano.” Dr. Torrey left me and went to pray for me, I think.
After that experience, Alexander challenged Harkness to accept Christ. Harkness, moved by Alexander’s genuine concern for his spiritual welfare, accepted. In addition, Alexander was so impressed by Harkness’ abilities that he employed the young man in his traveling musical team, creating a partnership that lasted several years.
After their work in Australia, the team traveled to Tasmania, New Zealand and India before moving their efforts to the British Isles. In 1905, while in London, towards the end of their campaign, the team came into contact with the singer Ada Habershon (1861–1918), producing their first joint work;
A few days before the end of the Strand movement, a new gospel song was added to Mr. Alexander’s collection of revival hymns, which became instantly popular. It was titled, “Oh, What a Change!” and was written by a lady already widely known for her sacred poetry, Miss Ada R. Habershon. He was a campaign worker and one afternoon heard Dr. Torrey speak on “The Second Coming of Christ.” He was very impressed by the Doctor’s words and wrote the beautiful lines of the hymn on his return home. … Miss Habershon soon handed the lines to Mr. Harkness with a request that he set them to music. One night during Dr. Torrey’s sermon, while the pianist was looking over the lines, he was inspired and took a piece of paper from his pocket and wrote down the melody. The hymn was quickly printed as originally written, without any alteration, and has delighted all who have the privilege of hearing it. In the last days of the campaign in the Strand, it was sung on average at least once each
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