THE BIRTH OF THE SONG “PRECIOUS LORD”
Written by: Thomas Andrew Dorsey (1899 - 1993)
Submitted by: Pat Lewallen
Back in 1932, I was a fairly new husband. My wife, Nettie and I were living in a little apartment on Chicago's south side. One hot August afternoon I had to go to St. Louis where I was to be the featured soloist at a large revival meeting. I didn't want to go. Nettie was in the last month of pregnancy with our first child. But a lot of people were expecting me in St. Louis. I kissed Nettie good-bye, clattered downstairs to our Model A and, in a fresh Lake Michigan breeze, chugged out of Chicago on Route 66. However, outside the city, I discovered that in my anxiety at leaving, I had forgotten my music case. I wheeled around and headed back. I found Nettie sleeping peacefully. I hesitated by her bed; something was strongly telling me to stay. But eager to get on my way, and not wanting to disturb Nettie, I shrugged off the feeling and quietly slipped out of the room with my music.
The next night, in the steaming St. Louis heat, the crowd called on me to sing again and again. When I finally sat down, a messenger boy ran up with a Western Union telegram. I ripped open the envelope. Pasted on the yellow sheet were the words: “YOUR WIFE JUST DIED.” People were happily singing and clapping around me, but I could hardly keep from crying out. I rushed to a phone and called home. All I could hear on the other end was 'Nettie is dead.. Nettie is dead.'
When I got back, I learned that Nettie had given birth to a boy. I swung between grief and joy. Yet that same night, the baby died. I buried Nettie and our little boy together, in the same casket. Then I fell apart. For days I closeted myself. I felt that God had done me an injustice. I didn't want to serve Him anymore or write gospel songs. I just wanted to go back to that jazz world I once knew so well. But then, as I hunched alone in that dark apartment those first sad days, I thought back to the afternoon I went to St. Louis. Something kept telling me to stay with Nettie. Was that something God? Oh, if I had paid more attention to Him that day, I would have stayed and been with Nettie when she died.
From that moment on I vowed to listen more closely to Him. But still I was lost in grief. Everyone was kind to me, especially one friend. The following Saturday evening he took me up to Maloney's Poro College, a neighborhood music school. It was quiet; the late evening sun crept through the curtained windows.
I sat down at the piano, and my hands began to browse over the keys. Something happened to me then. I felt at peace. I felt as though I could reach out and touch God. I found myself playing a melody, once into my head they just seemed to fall into place:”'Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn, through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light, take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.”
The Lord gave me these words and melody, He also healed my spirit. I learned that when we are in our deepest grief, when we feel farthest from God, this is when He is closest, and when we are most open to His restoring power. And so I go on living for God willingly and joyfully, until that day comes when He will take me and gently lead me home.
(Thomas Andrew Dorsey was born in Villa Rica, Georgia, on July 1, 1899. Across the course of his lifetime he penned more than a thousand gospel hymns, including "Say Amen," "Somebody," "Take My Hand" and "Peace in the Valley." He died in Chicago on January 23, 1993 of complications arising from Alzheimer's disease.)
From Heavens Point of View
Copied & submitted by: Cathy Walker
Written by:Priscilla McGruder
Today I faced a mountain that I have no strength to climb.
For the struggle of this journey's left me weak both in body and in mind.
Where I stand to the peak is a distance on my own I cannot reach.
So this journey of a thousand steps begins right here on my knees.
Soon I'll soar like an eagle high on wings of grace.
Far into the heavens where I can almost see God's face.
Rising in his splendor to heights I never knew.
What once looked like a mountain is just a hill from Heaven's point of view.
I may face things tomorrow I can't comprehend today.
Circumstances so uncertain make it hard to find the strength to pray.
But I'm living in the promise I'll never leave you I will always see you through.
So what's this mountain to an eagle flying high from Heaven's point of view?
The Legend of the Sand Dollar
Copied & submitted by: Alice Harrelson
The sand dollar brings a message
From our Lord to you and me
Spreading good will to all mankind
From the bottom of the sea.
Five holes show the wounds the Lord received
When He died for us on earth
And an Easter lily celebrates
His miraculous rebirth.
In the center of the lily
Is a symbol of the star
That guided shepherds to His side
And wise men from afar.
If you turn the dollar over
A poinsettia you will see
And if you break it open
Five doves will be set free!
Written by: Pat Lewallen
I like to recall things that happened when I was a child growing up. I can remember my two sisters and me being outdoors one fall afternoon. Momma and Daddy were busy raking and burning leaves. I don’t like to admit it, but the three of us girls were trying to smoke leaves. I guess we thought we were cool! It was not cool. It was a very stupid thing to be doing.
Phyllis, Sandra, and me were all wearing dresses. In fact, Sandra was wearing my favorite dress with a snail design sewn on the upper shoulder area. We all three squatted down so Momma and Daddy wouldn’t see us. After a little while, Sandra asked if we thought it was getting hot. Phyllis and I both answered that we didn’t think so. Suddenly, Sandra jumped up and her dress tail was on fire. Sandra took off running. We yelled at her to stop and roll. There was no stopping her. She was off to the races.
Phyllis and I screamed loud enough to get Daddy’s attention. He took off running after Sandra. He caught up to her and ripped the burning dress off of her. We all went into the house. Sandra was almost scared to death. I remember her hair being singed and she had some small burns on her. They weren’t bad enough to have to take her to the hospital. Daddy had blisters on his hands from getting the burning dress off of Sandra. I can still remember standing and staring out the front door and crying. Momma told me not to cry because Sandra and Daddy were okay. Momma didn’t know I was really crying because I saw my favorite snail dress still smoldering out in the front yard. My main focus that day was on me. I was crying because my snail dress was destroyed. I knew I would never get another one like it.
I’m so glad Daddy saved Sandra’s life that day. I couldn’t imagine my life without her. She is a best friend to me. Sandra is also a very dedicated Christian. I know she prays for our immediate family and our extended families. I depend on Sandra to pray for me when I have a burden or a special need. She is truly a special blessing in my life. I will always love and treasure her.
Today, are you in the same condition I was in that fall afternoon? Is your main focus on just what pertains to you and your possessions in this earthly life? Are you running from the Heavenly Father? Has the Lord been dealing with you and asking you to give your heart to Him? If so, please stop running and let Jesus catch up to you and save your soul. Jesus died and shed His blood on Calvary’s cross to atone for our sins. Only those who stop running from Jesus and let Him come into their heart will make Heaven their eternal home. If you keep running and don’t accept Jesus into your life, then eternal Hell awaits your soul. I really can’t grasp how long eternity really is. I do know I will spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus. If you’ll accept Jesus into your heart, you can have this blessed assurance too!
A Letter From Jesus
Copied & submitted by: Amy Hunt
My Precious Friend
I am sending you this letter by way of one of my disciples. I just wanted to let you know how much I love you and how I greatly desire to become a meaningful part of your life.
This morning when you awoke, I was already there with you in the light of My beautiful sunshine that filled the room. I was hoping that you would say “Good Morning” to Me; you didn’t, so I thought maybe it just was just a little too early in the day for you to notice Me!
Again I tried to get your attention when you stepped out of your door. I kissed your face with a soft gentle breeze. I breathed upon you My fragrant sweet breath scented with flowers. Then I sang you a love song through the birds in the trees. You just walked right past Me!
Later on in the day, I watched over you as you were talking with some of your friends. Oh, how I wished you would talk to Me also. I waited, but you just went along on your way!
This afternoon I sent you a refreshing shower and glistened to you from each raindrop. I even shouted to you a time or two with thunder trying to get your attention. Then I painted you a lovely rainbow in the mist of My fluffy white clouds. I just knew you would see Me then, but you were unaware of My presence!
This evening to close your day, I sent you a beautiful sunset. After that I winked at you a thousand times through My stars, hoping you would see Me and wink back. You never did.
Tonight, when you went to bed, I spilled moonlight upon your face to let you know that I was there with you. I was hoping you would talk to Me a little while before you went to sleep. You never said a word! If hurt Me deeply; however I continued to watch over you all through the night thinking maybe, you would say “Hello” to Me in the morning.
Each and every day, I have revealed Myself to you in many strange and wonderful ways, hoping that you would accept Me as your Shepherd. For I am the only one who can supply you with all your needs. My love for you is deeper than the deepest ocean and bigger than the great blue sky. I have so very much to give to you and share with you. Please let Me hear from you soon.
Your Loving Friend Forever,
|+++ The Christian Banner - February 2010 +++
Celebrate Valentine’s Day
Written by: Pat Lewallen
Valentine’s Day is celebrated February 14th each year. It is the second most popular occasion for giving greeting cards. This day is set aside to express our thoughts and appreciation to those we love. Helen Keller, the blind and deaf author and lecturer wrote, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”
I recently read an article that included a story about two little sisters who were busy playing. The older sister was six years old and the younger was four years old. Their mother overheard their conversation.
The four year old made the statement that when they died they wouldn’t be able to play together.
Her six-year-old sister quickly said they would be able to play together in Heaven.
The younger sister accepted this and then asked how would they be able to find each other.
The six year old stated it would be easy to find each other. They both would have their own mansion and there would be a sign on each mansion with their name on it.
The four year old became very sad. She had a big problem. She didn’t know how to read.
The older sister told her little sister not to worry. She wouldn’t die until she learned to read.
How I wish this statement by the six-year-old child could be completely true. I began to think about all the abortions taking place in our world everyday. These precious little lives are being snuffed out before they are born.
On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court passed a ruling that legalized abortion in America. What a sad day! I am pro-life. I know God is pro-life. The sixth commandment He gave us to live by states: “Thou shalt not kill.” Exodus 20:13 (King James version)
Here are some recent abortion statistics:
In the United States, there are about 3,700 abortions per day, or about 1.35 million per year. Ninety three percent (93%) of all abortions performed in the United States are because the child is unwanted.
Worldwide, there are about 115,000 abortions per day, or about 42 million per year.
I don’t know how these statistics affect you but they break my heart. Abortion is a terrible tragedy in the United States and our world today. Abortion destroys the little human body, but can’t destroy the human soul. God created the souls of these babies. These aborted souls will go back to God for all eternity. The Bible tells us there will be mansions in Heaven. I’m not sure if our names will be on them or not. God may even have special mansions for the aborted babies. In Heaven, aborted babies will experience God’s perfect love throughout eternity.
Aborted babies never got the chance to learn to read. They never got the chance to learn to love or be loved on this earth. They never got to celebrate Valentine’s Day on this earth with someone they loved. Let’s pray each day for those considering having an abortion. Pray earnestly that someone can reach them and convince them to let the baby live. Make it a habit to tell your children you love them every day. Be sure to pray every day for them too. God loves our children. We need to tell and show our children every day that we love them too!
Mark 10:13-14 (King James version)
13And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
14But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Year Round Valentine
I love you all through February,
Not just on Valentine’s Day;
I cherish you when flowers of spring
Appear in the midst of May.
I adore you in the summer,
When the air is filled with heat;
Without you in my life each day,
I wouldn’t be complete.
I treasure you in fall,
When leaves are turning gold;
I loved you when you were younger;
I’ll love you when you’re old.
I prize you in the winter,
When colder days are here;
I love you, love you all the time,
Every minute of the year.
So I’ll give to you this Valentine,
But I want to let you know,
It’s not just today, but always,
That I will love you so.
Written by: Joanna Fuchs
Keep these thoughts with you throughout the coming years!
- If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.
- If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it.
- He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning.
- Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen.
- He could live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart.
- What about the Christmas gift at Bethlehem, not to mention that Friday at Calvary!
Face it. He’s crazy about you!
This is an old poem that I’ve always enjoyed. We all must have this touch to make it to Heaven. And that’s where my journey will end. Thank God!
The Touch of the Master’s Hand
Copied & submitted by: Lela Farlow Trotter
"Twas battered and scared, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.
"What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
"Who'll start bidding for me?
A dollar, a dollar - now who’ll make it two
Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?
"Three dollars once, three dollars twice,
Going for three". . . but no!
From the room far back a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet,
As sweet as an angel sings.
The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said: "What am I bidden for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow;
"A thousand dollars - and who'll make it two?
Two thousand - and who'll make it three?
Three thousand once, three thousand twice
And going - and gone," said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We do not quite understand -
What changed its worth?" The man replied:
"The touch of the master’s hand."
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and torn with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd.
Much like the old violin.
A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on,
He's going once, and going twice -
He's going - and almost gone!
But the MASTER comes, and the foolish crowd,
Never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul, and the change that's wrought
By the touch of the MASTER'S hand.
~Author~ Myra Brooks Welch (1877-1959)
Written by: Irene Morris Wright
Jack Frost peeping through the window glass
Seemly to say winter is here at last.
Blankets of new fallen snow adorns the lawn
As night gives way to the break of dawn.
The north wind breaths a chilling tide
As old man winter takes us on a roller coaster ride!
Nature slumbers in a deep winter’s freeze
As sun-kissed icicles caress the trees.
Children playing in the driven snow
As laughter seemly keeps them warm from head to toe!
The moon and earth will soon embrace
Casting a light on earth’s dark face.
Soon winter will be at journey’s end
But dressed in splendor and beauty,
Will take its’ place once again!
The Memory Doctor Visit
Written by: Pat Lewallen
Dedicated to: My Dear Mother
Mom, I took you again for your memory doctor visit.
I feared the results. I was in great distress.
Why didn’t I just trust the Lord?
Why didn’t I ask Him to help you with the test?
I know I wasn’t much comfort to you.
I hardly talked; just kept my eyes at rest.
You gently said, “I love you dear. It’s okay!”
In my heart I knew, you had prayed about the test!
In walked the memory doctor. The testing soon began.
Some answers were right. Some you didn’t even guess.
I listened to your answers, and I was impressed.
With joy I thought, “Mom may have passed the test!”
“I’m looking at your answers,” the memory doctor said.
“I’ll see you again next year,” he said without protest.
“You missed only one question more than last time.”
“Keep taking the medicine. You have passed the test!”
Mom, I want to tell you once again,
I love you so much and you’re the very best!
You’ve been a good and faithful Christian mother.
You have passed the test!
Mom, there's one last test for you some day,
When you lay your tired, weary body down in final rest.
I know for sure the Lord will smile and say to you:
“Welcome home, My child! You have passed the test!”
|+++ The Christian Banner - January 2010 +++
Written by: Richard Lewallen
(This article reprinted from our January 1976 Christian Banner.)
As we enter this New Year, I wonder to myself what the New Year will hold for my loved ones and me. I wonder if any of my friends and loved ones will find Jesus as their Lord and Savior this year. I also wonder in fear if perhaps one of my loved ones might wait too late, and be called out into eternity unprepared to meet God this New Year.
Many thoughts run through our minds as we look into the New Year. Many people will look at the New Year as the year when we celebrate our nations 200th birthday, or the year we elect a new president. And no doubt our nation will spend the New Year preparing for the presidential election. These are the events that will not slip up on the people because they are preparing for them now.
But what if this happens to be the year our Lord will return? How many would He find prepared and looking for this event? Jesus spoke in the scriptures about His return to rapture away the church and how it would be a great surprise to all those on the face of the earth. Jesus said He would return when you think not.
This no doubt will be a year when the vast majority of Americans will not be thinking of the return of our Lord. All the great events planned for 1976 will probably cause many people to forget about the possibility of the greatest event of all times. The second coming of Christ is an event none of us can afford to miss! Let us all make a New Year’s resolution that we will keep our eyes and minds on Christ this year.
After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice, "Who was THAT?"
My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo and I said, "No, how are we alike?'' "You're both old," he replied.
Without God, our week would be:
Sinday, Mournday, Tearsday, Wasteday, Thirstday, Fightday and Shatterday.
A week without God leaves you WEAK!!!
Copied & submitted by: Lester Moffitt
Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, "Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carvings and everyone would see the beauty."
The second tree said, "Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull."
The third tree said, "I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me."
After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, "This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter," and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.
At the second tree the woodsman said, "This looks like a strong tree, I should be able to sell it to the shipyard." The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.
When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, "I don't need anything special from my tree, so I'll take this one", and he cut it down.
When the first tree arrived at the carpenter's, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for.
The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end.
The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark.
The years went by, and the trees forgot about their lofty dreams.
Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.
Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn't think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and He stood and said "Peace" and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.
Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.
The moral of this story is that when things do not seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, He will give you great gifts. Each of the trees got what they wanted, but not in the way they had imagined. We do not always know what God's plans are for us. We just know that His ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best!
Written by: Irene Morris Wright
Showers of blessings fall upon us each day
Providing a rainbow of hope along the narrow way.
Gleams of sunlight break through the clouds of despair
Leaving a bountiful supply of love and faith to share.
Taking each journey in strive
Blessings follow us down the paths of life.
And whether in valleys or climbing mountaintops
They seem to know just where to stop.
Take this seed and nourish it from the start
And feel the blessings from the heart.
Embrace it with a radiant glow
And watch the blessings grow.
When harvest time is near
Help us to conquer our fear.
Give us faith to hold on to
And let us be thankful for all the things you do.
Blessings are the joy of today
The light that guides the way
The hope of tomorrow
And the love that drives away sorrow.
Listen to the words of wisdom, life’s greatest lessons
For they are the strength to all of God’s blessings.
So bow your head in prayer
And thank God for all His love and care.
Know that our blessings are one of our greater treasures
And all the world’s greatest pleasures
Cannot bring peace to the soul
But only the blessings given from days of old.
The Old Logging Truck
Written by: Pat Lewallen
I was behind the wheel, not paying much attention.
Suddenly in front of me appeared the old logging truck.
I was in a big hurry, an appointment I had to keep.
Now I’d be late; that was just my luck!
I saw dark exhaust smoke billowing into the sky.
The old truck was struggling with its heavy load.
I saw a long steep hill ahead of us.
With no place to pass, the old truck I followed.
I began to inspect the logs the old truck carried,
Some logs were so small and slender I could see.
I wondered why they weren’t left in the woods,
Until later, when big strong trees they would be.
Some logs looked so old and almost useless,
They appeared weak and well past their prime.
I wondered why they hadn’t been taken,
In a load harvested at a much earlier time.
Some of the logs looked so flawless.
They were just so perfect in every way!
Now these logs should make fine lumber.
They were harvested on just the perfect day!
As I slowly followed the old logging truck,
My mind slowed too; time to think was free.
The old truck reminded me of something else.
It was in a scene that appeared to me.
The old logging truck was the death angel.
The logs were human souls. I cried as I viewed the scene.
The death angel harvested the souls required that day.
I saw them all - the young, the old, and those in between.
We each have a day we will leave this world.
And none of us are promised we’ll live to be old.
Are you ready if your soul is harvested today?
Would you hear the words you’d want to be told?
I know everyone wants to go to Heaven.
It’s reserved for those who know Jesus as King.
Please ask Him to save you and forgive your sins today.
On harvest day, you’ll hear the joy bells of Heaven ring!