Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above

Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above
By Johann J. Schutz 

Sing praise to God who reigns above,
The God of all creation; 
The God of pow'r the God of love,
The God of our salvation. 
With healing balm my soul is filled, 
And every faithless murmur stilled; 
To God, all praise and glory!
What God's almighty power hath made, 
His gracious mercy keepeth;
By morning glow or evening shade,
His watchful eye ne'er sleepeth.
Within the kingdom of His might,
Lo, all is just and all is right;
To God, all praise and glory.
The Lord is never far away,
But, thru all grief distressing, 
An ever present help and stay,
Our peace and joy and blessing. 
As with a mother's tender hand, 
He leads His own, His chosen band, 
To God, all praise and glory. 
Thus all my toilsome way along, 
I sing aloud His praises; 
That men may hear the grateful song.
My voice unwearied raises,
Be joyful in the Lord my heart;
Both soul and body bear your part,
To God all praise and glory. 
Evangelist Vance Havner once quipped, "When I was a boy, preachers used to talk about 'holding a revival.' What we really need is somebody who will turn a revival loose." Well, that's what Philip Spener did in Germany, spurred on by his friend and attorney, Johann Jakob Schutz.
Years before, Martin Luther had been all aflame as he established the Protestant Reformation, and the early Lutherans were firebrands of holy zeal. But a generation later, Lutheranism had lost its steam. By the 1600s, church life tended to be formal and shallow. The doctrine was correct but cold. That's when Philip Spener accepted the call to pastor the Lutheran Church in Frankfort am Main. Rather than preaching from the prescribed texts, he began preaching through the entire Bible, calling for repentance and serious discipleship. In 1669, as he preached from the Sermon on the Mount, revival broke out in the church. People were converted, lives changed, families transformed. 
No one was more excited than Johann Schutz, a lifelong resident of Frankfort and prominent city attorney. He suggested Spener take some of these converts and disciple them in small, home prayer and Bible study groups. Spener did so, and it became the talk of the town. These people were called "Pietists" in derision, but the revival spread throughout Germany and is known to history as the "Pietstic Movement." Out of his joy for what was happening, Johann  wrote a hymn in 1675:
Sing praise to God Who reigns above, the God of all creation, 
The God of power, the God of love, the God of our salvation.
With healing balm my soul is filled and every faithless murmur stilled:
To God all praise and glory. 
Schutz died in Frankfort at age 49, on May 22, 1690. But his hymn lives on. It was first published in the United States in 1879, where it appeared in Hymnbook for the Use of Evangelical Lutheran Schools and Congregations. It is sung to a traditional Bohemian melody named "Kirchengesange."
The story of Spener and Schutz reminds us we should never give up on revival. If you don't see a revival starting around you, let it begin in your own heart, then let it overflow to others.
Taken from "Then Sings My Soul" by Robert J. Morgan. 
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Eternally His,

1 comment:

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