Category Archives: Music for Worship

Who Is This So Weak and Helpless?

Manger and Cloth

There are many well-matched hymn tunes and texts in the treasure trove of hymnody. A well-matched tune not only fits the poetic meter of the text, it helps to undergird, emotionally interpret, and express the meaning of the text. Crafting or finding music that aptly conveys and strengthens the message of the lyrics is called text painting. Examples of hymn tunes that beautifully paint the text include:

“Holy, Holy, Holy” by Reginald Heber (1783–1826) 
Set to the tune NICAEA by John B. Dykes, 1861

This hymn echoes the threefold praise of God’s holiness found in Scripture (Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4:8). It affirms the doctrine: “God in three Persons, blessed Trinity.” The motive of the tune accompanies the words “Holy, Holy, Holy.” It consists of a rising arpeggio of the tonic chord: a major triad made up of a root, 3rd, and 5th. It is a musical illustration of the doctrine of the Trinity: 3 notes, one chord.  

“How Firm a Foundation” from John Rippon’s Selection of Hymns, 1787 
Set to the tune FOUNDATION from John Funk’s Genuine Church Music, 1832

This hymn affirms the certainty of God’s Word. All that God has said and promised will surely come to pass. The tune conveys firmness by emphasizing the structural tones of the major scale. Most of the melody consists of the three notes of the tonic triad (the most stable chord of the key). 

“O Sacred Head Now Wounded,” a Medieval Latin poem ascribed to Bernard Clairvaux (1091–1153)
Set to the tune PASSION CHORALE by Hans Leo Hassler, 1601, harmonized by J.S. Bach, 1729

Hassler’s tune in minor with Bach’s harmonization captures well the “grief,” “anguish,” and “sorrow” in the text. Bach concludes with a cadence in the relative major, as the hymn expresses both the suffering of Christ on the cross and God’s grace and love that come to us through Christ’s sacrifice.

“Up from the Grave He Arose” (Low in the Grave He Lay) 
Set to the tune CHRIST AROSE
Words and music by Robert Lowry (1826–1866)

Lowry’s hymn celebrating Christ’s resurrection begins with an 8-measure subdued verse (“Low in the grave He lay”) leading into a 12-measure triumphant chorus with dotted rhythms and expanded range. The chorus opens with an ascending arpeggio on the tonic chord interpreting the words “Up from the grave He arose.”

“Joy to the World” by Isaac Watts, 1719 
Set to the tune ANTIOCH by Lowell Mason, 1836, based on music by G.F. Handel, 1742

This familiar Christmas hymn proclaims Christ’s incarnation. The tune begins with a descending major scale conveying the text: “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” The melody then ascends, returning to the starting note, reaching up with the words: “Let earth receive her King!”

A lesser-known Christmas hymn, whose tune beautifully portrays the text, is “Who Is This So Weak and Helpless.” This hymn begins with the birth of Christ, then points us to His life, suffering, and death on the cross. The first half of each verse focuses on Christ’s humiliation and asks the perplexing question: “Who is this?” The question is tied to the hymn’s motive that begins with the opening notes of the minor scale, rising a minor third from “a” to “c” (from tonic to mediant). The second half of each verses answers the question posed in the first half. We see Christ’s exaltation in stark contrast to His humiliation: “Who is this?” Answer: “Tis the Lord!” “Tis our God!” The motive also begins the second half of each verse, but the notes are raised a third. Now the notes rise from “c” to “e” (a major third), brightening the motive with uplifting wonder.

It seems improbable that the child who “coldly in a manger laid” is “the Lord of all creation.” It seems astounding that “a Man of Sorrows” is indeed “our God, our glorious Savior.” Yet this is the profound mystery of the incarnation. 

Below is the full text of the hymn. As you celebrate this Christmas season look from the manger to the cross and marvel at the wondrous way that God has accomplished our salvation.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
(Isaiah 55:8-9)

Who Is This So Weak and Helpless?

“He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not” (John 1:10).

WHO is this so weak and helpless,
Child of lowly Hebrew maid,
Rudely in a stable sheltered,
Coldly in a manger laid?
‘TIS the Lord of all creation,
Who this wondrous path hath trod;
He is God from everlasting,
And to everlasting God.

WHO is this, a Man of Sorrows,
Walking sadly life’s hard way,
Homeless, weary, sighing, weeping,
Over sin and Satan’s sway?
‘TIS our God, our glorious Savior,
Who above the starry sky
Now for us a place prepareth,
Where no tear can dim the eye.

WHO is this? Behold Him shedding
Drops of blood upon the ground!
Who is this, despised, rejected,
Mocked, insulted, beaten, bound?
‘TIS our God, who gifts and graces
On His church now poureth down;
Who shall smite in holy vengeance
All His foes beneath His throne.

WHO is this that hangeth dying
While the rude world scoffs and scorns,
Numbered with the malefactors,
Torn with nails and crowned with thorns?
‘TIS the God who ever liveth 
‘Mid the shining ones on high,
In the glorious golden city,
Reigning everlastingly.

“Who Is This So Weak and Helpless” 
Words by William Walsham How (1823–1897)
Music by John Ambrose Lloyd, the elder (1815–1874)
Words and Music ©Public Domain

Download lyrics and free sheet music (PDF), including guitar chord charts and an arrangement of the hymn tune EIFIONYDD for classical guitar. 

More Hymns from History

More Christmas hymns arranged for Classical Guitar

Songs and Thanksgiving

Open Bible and Hymn Tune

O give thanks to the Lord for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
(Psalm 118:1)

Below is a list of psalm settings, hymns, and spiritual songs that focus on giving thanks to the Lord.  

If you have additional suggestions for songs related to thanksgiving that should be included in the index, please comment or send me a message.

Note: The songs are listed below by title and author. For more complete entries (including tunes and hymnal page numbers) see the page for Songs and Thanksgiving in the Theological Index of Music for Worship online. I will be updating the online Index with more songs and topics in the days ahead as I receive recommendations.

Songs and Thanksgiving 

1.  It is good to give thanks to the Lord

  • All People That on Earth Do Dwell—Psalm 100 (William Kethe / Thomas Ken)
  • How Good It Is to Thank the Lord—Psalm 92:1–9, 12–15 (The Psalter, 1912)  
  • It Is Good to Sing Your Praises (The New Metrical Version of the Psalms, 1909)

2.  All people should praise and thank the Lord

  • All People That on Earth Do Dwell—Psalm 100 (William Kethe / Thomas Ken)
  • Let All Things Now Living (Katherine Davis)
  • Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart (Edward Plumptre)

3. Give thanks for who God is

  • 10,000 Reasons – Bless the Lord (Jonas Myrin / Matt Redman)
  • All People That on Earth Do Dwell—Psalm 100 (William Kethe / Thomas Ken)
  • Be Exalted, O God—Psalm 57:9–11 (Brent Chambers)
  • Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (Robert Robinson)
  • For the Beauty of the Earth (Folliott Pierpoint)
  • Forever (Chris Tomlin)
  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness (Thomas O. Chisholm)
  • How Good It Is to Thank the Lord—Psalm 92:1–9, 12–15 (The Psalter, 1912)  
  • Let All Things Now Living (Katherine Davis)
  • Let Us with a Gladsome Mind—Psalm 136 (John Milton)
  • My Heart Is Filled with Thankfulness (Stuart Townend / Keith Getty)
  • Now Thank We All Our God (Martin Rinkert / Catherine Winkworth)
  • Rejoice, the Lord Is King  (Charles Wesley)
  • With Grateful Heart My Thanks I Bring—Psalm 138 (The Psalter, 1912)

4.  Give thanks for life and daily provision

  • All People That on Earth Do Dwell—Psalm 100 (William Kethe / Thomas Ken)
  • Come, Ye Thankful People, Come (Henry Alford)
  • For the Beauty of the Earth (Folliott Pierpoint)
  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness (Thomas O. Chisholm)
  • It Is Good to Sing Your Praises (The New Metrical Version of the Psalms, 1909)
  • Let All Things Now Living (Katherine Davis)
  • Let Us with a Gladsome Mind—Psalm 136 (John Milton)
  • My Heart Is Filled with Thankfulness (Stuart Townend / Keith Getty)
  • Now Thank We All Our God (Martin Rinkert / Catherine Winkworth)

5.  Give thanks for salvation and eternal life

  • Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (Robert Robinson)
  • Come, Ye Thankful People, Come (Henry Alford)
  • Father I Thank You (Jeremy & Adrienne Camp, David & Natalie Leonard)
  • Forever (Chris Tomlin)
  • Give Thanks (Henry Smith)
  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness (Thomas O. Chisholm)
  • Jesus Thank You (Pat Sczebel)
  • My Heart Is Filled with Thankfulness (Stuart Townend / Keith Getty)
  • Rejoice, the Lord Is King  (Charles Wesley)
  • Thank You, Lord (Seth and Bessie Skies)
  • There Is a Redeemer (Melody Green)
  • With Grateful Heart My Thanks I Bring—Psalm 138 (The Psalter, 1912)
  • Worthy Is the Lamb (Darlene Zschech)

6. Begin each day with thanksgiving

  • 10,000 Reasons – Bless the Lord (Jonas Myrin / Matt Redman)
  • How Good It Is to Thank the Lord—Psalm 92:1–9, 12–15 (The Psalter, 1912)  
  • It Is Good to Sing Your Praises (The New Metrical Version of the Psalms, 1909)

7. Conclude each day with thanksgiving

  • 10,000 Reasons – Bless the Lord (Jonas Myrin / Matt Redman)
  • A Prayer for God’s Presence (Ken Puls)
  • How Good It Is to Thank the Lord—Psalm 92:1–9, 12–15 (The Psalter, 1912)  
  • It Is Good to Sing Your Praises (The New Metrical Version of the Psalms, 1909)

8.  Give thanks to the Lord in gathered worship (with the church)

  • We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise (Kirk C. Dearman) 
  • We Gather Together (Adrianas Valerius, Theodore Baker)
  • We Give Thanks (Drew Hodge) 
  • With Grateful Heart My Thanks I Bring—Psalm 138 (The Psalter, 1912)

9.  Give thanks to the Lord before a watching world

  • Be Exalted, O God—Psalm 57:9–11 (Brent Chambers) 
  • With Grateful Heart My Thanks I Bring—Psalm 138 (The Psalter, 1912)

10.  Give thanks to the Lord with joy

  • All People That on Earth Do Dwell—Psalm 100 (William Kethe / Thomas Ken)
  • He Has Made Me Glad—Psalm 100:4 (Leona Von Brethorst) 
  • How Good It Is to Thank the Lord—Psalm 92:1–9, 12–15 (The Psalter, 1912)  
  • It Is Good to Sing Your Praises (The New Metrical Version of the Psalms, 1909)
  • Let All Things Now Living (Katherine Davis)
  • Now Thank We All Our God (Martin Rinkert / Catherine Winkworth)
  • Rejoice, the Lord Is King  (Charles Wesley)
  • Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart (Edward Plumptre)
  • We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise (Kirk C. Dearman) 

11.  Give thanks to the Lord even in times of trial and sorrow

  • Blessed Be Your Name (Matt & Beth Redman)
  • Count Your Blessings (Johnson Oatman, Jr.)
  • Father I Thank You (Jeremy & Adrienne Camp, David & Natalie Leonard)
  • Now Thank We All Our God (Martin Rinkert / Catherine Winkworth)
  • Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart (Edward Plumptre)
  • With Grateful Heart My Thanks I Bring—Psalm 138 (The Psalter, 1912)

12.  Give thanks to the Lord always

  • 10,000 Reasons – Bless the Lord (Jonas Myrin / Matt Redman)
  • All People That on Earth Do Dwell—Psalm 100 (William Kethe / Thomas Ken)
  • Father I Thank You (Jeremy & Adrienne Camp, David & Natalie Leonard)
  • He Has Made Me Glad—Psalm 100:4 (Leona Von Brethorst)

For more complete entries (including tunes and hymnal page numbers) see the online Index:

Entry for “Songs and Thanksgiving”

TOC for Theology and Song: A Theological Index of Music for Worship

Thanksgiving Music for Classical Guitar

Guitar and autumn trees

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning,
And Your faithfulness every night,
On an instrument of ten strings,
On the lute,
And on the harp,
With harmonious sound.”
(Psalm 92:1–3)

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord.” And it is good to share and celebrate thanksgiving with music. If you play classical guitar, here are a few hymns for you to enjoy:

For the Beauty of the Earth
We Gather Together
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Now Thank We All Our God
Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

You can download free sheet music for these hymns (and more) here:

Thanksgiving Music for Classical Guitar

You are welcome to copy and share these hymns with friends and fellow guitarists. You can use them for accompanying congregational singing, playing prelude or offertory music, or simply playing for your own enjoyment.  Please copy the full page with the website address and the “Used by Permission” notice at the bottom (see Permissions).

For additional music for Classical Guitar, visit:

Christmas Music for Classical Guitar

Hymns for Classical Guitar

Music of Bach for Classical Guitar

Wedding Music for Classical Guitar

Student Pieces and Music for Classical Guitar 

Music for Flute and Classical Guitar

The Purpose of Music in Worship

Hymn Ancient of Days

Excerpt from:  “Reforming Church Music”
A Paper presented at the 2001 Founders Conference

Ken Puls

God has purpose and intent in including music as an element of worship. The Bible has much to say about music and its role in worship. The following list summarizes seven roles that will help us define the purpose of music in worship.

1. Music is a primary means of praising God. The majority of references to music in the Bible, including verses that teach about music, as well as Psalms and other passages that are the texts to songs, are in the context of praising God. Through music we exalt, glorify, honor, bless, and adore God. We marvel at the perfection of His character, attributes, gifts, names, and works, ascribing to Him in song all that He is! The Psalter itself culminates in praise: 

Praise the LORD! 
Praise God in His sanctuary; 
Praise Him in His mighty firmament! 
Praise Him for His mighty acts; 
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! 
(Psalm 150:1–2)

Music exists first and foremost to the glory and praise of God and Scripture convincingly bears this out.

2. Music is a primary means of giving thanks to God. Thanksgiving is a grateful acknowledgment or public confession of the goodness of God manifest in what He has done for His people. It is a grateful response to God for His deliverance, healing, forgiveness, salvation, and other blessings that He brings to us. Music accompanies thanksgiving in worship:

Hallelujah! I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart 
In the company of the upright and in the convocation. 
(Psalm 111:1)

Thanksgiving is also sung in the context of evangelism:

I will give thanks to You among the peoples, O Lord; 
I will sing praises to You among the nations. 
(Psalm 57:9)

As with praise, references in Scripture to giving thanks most often occur in song. 

3. Music serves as a means of prayer. Many of the songs and psalms of Scripture are addressed directly to God. David, for example, in Psalms 4 and 5 pours out his heart to God, brings petitions and asks for help and mercy. Throughout the Psalter, psalmists lament over sorrows, anguish over difficulties, confess their sinfulness, rejoice over God’s kindness, celebrate His goodness, and express numerous other emotions as they pour out their hearts before Him. Music can serve as invocation, petition, supplication, intercession, repentance, lamentation, and other forms of prayer, lifting our concerns before God.

4. Music serves as a means to proclaim truth. As we sing praise, thanksgiving, and prayer we voice our words to God, but music can also bring God’s Word to us. We can sing the words of Scripture, Psalms and other passages set to music. We can also teach and admonish one another in song with the truths of Scripture. Psalm 1, for example, is a didactic song that teaches us the difference between the blessed and the ungodly. Music helps us to remember and meditate on the truths of Scripture. It serves alongside preaching as a means of proclamation, edifying the church and evangelizing the lost, as it provides an emotional context in which we can interpret, understand, and express the truths of God’s Word. 

5. Music serves as a means of exhortation. Music lifts our words to God in prayer and brings God’s Word to us in proclamation, but it can also voice our words to one another. Psalm 95, for example, is a call to worship. We exhort one another with the words:

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD! 
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; 
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. 
(Psalm 95:1–2)

Through music God’s people speak to one another, stirring up one another to good works. Music can call us to worship, exhort us to love and serve one another, encourage us to live in obedience to God’s Word, admonish us to flee from sin and pursue holiness, and enjoin us to go out and witness and share the gospel.

6. Music serves as a means to confess our faith. With music God’s people can express common beliefs and doctrines as one voice. In the Old Testament Israel rehearsed their faith and history through music. Psalm 118, for example, is a public confession of the goodness and enduring mercy of God. The New Testament contains several confessional statements such as 2 Timothy 2:11 that many scholars believe are fragments of early hymns. Music provides an effective way to unite in declaring our confessions of faith. 

Perhaps the most notable example of this in church history is the “Doxology,” written by Thomas Ken in 1709, a musical affirmation of the doctrine of the Trinity:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

7. Finally, music serves as a means of enriching worship with beauty. According to Scripture, singing praise to God is pleasant and beautiful. Psalm 147:1 reads: 

Praise the LORD! 
For it is good to sing praises to our God; 
For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.

It is good when we unite our voices together in singing to God. Music provides a beautiful garb in which we dress our words and actions in worship. It is a pleasant means of joining together to express our love and devotion to God in worship.These are seven roles or functions of music that God affirms in His Word. God has commanded us to make music and included it in His design for worship. It is not the purpose of music to amuse, manipulate, or entertain us in worship. God has given us music that we might beautifully lift our praise, thanksgiving, and prayers to Him; that we might proclaim the truth of His Word, confess our faith, and exhort one another to good works as we gather in corporate worship.


Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from 
The New King James Version® (NKJV™), copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Download a PDF of this Excerpt

Excerpt Citation

Ken Puls, “Reforming Church Music,” in Reclaiming the Gospel and Reforming Churches: The Southern Baptist Founders Conference, 1982–2002, ed. Tom Ascol (Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press, 2003), 438–442.

The book Reclaiming the Gospel and Reforming Churches is a compilation of papers presented over the first 25 years of the Founders Conference and is available for purchase from Founders Press.

His Unmistakable Hand

2020 has been a difficult year! Along with many troubles in the world (COVID19, hurricanes, wildfires, political unrest, protests, …), it has included personal challenges: classes cancelled that I had hoped to teach over the summer, a car accident, and falling off a ladder. There have been many opportunities to be downcast and discouraged. But in and through every difficulty, there was always grace. It became increasingly evident that God’s kind hand was working all things for my good and His glory. His goodness was everywhere—in relationships, in encouragements, and in His constant provision.

This song is a testimony to God’s kindness in my life this year and a reminder to trust the Lord, even when, at least in the moment, we cannot understand why He would bring such trials into our lives. We need only look above and beyond the trials to see—

His unmistakable hand
Is guiding all we do     
Clear evidence of His grace
In all He’s brought us through
Don’t ever doubt the path He’s set
The journey He has planned
With grateful eyes behold each day
His unmistakable hand

Check out the Lyric Video on youtube:

Listen and download a recording of this song from Bandcamp:

His Unmistakable Hand

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.”
(Proverbs 3:5–8)

I find each day a thousand ways
Your kindnesses abound
In trials and in joys alike
Your goodness can be found
For You work all things for my good
To You belongs all praise
Safe in Your hand through ev’ry storm
You care for me always 

Your unmistakable hand
Is guiding all I do         
Clear evidence of Your grace
In all You’ve brought me through
I cannot doubt the path You’ve set
My journey You have planned
So give me eyes each day to see
Your unmistakable hand

God fully orchestrates each day
I live and move and breathe
He works His will when I rejoice
As well as when I grieve
No wasted pain or needless grief
He stays my hand from sin
He weans me from a dying world
and draws me near again

His unmistakable hand
Is guiding all I do         
Clear evidence of His grace
In all He’s brought me through
I cannot doubt the path He’s set
My journey He has planned
With grateful eyes each day I see
His unmistakable hand

So trust the Lord with all your heart
You need not understand
Acknowledge Him in all your ways
He’ll guide you with His hand
Do not be wise in your own eyes
Flee sin and fear the Lord
This is the way to strength and health
When you believe His Word.

His unmistakable hand
Is guiding all we do     
Clear evidence of His grace
In all He’s brought us through
Don’t ever doubt the path He’s set
The journey He has planned
With grateful eyes behold each day
His unmistakable hand

Words ©2020 Kenneth A Puls
Music ©2013, 2020 Kenneth A Puls

Download the lyrics and free sheet music for this song.

More Hymns and Songs by Ken Puls

O Lord I Would Delight in Thee

Lake and Waterfall

To have Christ is to have all we need! To rest in Him is more valuable and more satisfying that anything this life can offer. But too often the trials and troubles of this world overwhelm us and keep us from fully laying hold of the riches we possess in Christ.

John Ryland, an English Baptist pastor and hymn writer, understood this struggle of faith. In 1777 (the same year he wrote “Sovereign Ruler of the Skies”), he composed the hymn “O Lord, I Would Delight in Thee.” The hymn is a prayer expressing his desire for a “stronger faith” anchored in God’s sure Word. In it he exposes his own (and our) folly. We focus too intently on the parched world around us, whose “streams are dried,” bemoaning our thirst, when all the while Christ is near— “a fountain which will ever run with waters sweet and clear.” Ryland reminds himself of God’s goodness. “While Christ is rich,” we “can’t be poor”! Even if all the joys and blessings of this world fade away, Christ’s “fulness is the same.”

The hymn was written December 3, 1777 and published in Rippon’s Selection (1798). The lyrics were heartfelt and especially meaningful to the hymn writer. According to John Julian in the Dictionary of Hymnology, Ryland attached a note to the manuscript that read: “I recollect deeper feelings of mind in composing this hymn, than perhaps I ever felt in making any other.”

May God stir in us such heavenly desires! In these uncertain times, may we cast all our cares upon the Lord, and may our “great concern” be to love and praise Him more!

O Lord, I Would Delight in Thee

“Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
(Psalm 37:4)

O Lord, I would delight in Thee,
And on Thy care depend;
To Thee in ev’ry trouble flee,
My best, my only Friend.

When all created streams are dried,
Thy fulness is the same;
May I with this be satisfied,
And glory in Thy Name.

Why should the soul a drop bemoan,
Who has a fountain near—
A fountain which will ever run
With waters sweet and clear?

No good in creatures can be found,
But may be found in Thee;
I must have all things and abound,
While God is God to me.

O that I had a stronger faith,
To look within the veil;
To credit what my Savior saith,
Whose words can never fail.

He that has made my heav’n secure
Will here all good provide;
While Christ is rich, I can’t be poor;
What can I want beside?

O Lord, I cast my care on Thee;
I triumph and adore;
Henceforth my great concern shall be
To love and praise Thee more.

“O Lord, I Would Delight in Thee” 
Words by John Ryland, (1753–1825)
Music by John Herbert (1852–1927)
Words and Music ©Public Domain

Download free sheet music (PDF), including chord charts and an arrangement of the hymn tune LAFAYETTE for classical guitar. 

More Hymns from History

More hymns arranged for Classical Guitar

Treasuring the Gathering of the Church

Bible and Hymnal

These past few weeks have reminded me again how much I treasure the gathering of the church. I don’t so much miss going to a building, though buildings can be beautiful places to gather. I miss being with the gathered people of God—coming together to pray, sing, fellowship, and hear the preaching of God’s Word. It is a great kindness of God to allow us to walk together through this life, to share one another’s burdens, to comfort and encourage one another. 

I’m praying that God will bring a swift end to the pandemic in days ahead, so we can once again gather as a church without fear of inadvertently doing one another harm. But even more, I’m praying that God will remind us how beloved the church is, that we would learn more deeply to treasure one another in Christ.

I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go into the house of the Lord.”

Psalm 122:1

How Dear and Treasured in the Church

How dear and treasured is the church,
With voices joined in praise and prayers,
For God has made us one in Christ, 
To share our sorrows, joys and cares. 

Entrusted with the truth of God,
Called out to make the gospel known,
We boldly as His church proclaim:
There’s grace and hope in Christ alone!

God fashions us as living stones; 
Assembled as His dwelling place.
Though we were dead, He gives us life,
Each soul a miracle of grace.

Built as a buttress of the truth,
A pillar rising to the sky,
God sets His church before the world,
His Word and name to magnify.

To all the world we testify,
Our lives display in word and deed
The matchless worth of knowing Christ,
The boundless depth of our great need.

Brought near to God by Christ’s shed blood,
Loved and adopted as His own,
A household built upon the Word,
With Christ Himself the Cornerstone.

Built on this Rock, the church will stand,
The gates of hell shall not prevail,
All who are Christ’s shall be raised up,
The Word of God will never fail.

Words ©2017 Ken Puls

Download the lyrics and free sheet music for this hymn, including an arrangement of the tune ERHALT UNS HERR for classical guitar.

More Hymns and Songs by Ken Puls

My Righteousness Is in Heaven

Church reflection on water

It is a great comfort that we can say, if we are in Christ, “My righteousness is in heaven.” When we put our faith and trust in Christ, God declares us to be righteous in Him. Our standing before God is no longer on the basis of our own righteousness. If it were, we would stand before God condemned by our sin. In Christ, our righteousness is Jesus Himself! We are justified by faith in Christ alone.

When we are justified, God imputes our sin to Jesus (He treats Jesus as if He had sinned and was guilty). “The wages of sin of death” (Romans 6:23a) and so Jesus died on the cross to pay the wages due our sin. He paid the price, so we are no longer condemned. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). But that is not all! God also imputes Christ’s righteousness to us (He treats us as if we had perfectly obeyed His Law). “But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b). In Christ we have life. We are clothed in His righteousness, accepted and beloved as sons and daughters, and brought near to God. 

Here is rest for our souls! The measure of our righteousness is not our own feeble and often failing efforts, but the finished and perfect work of Christ. We are protected from pride, knowing that on our best days, we are no more righteous than on our worst days. We must confess every day that we are sinners in need of mercy and grace. And we are protected from despair, knowing that on our worst days, we are no less righteous that on our best days. We are ever safe in the arms of our Savior, who is “able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25).

John Bunyan describes this comforting truth in Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners:

But one day, as I was passing in the field, and that too with some dashes on my conscience, fearing lest yet all was notright, suddenly this sentence fell upon my soul, “Thy righteousness is in heaven.” Then it seemed to me that I saw, withthe eyes of my soul, Jesus Christ at God’s right hand. There, I say, is my righteousness; so that wherever I was, or whatever I was doing, God could not say of me, He wants my righteousness, for that was just before him. I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ Himself, the same yesterday, and today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, par. 229

Unchanging Righteousness

In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: “The LORD is our righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:6 ESV).

There sits My Righteousness,
Enthroned at God’s right hand:
The perfect, spotless Lamb of God,
In Him alone I stand.
No better is my stand
On days when all feels right,
No worse when days are dark and gray,
For nothing dims His light.

Unchanging Righteousness,
My only hope and plea,
That Jesus came and lived and bled
And died and rose for me. 

The Law cannot condemn,
Since I in Christ abide.
It sees His perfect work and is
Completely satisfied.
When God looks down on me,
He sees no lack or need,
For there in heaven, My Righteousness
Does always intercede.

Unchanging Righteousness,
My only hope and plea,
That Jesus came and lived and bled
And died and rose for me. 

By imputation mine,
Through faith in Christ alone,
Enfolded in His righteousness
That God has made my own.
A never ending store,
A bountiful supply!
Each day the same, My Righteousness
Exalted reigns on high.

Unchanging Righteousness,
My only hope and plea,
That Jesus came and lived and bled
And died and rose for me.
That Jesus came and lived and bled
And died and rose for me.

Words and Music ©2005 Kenneth A Puls

Download free sheet music for this song.

More Hymns and Songs by Ken Puls

O Spirit Now We Thank You

Open Bible

O Spirit, now we thank You
For giving us Your Word.
Please bless its proclamation,
The truths that we have heard.
Indwell us and empow’r us,
And cause us to obey;
Shine now the light of Scripture
On all we do and say.

Great Artist of the Scriptures,
In beauty You have made
God’s Word to shine in glory
That cannot fail or fade.
In poetry and proverbs,
Through narrative and line;
In prophecy and hist’ry,
God’s truth in splendor shines.

You, down through many ages
Inspired men to write,
Progressively revealing,
You brought God’s truth to light.
O Spirit, come illumine
This truth for us today;
And guide us in sound doctrine,
The straight and narrow way.

Wield now Your Sword, O Spirit,
The quick and living Word,
And rend our hearts asunder
With truths that we have heard.
O search us now and know us,
Expose iniquity;
Conform us to our Savior,
And holy we shall be.

Words and Music ©1998 Kenneth Puls
In Hymns of Grace (1998) by Ken Puls
And Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs (2004) Founders Press, Cape Coral, FL

This hymn is a prayer addressed to the Holy Spirit, who inspired and crafted the Word of God. It is written to serve as a closing hymn following the preaching of the Word. In the hymn we respond to the preaching by asking the Spirit to “bless its proclamation” and apply it in an effective way to our lives. The final verse is based on Hebrew 4:12. Scripture is the sword of the Spirit, who skillfully and lovingly lays bare our hearts with truth.

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

The idea for the hymn came in October 1995 during a Sunday School class taught by Steve Garrick at Heritage Baptist Church. Steve was teaching a series of lessons on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. During the lesson on October 22nd, he compared the Spirit’s work in bringing us God’s Word to that of an artist. When God revealed His Word to us, he did not package it as a “systematic theology.” He chose and inspired men to write from their own experiences in poetry, proverb, narrative, history, and prophesy. The Bible is a great work of art crafted by the Spirit “through many ages” as God-breathed revelation. I thought during the class that the comparison would work well for lyrics to a hymn. I finally wrote the hymn several months later. I finished the lyrics on July 8, 1996 while driving to Dallas Baptist University, where I was teaching Classical Guitar during the summer semester. The hymn tune is named for Pastor Steve Garrick.

Download the lyrics and free sheet music for this hymn, including an arrangement of the tune GARRICK for classical guitar.

More Hymns and Songs by Ken Puls

Come Boldly to the Throne of Grace

Mountain reflection on water

We have every reason to pray. We are fragile and have great needs. God is great and does wondrous things (Psalm 40:10). We are burdened and weighed down by sin. God is “is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy” (Psalm 103:8). We are troubled and oppressed. God alone can save; salvation belongs to Him (Psalm 3:8). 

Hope and help are always close at hand, yet too often we fail to pray. The very reasons that should compel us to seek God in prayer become the cause of our discouragement. We feel weighed down by our needs and undone by our sin. We feel weak and ashamed. We wrongly conclude that God will reject us when we come to Him. We think that He will turn us away, and so we do not pray.

Daniel Herbert’s hymn, “Come Boldly to the Throne of Grace,” is a welcoming encouragement to pray. Though we are “wretched sinners,” we can lay our load at Jesus’ feet. Though we are “lost and blind and lame” in our sin, the Lord will befriend us. Though we are “bankrupt” and feel the terrible weight of sin’s condemnation, we are assured of the promise: “The Lord will take you in.” Because of Christ we can “come boldly to the throne of grace” and “obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).  

Come Boldly to the Throne of Grace

Come boldly to the throne of grace,
Ye wretched sinners come;
And lay your load at Jesus’ feet,
And plead what He has done.
“How can I come?” some soul my say,
“I’m lame and cannot walk;
My guilt and sin have stopped my mouth;
I sigh but dare not talk.”

Come boldly to the throne of grace,
Though lost and blind and lame;
Jehovah is the sinner’s Friend
And ever was the same.
He makes the dead to hear His voice,
He makes the blind to see.
The sinner lost He came to save,
And set the pris’ner free.

Come boldly to the throne of grace,
For Jesus fills the throne;
And those He kills He makes alive,
He hears the sigh or groan.
Poor bankrupt souls; who feel and know
The hell of sin within,
Come boldly to the throne of grace,
The Lord will take you in.

“Come Boldly to the Throne of Grace” 
Words by Daniel Herbert (1751–1833)
From Selection of Hymns edited by William Gadsby, 1838
Tune: HERBERT
Music by Tom Wells, 2001
Words ©Public Domain
Music ©2001 Tom Wells (Used by Permission)

Tom Wells (Heritage Baptist Church in Mansfield, Texas) composed the tune for this hymn. Download free sheet music (PDF), including a guitar chord charts and an arrangement of the hymn tune HERBERT for classical guitar. 

More Hymns from History

More hymns arranged for Classical Guitar