Over the past couple months, we’ve covered several different gospel-type songs, and some were contemporary. One type that I have not presented is the “modern 7-11” songs that just say the same “7” words “11” times, and have a catchy beat to them. However, as far as inspirational and informative, they’re not. I mostly enjoy Southern Gospel, and many of the “old standards.” There are some contemporary ones that are very inspirational, and I’ve already covered some of these. (any emphasis mine)
One song, written about 1864, is by William Ralph Featherston, called “My Jesus, I Love Thee.” It’s believed he wrote this “poem” when he was between 12 and 16 years of age, and it’s unknown if he wrote any other gospel poems. He lived from 1848-1875, and died prior to his 27th birthday in Montreal, Canada.
Until I looked at the history of this hymn, it was always one I enjoyed because of the reverence shown our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Once I discovered these wonderful and inspiring words came from someone so young, I was truly amazed. For someone so young to have this depth of insight into our Savior is very rare – especially considering today’s youth. In our modern world, it’s hard to get our youth off their “Gameboys,” computers and cell phones, much less give serious thought to our Redeemer. Yes, there are some youths today who are dedicated to Jesus, but they are the exception, not the rule.
In the era that I grew up in, Church, Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, Wednesday night Bible study, and Sunday evening services were just a part of life. Different denominations had different types of services, and times of service, but most youths could tell you Jesus was the “Son of God,” and the story of the nativity was given in almost every school in the country. Today, we have groups trying to outlaw Christianity altogether, including any public display of a nativity.
Even though I’m sure false preachers were present in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, it just didn’t occur to me that any gospel person would be following Satan’s agenda. We know this because of 1 John 2:16-27, that there were “antichrists” in the world, even during the time Jesus was first here. John tells of people who make a “practice of sinning and lawlessness” in 1 John 3, and continues in 1 John 4 by advising us to “test” the spirits. All who confess Jesus came here in the flesh are from God. Those that deny Jesus are of the antichrist.
Though we know there have been these servants of Satan all along, there is a final antichrist that will come, and at some point will be totally indwelt by Satan. This will be a time of tribulation spoken of mostly in Daniel and Revelation. In Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14, Jesus Himself spoke of “the abomination that makes desolate,” as given in Daniel 9:27.
Our youth today are turning away from the true gospel, and are being lured to services that are more of a “stage production.” They have fancy lightshows, some have fog machines, and very “upbeat” music designed to set a mood rather than be inspirational and informative. The “pastors” are giving messages meant to make them “feel good” rather than giving biblical instructions about saving their eternal souls. It’s a ploy to keep them coming back, to fill seats and collection baskets. These are the false prophets spoken of by Jesus, Paul, John, James, Peter and others. Their words pull our youth – and adults as well – away from the truth.
Churches that are giving traditional Christian messages are experiencing a decline in membership, and the churches themselves are dwindling away.
There will be a special punishment for the false prophets and other antichrists as told in James 3:1; Revelation 19:20 and Revelation 20:10-15. Satan himself will ultimately end up in the Lake of Fire – Hell; and I’m sure his eternal punishment will be the worst of all. That’s no consolation for all those who will end up there with him because they refused to accept Jesus as their Savior.
By the way, there may be many degrees of sin, and the punishment not as severe as for the ultimate evil one; however, it will still be a forever punishment, with no relief – ever. There are only two final destinations: heaven or hell. The degree of reward in heaven and the punishment in hell will all be determined by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
For the marvelous song, one thing that is obvious is that this young man had a special “relationship” with Jesus that even I envy. We need to be conscious of one very important issue: Jesus has always looked for a true, genuine relationship rather than a man-made religion. He had his worst problems with the religious leaders of His day.
(v1) My Jesus, I love Thee; I know Thou art mine. For Thee, all the follies of sin I resign. My Gracious Redeemer, My Savior art Thou. If ever I loved Thee, My Jesus, tis now.
(v2) I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me, and purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree. I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow. If ever I loved Thee, My Jesus, tis now.
(v3) I’ll love Thee in life; I will love Thee in death, and praise Thee as long as Thou lendeth me breath. And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow, If ever I loved Thee, My Jesus, tis now.
(v4) In mansions of glory and endless delight, I’ll ever adore Thee in Heaven so bright. I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow, If ever I loved Thee, My Jesus, tis now.
Note: the crown spoken of would be the Crown Of Righteousness as given in 2 Timothy 4:8, “Henceforth, there will be laid up for me, the Crown Of Righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, will award me on that day; and not only to me, but to all who have loved His appearing.”
It’s believed this song was inspired by 1 John 4:19, “We love because He first loved us.” A very simple verse that could have inspired this young man to give a deep devotion to the Savior.
This young man realized he had sin, but called out to Jesus to save him. His praise and worship are in the words of “My Gracious Redeemer, My Savior art Thou.” He spoke of “My Jesus,” which only a true believer would say. Also, “I will praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath.” Such devotion to add to our personal lives, knowing that every breath we take is a gift from the Father.
Think on this: young Featherston worshiped His Savior; and even though he died at a young age, his eternity with Jesus started at his very last breath here. His soul has been with Jesus the same as every person that has died “In Christ” since Calvary.
If we are fortunate enough to be called up to meet Jesus “in the air” before we die here (1 Corinthians 15:51-53 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), we will see all those who returned with Him to be reunited with their earthly bodies. They will be converted to new eternal and immortal bodies designed to last forever with Jesus. Those who are called up while still alive will be converted to the same type body on the way up to meet Him. All this will take place in less than one second.
Just imagine the reunion – the shouting of praise and worship by all those involved in the Rapture! Just imagine getting to finally get a hug from the One who died on that cross for all of our sins! I’m looking forward to my Crown of Righteousness so that I can lay it at His feet, and tell Him just how much I love Him.
With all the signs showing we are at the end stages of this age, today would not be too soon to call on Jesus, and ask His forgiveness for our sins. It would be an excellent time to ask Him to be your Savior, and to save you from the eternal hell fires. All who truly call on Him will be saved (Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13). Just know He is the only way to the Father and eternal life (John 14:6), and by believing in Him and having true Faith that the Bible is God’s inerrant true word for us, we will be with Him forever (Romans 10:9-13).
Today would not be too early, and tomorrow could be too late. Once the Rapture takes place, it will be much more difficult to accept Him, and believers will become a target for the whole world. All believers up to the Rapture, from every faith and denomination and every walk of life that have truly accepted the Savior, will be gone; there will not be an immediate group of people to call on for guidance.
He’s waiting for your call; He loves you. He is asking for your love in return.
Come, Lord Jesus!