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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Paths (05/17/04)

TITLE: Christians' Paths are evident in their songs.
By Sylvia Huffnagle


The following verses are to establish what I mean by paths.
Job 8:12,13 Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other herb.
So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite's hope shall perish:
Psalms 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Isaiah 2:3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Luke 3:4 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Heb. 12:13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

The beginning church, I understand that they sang the Psalms and other Bible verses.
Their songs exhibit early church, Biblical paths.
The 18th century church path is demonstrated by the four selections below.

Joy Unspeakable by B. E. Warren 2 of 4 stanzas
1. I have found His grace is all complete, He supplieth every need;
While I sit and learn at Jesus’ feet, I am free, yes, free indeed.
2. I have found the pleasure I once craved, It is joy and peace within;
What a wondrous blessing! I am saved From the awful gulf of sin.

Nothing Between by C. A. Tinley 1 or 4 stanzas
1. Nothing between my soul and the Savior, naught of this world’s de-
Lusive dreams: I have renounced sinful pleasure,
Jesus is mine; there’s nothing between.

Is your all on the altar Rev. Elisha A. Hoffman 2 of 4 stanzas
1. You have longed for sweet peace, and for faith to increase, And have earnestly,
Fervently prayed: But you cannot have rest, or be perfectly blest
Until all on the altar is laid.
2. Would you walk with the Lord, in the light of His Word, And have peace and con-
Tentment always? You must do His sweet will, to be free from all ill.
On the altar your all you must lay.

Love lifted me by James Rowe 2 of 4 stanzas
1. I was sinking deep in sin, Far from the peaceful shore, Very deeply
Stained within, sinking to rise no more; But the Master of the sea
Heard my despairing cry. From the waters lifted me. Now safe am I.
2. All my heart to Him I give, Ever to Him I cling, In His blessed
Presence live, Ever His praises sing. Love so mighty and so true
Merits my soul’s best songs; Faithful, loving, service, too, To Him belongs.

Today’s church sing songs like those listed below.
The battle belongs to the Lord
Calling down fire
The enemy is under our feet
Blow the trumpet in Zion
Pour in the oil and the wine
Worthy is the Lamb
Surely the Presence
Shine, Jesus shine

The 1st century church - Biblical.
The 18th century church - grateful and humble.
Today’s church wanting to go on with God, knowing there’s a battle to be fought, but lacking the piety of days gone by. (my take)
If you think piety is not important, read Daniel 8:12
And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. In the Amplified Bible it says their transgression was their abounding irreverence, ungodliness and lack of piety. (To take note of these essentials is to know what we need in order to keep truth and stop the enemy.)
Our subject is paths, not songs, nor transgressions.
I am not saying one generation’s songs are better than another. I am not saying today’s songs are less spiritual than earlier centuries. I’m saying, a combination of all these spiritual attributes is the path we need to follow.

Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Grupido05/24/04
Sweet reminders of some wonderful old hymns that I still enjoy singing and praying. This piece has much truth in it but seems to "jump" around a little too much for an easy read. Maybe some editing or more transitions here and there. As an aside...I found this past year that I really didn't "like" the new contemporary service at our church...the music was loud and the instruments weren't what I was "used" to hearing. I could have chosen to attend the "traditional" service, but it was held earlier in the morning and generally seemed to conflict with my last minute prep time for my sunday school lesson...so I opted to attend the "contemporary" service. The words to new songs soon wove a spirit of worship around my soul and for the first time in my life I opened my eyes and saw my own hands raised in worship! I still am amazed at the power and love, no matter contemporary or traditional....it is of Him. Thank you for a different perspective to keep in mind.
Lynne Gaunt05/25/04
Its intriguing that you are using song lyrics to gauge the attitude of the church throughout the centuries. You only touch on your point about piety, and since its a main emphasis of your article, it would be nice to see some explanation on why piety was so evident then and is not now. Maybe you could convice your reader with examples -?
L.M. Lee05/26/04
nice points, I think music reflects where we are in our walk as to what songs speak to us the most. I am so thankful God gave the gift of music writing, becuz songs have carried me through some rough spots.
Deborah Porter 05/27/04
Interesting thoughts Sylvia, but I agree with the comment already made that it really only touched on the piety aspect. Where you shared verses from the older hymns, you only gave the titles from the recent songs (which from a copyright point of view was probably all you could do). That's fine if the reader knows the songs, but that's not necessarily going to be the case. Not only that, but to classify an entire generation's music based on the titles of a handful of songs doesn't quite support the point you want to make. You could be right, but you didn't quite have the evidence to back it up. Very interesting angle to come from for this Challenge though. It's always amazing to see what direction people take. Look forward to reading more of your work. With love, Deb