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May 15, 2018

I Must Tell Jesus

"I Must Tell Jesus!"

Message summary: What a blessing that we can cast all our cares on the Lord and have an assurance that He cares for us. He ever loves and cares for His own!

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"Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).

On Tuesday mornings we travel through Lebanon County which is the county directly north of us. It is more rural than Lancaster County and we pass a lot of beautiful farm land. Lebanon is the county seat and main city. Like many places in this part of Pennsylvania it has a Bible-based name. In fact the name of the high school sports teams are the "Cedars". See Psalm 104:16

But up until last week we were not aware that a beloved hymn has its origins in Lebanon County. As we often do while traveling a distance Brooksyne reads aloud from a devotional book. Last Tuesday, as we were driving through Lebanon County, she read a story from Robert Morgan's book "On This Day" about Elisha Hoffman who was born in 1839 in a little town called Orwigsburg, PA (which most of you have never heard of). However from 1821-24 it was the scene of what church historian Ammon Stapleton calls "the greatest local revival the Evangelical Church has ever known." (However, apart from this quote, I was unable to find any details!)

Elisha Hoffman Hoffman became a minister and prolific songwriter and many of us still enjoy singing his songs today such as "Leaning On The Everlasting Arms", "Are You Washed" and others.

When Hoffman was not working in his study, he could often be found chatting with poor people in the homes "across the tracks". In fact, we pass over these same tracks each week. One day, in 1894, he visited the home of a parishioner in the hills near Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Sorrow and affliction were frequent visitors there. He found a woman in the depths of mental anguish.

He counseled with her and quoted verses from the Bible, which he thought would console her. However, she seemed to be unable to rise above her distress. He then suggested that she could do nothing better than to take all of her sorrow to Jesus. “You must tell Jesus,” he told her. A light broke across her face and she cried, “Yes! I must tell Jesus.” And so she did. After a period of prayer, she rose from her knees with a brightness in her face.

Hoffman left immediately with the words, "I must tell Jesus", ringing in his heart. As soon as he arrived at home, and while still under the influence of this experience, he wrote:

I must tell Jesus all of my trials;
I cannot bear these burdens alone
In my distress He kindly will help me;
He ever loves and cares for His own.

1 Peter 5:7 This song is a musical expression of Peter's short command in 1 Peter 5:7, "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7). Perhaps Peter was alluding to Psalm 55:22 which states, "Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken."

But when I read this text I also wonder if Peter, who was famously a fisherman prior to his call to become a disciple, might have had a fisherman allusion in mind when he wrote the verse. During his last recorded fishing trip, an event following the Resurrection, he had heard Jesus say,
"'Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.' So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish" (John 21:6)

What a blessing that we can cast all our cares on the Lord with the assurance that He cares for us. Indeed, He ever loves and cares for His own!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I must tell Jesus all of my troubles, for He is a kind, compassionate Friend. If I but ask Him, He will deliver, make of my troubles quickly an end. During times of trouble and tribulation; during times of sorrow and care; when tempted or lonely Jesus is there for me so prompt me, Father, to take my troubles to Jesus rather than foolishly wring my hands in utter distress. Jesus alone is the One who can help me when I go to Him, by faith, in prayer. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Must Tell Jesus"  Video  RBC singers

"I Must Tell Jesus"  Video  Interesting version

"I Must Tell Jesus" Video  Joni sings "I Must Tell Jesus" and introduces songwriters, famous for their hymns, who had disabilities.

The Story Behind I Must Tell Jesus"

"Leaning On The Everlasting Arms"  Video  Gaither Homecoming

"Leaning On The Everlasting Arms"  Video 
Iris DeMent (Dedicated to my brother Mike Weber)

"Tell It To Jesus"  Video  Another old song that came to mind in the course of preparing today's message.

In the course of looking for music complimentary to today's message I came across this: Hymn History of "How Great Thou Art"

Finally today:

Dottie in barn
Today is our cat Dottie's 17th birthday. She was born on this date in the summer kitchen beside the rental farmhouse we first lived in when we moved to Lancaster County from New England in 2001. The barn cat who hung around the house had a litter and Ester selected Dottie to keep. By far she is the pet we have had for the longest time and she seems to be doing fine. She lives in our utility barn but we let her out daily so she can prowl around a bit. She still catches critters.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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