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Tuesday, July 6, 2021

He Will Hold Me Fast

"He Will Hold Me Fast"

Message summary: Today's message is written with reassurance that Christ will hold us fast.

Listen to this message on your audio player.

"Your right hand will hold me fast" (Psalm 139:10). "To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy — to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen" (Jude 1:24,25).

When I fear my faith will fail, Christ will hold me fast;
When the tempter would prevail, He will hold me fast.
I could never keep my hold through life's fearful path;
For my love is often cold; He must hold me fast.

Jim and Wendy Gambini have been our friends for over twenty years since we first moved to Lancaster County and Jim was our pastor for the first several years. We continue to stay up with them although they have moved to Georgia. We called the other day after reading this thoughtful note from Jim concerning their wedding anniversary.

Jim and Wendy Gambini"44 years ago we stood before a couple hundred people and vowed our lives and our love to each other. For some insane reason she has loved and cared for me without wavering or hesitation. I can honestly say (to almost quote an old Spiral Staircase song) "I love her more today than yesterday but not as much as tomorrow". The past couple of years have introduced us to a lot of circumstances that we probably would not have chosen for ourselves but the grace of God has always been superabundant. He has held us fast to Himself and to each other. I wouldn't have it any other way. We have loved God and each other through it all but HIS loving kindness endures forever."

As expressed in his note in recent years the Gambinis have faced some critical health challenges, the kind that tests one's faith, but Jim gives a powerful expression of assurance that "the grace of God has always been superabundant". His words also remind us of how we were blessed week after week by Jim's well-crafted, thoroughly prepared sermons.

He Will Hold Me FastWhen I read Jim's line, "He has held us fast", I considered a wonderful hymn we have both enjoyed the last several years titled, "He Will Hold Me Fast". We'll provide a link to several versions and a background story below. It has especially been a blessing this last year with so much turmoil and uncertainty.

BenedictionsToday let us consider Jude's benediction. A benediction is a short prayer for divine help, blessing and guidance, usually spoken at the end of a worship service but suitable for all occasions including a blessing in the home. The word comes from the Latin “bene”, well and “dicere”, to speak. Through the years as Pastor I used a variety of Biblical benedictions when I concluded a worship service. In fact I have them adhered to the back flyleaf on my pulpit Bible. (I also have invocations to use at the beginning of a worship service on the front flyleaf.) Brooksyne has told me on occasion that's how she memorized various passages from the Bible from hearing them as weekly benedictions.

The first part of Jude’s benediction expresses what God will do for us using the glorious phrase, "He is able".

1)  He is able to keep us from stumbling.
2)  He is able to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.

He is able to hold us fast through this life, to “keep us from stumbling” and prepare us for the life to come, “To present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy”.

In the epistles there are several rich expressions of what God is able to do for us:
  1. He is able to establish us according to the gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ (Romans 16:25).
  2. He is able to make all grace abound to us, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, we may have an abundance for every good deed (2 Corinthians 9:8).
  3. "For this reason I also suffer these things; but I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to protect what I have entrusted to Him until that day" (2 Timothy 1:12)
  4. Since He Himself was tempted in that which He suffered, He is able to come to our aid when we are tempted (Hebrews 2:18).
  5. He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25).
The second part of Jude's benediction is a powerful declaration of praise to God as a result of this assurance.

"To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever."

Today we pray this benediction for you, our reader, that you will experience rich assurance and great joy as you recognize your position in Christ and have a deep settled assurance that Christ will hold you fast. Hold fast to the truth that He is able to save us who draw near to God through Him, and He is making intercession for us. Be assured that Christ will hold you fast!

He will hold me fast
He will hold me fast
For my Savior loves me so
He will hold me fast

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, what great joy and peace comes when we realize that You will always hold us fast. Give us the rich assurance of sufficient strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Only You are able to keep us from falling and to receive us before Your glorious presence without fault and with great joy. You are the only wise God our Savior in whom we can truly ascribe glory, majesty, power and authority through Jesus Christ our Lord in all generations both now and forevermore. In Jesus’ mighty Name we find assurance of salvation and sustaining grace to hold us fast no matter what comes our way. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"He Will Hold Me Fast" Video  Selah

When I fear my faith will fail, Christ will hold me fast;
When the tempter would prevail, He will hold me fast.
I could never keep my hold through life's fearful path;
For my love is often cold; He must hold me fast.

He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast;
For my Saviour loves me so, He will hold me fast.

Those He saves are His delight, Christ will hold me fast;
Precious in his holy sight, He will hold me fast.
He'll not let my soul be lost; His promises shall last;
Bought by Him at such a cost, He will hold me fast.

For my life He bled and died, Christ will hold me fast;
Justice has been satisfied; He will hold me fast.
Raised with Him to endless life, He will hold me fast
‘Till our faith is turned to sight, When He comes at last!

"He Will Hold Me Fast"  Video  Keith and Kristyn Getty. This version has a long, quite moving violin instrumental intro of another hymn, "Be Still My Soul".

"He Will Hold Me Fast" Video  Shane and Shane

"He Will Hold You Fast" was first introduced in Philadelphia in the early 1900’s

Robert Harkness who composed the original tune writes,

"During a cam­paign in To­ron­to, Can­a­da, a young con­vert with whom I was deal­ing ex­pressed the fear that he would not be able to "hold out."

A day or two lat­er in a let­ter to Miss Ada Hab­ers­hon, of Lon­don, I men­tioned the need for a song which would give def­in­ite as­sur­ance of suc­cess in the Chris­tian life.

The weeks passed and a cou­ple of months lat­er dur­ing a great cam­paign in Phil­a­del­phia, U.S.A., I re­ceived a batch of sev­en new songs writ­ten by Miss Hab­er­shon.

As Dr. Tor­rey preached his ser­mon one af­ter­noon (in­stead of lis­ten­ing!) I oc­cu­pied the time in set­ting the sev­en lyr­ics to mu­sic. One of these was "He will hold me fast".

The same ev­en­ing it was in­tro­duced by Chas. M. Al­ex­an­der to an au­die­nce of 4,000 pe­ople. Its suc­cess was im­med­i­ate, and it has con­tin­ued to be a great fav­or­ite. It has been trans­lat­ed in­to ma­ny lan­guag­es.

Like many hymns it grew less and less familiar. (We don't recall ever hearing it until several years ago) Then a musician named Matthew Merker rediscovered and revised it. He tells the story here: The Story Behind the Song video 

“He Will Hold Me Fast” Ada R. Habershon & Robert Harkness hymn (on Edison cylinder). Video This was the original tune.

Brooksyne's Note:  Many pastors do not conclude the worship service with a benediction anymore and I really miss that wonderful Biblical dismissal of the congregation when Pastors send the congregation off with a blessing, a challenge, or a reassuring text. Several benedictions that Stephen used while pastoring for nearly thirty years are stored up in my memory bank simply because I heard them repeatedly and I'm grateful for that way of getting the Word engrafted in my heart without a great deal of exercise getting it there. I have thoroughly enjoyed Warren Wiersbe who has written many books over the years including one that might be of interest to you as he invites you to become a "benediction believer". It might also be of interest to our readers who are Pastors.

"Blessing:  Receiving and sharing the blessing of the Lord" by Warren Wiersbe - The words bless, blessed, and blessing are found over 500 times in the Bible. A blessing, says the author, is any act of God that brings Him glory by accomplishing His will and helping His people grow and do His will. Scattered throughout the Bible are statements of blessing that we call "benedictions." In these pages, the author examines 12 of the most prominent benedictions of the Bible and helps readers learn what the blessings are that God wants us to receive from Him and share with others. In doing so, the author invites us to become "benediction believers."

Finally today:

Bluebird (photo by Doris High)
A Bluebird for a reminder of the beauty of God's Creation!
(Photo by Doris High)

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