Amazing Grace: 366 Hymn Stories

December 1

John Newton, 1725–1807
Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire beside You. (Psalm 73:25)
The gospel of Jesus Christ revolves around the two Advents of the Savior: The first when He came as the humble baby in Bethlehem’s manger (Philippians 2:6–8); the second when He returns as King of kings with power and great glory to establish His eternal kingdom (Luke 21:27). Christ’s first coming assures us that we now have a God who identified Himself with us in every aspect of life from birth to death. The anticipation of His second coming assures us that we will live and reign with Him forever. Such a hope keeps this life from becoming “tedious and tasteless”—regardless of the seasons or situations.
The ultimate source of inner joy is God Himself, not our circumstances. Without an intimate sense of His daily presence, however, our lives can easily become wintry and frigid.
“How Tedious and Tasteless the Hours” is another of the fine hymns by John Newton. It first appeared in his 1779 collection titled The Olney Hymns. The hymn was originally titled “Fellowship with Christ”—based on Psalm 73:25. These words still speak vividly to us of the importance of maintaining a close personal relationship with our Lord:
How tedious and tasteless the hours when Jesus no longer I see! Sweet prospects, sweet birds, and sweet flowers have all lost their sweetness to me. The mid-summer sun shines but dim; the fields strive in vain to look gay; but when I am happy with Him, December’s as pleasant as May.
Content with beholding His face, my all to His pleasure resigned, no changes of season or place would make any change in my mind: While blest with a sense of His love, a palace a toy would appear; and prisons would palaces prove, if Jesus would dwell with me there.
Dear Lord, if indeed I am Thine, if Thou art my sun and my song, say, why do I languish and pine, and why are my winters so long? Oh, drive these dark clouds from my sky; Thy soul-cheering presence restore; or take me unto Thee on high, where winter and clouds are no more.

    For Today: Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 9:2; 70:4; Romans 14:17, 18

God has made you a steward of this day, regardless of the weather or circumstances. May it count for Him. Consciously practice His presence. Reflect on this musical truth—

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