Hymns of Comfort

by Zach James

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1.
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. REFRAIN On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand. In ev’ry rough and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the vale. When all around my soul gives way, he then is all my hope and stay. Not earth, nor hell, my soul can move; I rest upon unchanging love. I trust his righteous character, his counsel, promise, and his pow’r. When he shall come with trumpet sound, oh, may I then in him be found, dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.
2.
This is my Father's world, And to my listening ears All nature sings, and round me rings The music of the spheres. This is my Father's world: I rest me in the thought Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas-- His hand the wonders wrought. This is my Father's world: The birds their carols raise, The morning light, the lily white, Declare their Maker's praise. This is my Father's world: He shines in all that's fair; In the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere. This is my Father's world: O let me ne'er forget That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet. This is my Father's world: Why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King: let the heavens ring! God reigns; let earth be glad!
3.
Like a river glorious is God's perfect peace, over all victorious in its bright increase: perfect, yet still flowing fuller every day; perfect, yet still growing deeper all the way. REFRAIN Trusting in the Father, hearts are fully blest, finding, as he promised, perfect peace and rest. Hidden in the hollow of his mighty hand, where no harm can follow, in his strength we stand. We may trust him fully all for us to do; those who trust him wholly find him wholly true.
4.
When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast save in the death of Christ, my God! All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them through his blood. See, from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down. Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown? Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.
5.
Day by Day 03:44
Day by day and with each passing moment, Strength I find to meet my trials here; Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment, I've no cause for worry or for fear. He whose heart is kind beyond all measure Gives unto each day what he deems best– Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure, Mingling toil with peace and rest. Ev'ry day the Lord himself is near me, With a special mercy for each hour; All my cares he gladly bears and cheers me, He whose name is Counselor and Pow'r. The protection of his child and treasure Is a charge that on himself he laid: "As your days, your strength shall be in measure"– This the pledge to me he made. Help me then in ev'ry tribulation So to trust your promises, O Lord, That I lose not faith's sweet consolation Offered me within your holy Word. Help me, Lord, when, toil and trouble meeting, E'er to take, as from a father's hand, One by one, the days, the moments fleeting, Till I reach the promised land.
6.
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; naught be all else to me, save that thou art. Thou my best thought, by day or by night, waking or sleeping, thy presence my light. Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word; I ever with thee, and thou with me, Lord. Born of thy love, thy child may I be, thou in me dwelling and I one with thee. Be thou my buckler, my sword for the fight. Be thou my dignity, thou my delight, thou my soul’s shelter, thou my high tow’r. Raise thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r. Riches I heed not, nor vain empty praise; thou mine inheritance, now and always. Thou and thou only, first in my heart, Ruler of heaven, my treasure thou art. High King of heaven, when vict’ry is won may I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heav’n’s Sun! Heart of my heart, whatever befall, still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
7.
When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, "It is well, it is well with my soul." REFRAIN It is well with my soul; it is well, it is well with my soul. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, let this blest assurance control: that Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and has shed his own blood for my soul. My sin oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! my sin, not in part, but the whole, is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more; praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! O Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll; the trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend; even so, it is well with my soul.
8.
How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in his excellent Word! What more can he say than to you he has said, to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled? “Fear not, I am with you; O be not dismayed, for I am your God, and will still give you aid. I’ll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand, upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand. “When through the deep waters I call you to go, the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow, for I will be with you, your troubles to bless, and sanctify to you the deepest distress. “When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie, my grace, all sufficient, shall be your supply. The flames shall not hurt you. I only design your dross to consume, and your gold to refine. “The soul that on Jesus still leans for repose, I will not, I will not desert to its foes. That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!”

about

As I was working on this album, I affectionately called it my “Corona-hymns” album, not only for the obvious reason that the songs were recorded and released during the COVID-19 quarantine, but because of the impetus behind the project and the purpose I wanted it to serve: to provide comfort and assurance during these unsure times.

I’ve always loved hymns and felt that perhaps the most comforting thing about them, besides their lyrics and tunes, is the fact that many of them were written a long time ago in the “times like these” that their respective generations faced.

There’s nothing new about what we’re experiencing and there’s plenty of old to lean back on.

For example, “Be Thou My Vision,” the 6th track on the album, is a translation of a text that goes back, according to some sources, as far as the 6th century! It’s been comforting us for 1,500 years!

The 2nd track on the album, “This Is My Father’s World,” a too oft-neglected hymn and known almost exclusively for its first verse, ends with these lyrics:

This is my Father’s world:
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!

I hope these hymns, delivered in a simple, piano-only, improvisational style, much like a prelude before a service or in a living room after dinner, meet you where you are and fill you up with same degree of comfort and assurance they have for millions of others over many centuries.

credits

released May 29, 2020

All songs performed, recorded, and produced by Zach James
© 2020 Zaspr Media LLC

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Zach James Scranton, Pennsylvania

musical encourager

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