Battle #4: Amazed vs. I Stand Amazed in the Presence

The CCLI Praise Charts are a good indicator of what’s happening in the CCM scene today. The titles on the Songs With the Greatest Gain list indicate those songs that are increasing in popularity more rapidly than any others. Coming in at number eight on that list is Amazed sung by Jared Anderson from the album Where to Begin. This song is also sung by Lincoln Brewster on his album All to You as well as several other singers and groups. Most recently, I heard this song at the 34th Annual Creation Festival, the largest Christian Music gathering in the Northeast. Amazed is moving fast up the charts and is becoming a chief “thanksgiving and adoration” song in the repertoire of many Christians.

The hymn selected to match this fast rising CCM star is I Stand Amazed in the Presence by Charles H. Gabriel, 1856 – 1932.   Charles Gabriel was a very prolific lyrist and composer. Having authored and composed under his own names a various pseudonyms, the estimate of his works is uncertain thought thought to be approximately 7000 hymns and songs. Of those songs and hymns, I Stand Amazed in the Presence remains one of Gabriel’s most popular, along with other such as What a Savior and All Hail Immanuel.

On the left are the lyrics to Amazed as found on www.newreleasetuesday.com. On the right are the lyrics to I Stand Amazed In the Presence as found on www.hymnsite.com.

Amazed I Stand Amazed In the Presence
You dance over me while I am unaware
You sing all around
But I never hear the sound
Lord, I am amazed by You
Lord, I am amazed by You
Lord, I am amazed by You
How You love me

You paint the morning sky with miracles In mind
My hope will always stand
You hold me in Your hand
Lord, I am amazed by You
Lord, I am amazed by You
Lord, I am amazed by You
How You love me

How wide, how deep
How great is Your love for me
How wide, how deep
How great is Your love for me
And Lord, I am amazed by You
Lord, I am amazed by You
Lord, I am amazed by You
How You love me, Oooo

Oh, Lord, I am amazed by You
Lord, I am amazed by You
Lord, I am amazed by You
How You love me

1.                 I stand amazed in the presence

of Jesus the Nazarene,

and wonder how he could love me,

a sinner, condemned, unclean.

 

Refrain:

How marvelous! How wonderful!

And my song shall ever be:

How marvelous! How wonderful

is my Savior’s love for me!

 

2.                 For me it was in the garden

he prayed: “Not my will, but thine.”

He had no tears for his own griefs,

but sweat-drops of blood for mine.

(Refrain)

 

3.                 In pity angels beheld him,

and came from the world of light

to comfort him in the sorrows

he bore for my soul that night.

(Refrain)

 

4.                 He took my sins and my sorrows,

he made them his very own;

he bore the burden to Calvary,

and suffered and died alone.

(Refrain)

 

5.                 When with the ransomed in glory

his face I at last shall see,

’twill be my joy through the ages

to sing of his love for me.

(Refrain)

 

Honestly, I don’t even feel the need to elaborate. Just a brief glance side by side and the verdict is already clear. It is almost unnecessary to go through this song battle blow by blow. Just lining the phrases up next to each other is sufficient. But still, I will expound on these lyrics to address the Scriptural content (or lack thereof) to encourage your own further studies.

“You dance over me while I am unaware. You sing all around but I never hear the sound.” I’m not sure where in the Scriptures one can find the Lord dancing over us. Zephaniah 3:17 does say that the Lord rejoice over us with singing, which therefore, makes the second part of the above line somewhat accurate (you sing all around). However the first phrase “you dance over me” is a pretty string of words, but it is baseless.

The remainder of this song goes on to say how amazing God’s love for us is, how wide and how deep. However, one trick of the trade that I learned about writing, one phrase my teacher would always say that stuck in my memory is: Don’t tell me; show me. Whereas Amazed simply tells us that God’s love is amazing, Gabriel’s hymn shows us just what is so amazing about that love. Gabriel takes us back to the Garden of Gethsemane, then to Christ’s redemptive work on the Cross of Calvary, and finally on to our worship of Him in glory. In Gabriel’s hymn we are given a sweeping overview of the gospel. In Amazed there is not much to view at all.

Battle Four goes to the Hymns. At 4 to 0, it’s looking like the Hymns have the Hers on the ropes. The emotion driven, content-lacking “Hers” are not making much of a stand for CCM. But if you are looking for Christian contemporary music that can measure up against the old hymns, round for round, matching Scripture for Scripture, check out the lyrics on DoubleEdgeMusic.com.

Brandy Says God Change Her Life

Things that can happen in an individual’s life

Double Edge Music Podcast Host: Troy Isaacs

The entertainer known as Brandy, 36, says she has a new outlook on life now that she has landed the role of Roxie Hart in the Broadway play, “Chicago.” She spoke to NewYork.com about moving past the state of depression she was in with help from God. “People would never guess the dark space that I was in about a year ago and how long I was sad and depressed. Long story short: I cried out for help and the decision followed to be the best version of myself,” she recalled. “I then did the work spiritually, mentally and physically and saw my old life disappear. ‘Chicago’ presented itself to me and I then stepped into my dream.”
 What You Will Learn:
  • In this episode will take a look at some of the things that can happen in an individual’s life to lead them to God.
  • We will look at your passion for God your privileges the people you associate with and your parents

Did You Enjoy the Show? Let Us Know on Twitter!

If you enjoyed this podcast episode please let us know on Twitter by clicking on the link below:

Don’t Miss an Episode. Subscribe to One of the Links Below:

Thank You for Listening to the Podcast!

If you’ve found value in this episode of the Double Edge Music Podcast, I would love to hear about it! Please head on over to iTunes and leave me a Rating and Review (5 stars would be awesome!) so others, who are interested in strengthening their walk with the Lord through Biblically solid music choices, can find the show. If you have any questions or comments about this show, please post them in the comments area below and I would more than happy to answer them. For questions and more information feel free to contact me at troy.img@gmail.com.

Shirley Caesar’s Classic Song Becomes A Thanksgiving Hit

Four reasons to be thankful you don't want to miss

Double Edge Music Podcast Host: Troy Isaacs

If you’ve heard about the ‘U Name It’ challenge, you’ve probably already put in a special request to grandma asking if she can cook up some “Beans, greens, tomatoes, potatoes…you name it!!!” Gospel Hall of Famer Shirley Caesar has been getting folks in the Thanksgiving spirit ever since her gospel performance of “Hold My Mule” hit the internet and instantly became a lovable, viral meme. She loves the idea behind it but says she isn’t down with the twerking.
In this episode I will give you four reasons to be thankful you don’t want to miss it. We will look at our predicament our pardon Christ participation and his power if you’re having problems being thankful that will change after hearing this show.
 What You Will Learn:
  • Four reasons to be thankful you don’t want to miss
  • Why Famer Shirley Ceasar isn’t ready for fame
  • How gratitude can change you

Did You Enjoy the Show? Let Us Know on Twitter!

If you enjoyed this podcast episode please let us know on Twitter by clicking on the link below:

Don’t Miss an Episode. Subscribe to One of the Links Below:

Thank You for Listening to the Podcast!

If you’ve found value in this episode of the Double Edge Music Podcast, I would love to hear about it! Please head on over to iTunes and leave me a Rating and Review (5 stars would be awesome!) so others, who are interested in strengthening their walk with the Lord through Biblically solid music choices, can find the show. If you have any questions or comments about this show, please post them in the comments area below and I would more than happy to answer them. For questions and more information feel free to contact me at troy.img@gmail.com.

Battle Three: Come Now Is the Time to Worship versus O, Worship The King

After preaching and teaching, worship, in my opinion, is the second most significant part of a congregational gathering. Therefore, it seemed fitting to pick a “call to worship” song for the third battle in this series. One can hardly attend a modern church worship service without hearing the song Come, Now Is the Time to Worship by Brian Doerkson.  Commonly sung at the start of church service, Doerkson’s song is used by many to usher in a “spirit of worship” and praise.   According to Eric Durso from A Watchman for the Morning (ericdurso.com) Come, Now is the Time to Worship is #15 on the list of The Top 25 Songs Sung in Churches today.  This song also ranks at #18 on The Top 100 CCLI Songs This Period. For a song written several years ago (originally released in 1998), this song has endured through rapidly changing world of CCM today.

As a contender against this contemporary Christian music song, I’ve picked O Worship the King by Sir Robert Grant.  Sir Robert Grant, 1779 -1838, wrote only twelve hymns which were collected and released posthumously by his brother Charles Grant. Of those twelve songs, only O, Worship the King is still currently sung. According to Dr. C Michael Hawn, professor of Sacred Music at Perkins School of theology, Erik Routely, the British hymnologist, considers Grant’s hymn to be a “good example of the impact on hymnody of the new search for poetic standards which Herber so strongly promoted”.  O Worship the King also has recently been modified and revised by Chris Tomlin. Tomlin’s version of O Worship the King, which includes a new chorus, has brought the old hymn back into popular use. For this battle however, I will be using the original lyrics as penned by Sir Robert Grant.

On the left we have the lyrics to Come, Now is the Time to Worship. It is important to note that the lyrics of this song vary according to the singer. Other singers/groups have done covers for this song, tweaking the lyrics here and there.  Alternate lyrics are found on other sites than the source that I have used; however, I have picked this source because these are the main lyrics most often sung. On the right are the lyrics to O, Worship the King.

Come, Now Is the Time to Worship O, Worship the King
Come, now is the time to worship.
Come, now is the time to give your heart.
Come, just as you are, to worship.
Come, just as you are, before your God.
Come.

One day every tongue will confess You are God.
One day every knee will bow.
Still the greatest treasure remains for those
Who gladly choose you now.

Come, now is the time to worship.
Come, now is the time to give your heart.
Oh, come. Just as you are to worship.
Come just as you are before your God.
Come.

One day every tongue will confess You are God.
One day every knee will bow.
Still the greatest treasure remains for those
who gladly choose you now.

[Repeat]

Come, now is the time to worship.
Come, now is the time to give your heart.
Come, just as you are to worship.
Come, just as you are before your God.
Come.

Oh, come. Oh, come. Oh, come.
Worship the Lord. Oh, come.

Come, come, come…

O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His power and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space,
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

The earth with its store of wonders untold,
Almighty, Thy power hath founded of old;
Established it fast by a changeless decree,
And round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea.

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.

O measureless might! Ineffable love!
While angels delight to worship Thee above,
The humbler creation, though feeble their lays,
With true adoration shall all sing Thy praise.

 

In the lyrics “Come Now Is the Time to Worship, now is the time to give your heart” the use of the word “now” gives a sense of urgency and immediacy. “Now” clearly encourages Christians to make worship a priority and a central focus. The lyrics following that line – “Come, just as you are to worship”—I think are not as clear and can be misconstrued. It is true that there is nothing that we can do in and of ourselves to make ourselves more fit for worship. As His children we should not concern ourselves with trivial superficial matters, looks or appearance, station or position in life, etc. to come before our God.  James (in James 2:1-4) rebukes those who are partial to finely dressed, rich churchgoers. Clearly, we should not be partial about outward features when we come into God’s house. However, while man looks at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart. In regard to our heart condition, we should not come to God “just as we are” to worship. We must come to Christ just as we are—sinners, poor and wretched—to be cleansed. And only then, cleansed by and covered in the blood of Jesus, can we approach the Father in worship. God makes it clear that the worship/sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to Him (Proverbs 15:8). Therefore, as we bring our sacrifice of praise/worship to the Lord, we must do so through Christ (Hebrews 13:15). Matthew 5:23-24 cautions us that “…. if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” While I believe the intention of these lyrics is good—to call us to worship now, with immediacy with urgency without care for outward appearance—we should be careful with the words “just as you are to worship/just as you are before your God”.

On the other hand, let’s compare “just as you are” (Doerkson) with “the humbler creation” and “frail children of dust” (Grant). Whereas “just as you are” can misconstrue the correct heart-posture before God, the lyrics “the humbler creation” and “frail children of dust” clearly reveals our station in relationship before the exalted and high station of our God in worship. According to Grant’s last stanza our effort to worship the Lord cannot even compare to the worship of the angels (“though feeble their lays”, i.e. though our singing may be weak in comparison that of the angels).   “Frail children of dust and feeble as frail” leaves no question as to who we are in relationship to God. Not only is Grant clearer about our humble feeble station as mankind, he furthermore illustrates our posture in approaching God in worship. The lines “with true adoration shall all sing your praise” and “O, gratefully sing” gives us far more detail than “just as you are to worship”. Whereas Doerkson’s “just as you are” can mean anything, Grant’s lyrics unmistakably mean we must come with gratitude, thankfulness, awe and adoration.

Not only do Grant’s lyrics give us a clearer picture of our heart posture, they give us a better illustration of God’s nature and character. After the first stanza, Doerkson’s lyrics continue onto say: “One day every tongue will confess You are God; one day every knee will bow”. These lines echo those of Scripture which says in Romans 14:11 “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” Indeed, one day, the whole earth will confess and recognize the deity of Christ. Doerkson’s lyrics point us to that reality. Grant’s lyrics however give us a grander fuller picture of our Lord than simply “You are God”.  Contrast the simplicity of “You are God” with the depth and breathdth of “The King”, “Shield and Defender”, (Psalm 3:3 and 7:10)  the Ancient of Days” (Daniel 7:9), “Almighty”, “Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend” (Psalm 18:2).

By the time Grant has finished describing this God “girded in splendor”, “whose robe is the light, whose canopy space”, who by His power “established [the world] by a changeless decree”, who can help but sing?!  Doerkson’s lyrics “Still the greatest treasure remains for those who gladly choose you now” may entice us to praise the Lord now and not wait. As we look to our treasure stored up in heaven, perhaps we are stirred to worship. However, contrast this with Grant’s provocation to worship. Instead of the “treasure for those who choose [God] now” as an impetus to worship, Grant draws on the imagery of Psalm 104, depicting the majesty, greatness, condescension and care of the King.  After Grant has led us through six profound verses describing to us God’s character, His marvelous creation (“the earth with its store of wonders untold”) and His care for us (“Thy bountiful care”), we can’t help but “all sing His praise”! Furthermore, Grant’s words direct us not simply to confess “You are God” but moreover to sing of God’s power, love, might, grace and His care for us!

Grant’s lyrics far outpace Doerkson’s in descriptiveness of God’s nature (“You are God” vs. “Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend” etc.) and clarity as to our posture in approaching Him in worship (“Just as you are” vs. “humbler creation” “gratefully sing” “with true adoration”). Doerkson’s lyrics put forth a valiant effort, urging immediacy and echoing Romans 14:11. Yet, Grant’s lyrics ultimately triumphed with greater imagery, depth and Scripture, taking us on a trip through the Psalms and pointing us to the majesty and wonder of our King.

Battle three is over– It’s another knockout for the Hymns! But, if you are looking for Contemporary Christian Music that can stand up against the old hymns, with a wealth for Scriptural content, and lyrics that will point you to the glory of God, check out Doubleedgemusic.com.