Behind and Before

crossbefore

I always put the Lord in front of me; I will not stumble because he is on my right side (Psalm 16:8, Common English Bible).

When I finished writing yesterday’s post I decided there was more I wanted to share using our verse from yesterday, so it is also the verse for today.

I love many of the stories about the hymns we often sing. In yesterday’s post I talked about the hymn “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” I love the story behind the hymn and thought I would share it with you as today’s devotional post.

Tradition holds the lyrics for “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” are based on the last words of a man in the Assam region of northeast India. Due to the efforts of a Welsh missionary, this man and his family decided to accept the free gift of grace through Jesus Christ. For his trouble the village chief ordered the man to renounce his new-found faith. The man declared, “I have decided to follow Jesus.”

That was when the persecutions began. His family was threatened. He responded saying, “Though no one joins me, still I will follow.” His wife was killed. He was then executed while singing, “The cross before me, the world behind me.”

It was said the man’s faith demonstration in the face of persecution and death was so powerful the entire village, including the chief, decided to accept God’s free gift of grace.

The title of the hymn’s melody is Assam, after the region of India where this story unfolded. An Indian missionary took the man’s words and arranged them into the hymn. An American hymn editor, William Jensen Reynolds, composed an arrangement which is still in use in many hymnals today.

1. I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.

2. Tho’ none go with me, I still will follow,
Tho’ none go with me I still will follow,
Tho’ none go with me, I still will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.

3. My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
My cross I’ll carry till I see Jesus,
My cross I’ll carry till I see Jesus;
No turning back, No turning back.

4. The world behind me, the cross before me
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me,
No turning back, no turning back.

In the words of the psalmist may we always keep the Lord before us. In the words of the unknown hymn writer, let’s keep “the world behind us and the cross before us.”

Have a Great Day in the Lord,

Grace and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s