Friday, December 28, 2012

Beloved Hymns: Battle Hymn of the Republic

What I love most about hymns is the story behind their being written.  What event prompted him or her to pen the words?  Was it a tragic event, or was it a realization of one of the aspects of God's character?  And further, how did it reach the public eye (or rather, ear) and become the treasured hymn it is now? 

This hymn has always been one of my favorite.  It is a fairly new one, since it was written in the mid-19th century whereas most beloved hymns of today were written in the 18th century (i.e. Isaac Watts).  This particular hymn was written not so much as the result of a personal tragedy or even a learned aspect of God's character; rather, it was penned as an alternative to a secular song.  And Julia Ward Howe, the writer, was herself a Unitarian.  She was raised by her Calvanist father but later joined the Unitarian church and herself preached at Pentecostal churches in later years.  However, God used her nonetheless to write a beautiful hymn, a tribute to God's great glory and power. 
Julia Ward Howe
(May 27, 1819-October 17, 1910)

The account says that, on a visit to President Lincoln in Washington, D.C. in November of 1861, Julia and her husband, along with some friends, including a gentlemen by the name of James Freeman Clarke (who was, by the way, a Unitarian minister) were watching the Union army in review when the Confederates suddenly attacked, which surprised the Union army and they fled.  As they retreated so did the Howes, but as they rode back to town they sang patriotic songs, probably to encourage the soldiers retreating alongside them.  One they sang was "John Brown's Body", a camp song about the crazy abolitionist who had been hung two years before.  Clarke mentioned to Julia that he would like her to write different words to the detestable song.  The request was honored.  Julia said,
I awoke in the grey of the morn­ing, and as I lay wait­ing for dawn, the long lines of the de­sired po­em be­gan to en­twine them­selves in my mind, and I said to my­self, “I must get up and write these vers­es, lest I fall asleep and for­get them!” So I sprang out of bed and in the dim­ness found an old stump of a pen, which I re­mem­bered us­ing the day be­fore. I scrawled the vers­es al­most with­out look­ing at the p­aper.
The following February, the words were printed in The Atlantic Monthly and soon spread all over the North as the Union's own song of patriotism.  It is indeed a wonderful song of triumph over the enemy through Christ our Lord, not only for times of battle but for all times in the life of a christian.  Though some (including myself) may disagree with the writer's personal beliefs which run contrary to the Word of God, I believe He used Julia W. Howe all the same, to write one of the most beloved American hymns ever.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps;
His day is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His day is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet;
Our God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free;
[originally …let us die to make men free]
While God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! While God is marching on.

Sources: Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography: Julia Ward Howe, NetHymnal: Battle Hymn of the Republic

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

12-12-12 Sale!!

The Land of Calais by Melody Grubb

Just in Time for Christmas!

Tomorrow (Wednesday), get 40% off my book, The Land of Calais!  This is a great deal on a great adventure read... the original price is $9.95 but you get it for $5.97*!

Also on sale on 12-12-12 ONLY: Check out my sister, Christina's books about her unusual experiences in India and a historical-fiction novel packed with drama and adventure!  

*Plus S&H

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Guarding Our Future Security

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice:
but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn." 
~Proverbs 29:2 

   I thank God for this free country I live in.  I thank God for the blessings He has bestowed upon the United States (even though we --including myself-- have been taking those blessings for granted.)
   I think most would agree that this country He gave us is in bad disrepair--spiritually, for one thing.  I feel that the state of our country is partly due to us who, as saints, have woefully fallen back as prayer warriors.  It is imperative that we pray regularly for those in authority; as Paul exhorts Timothy, "first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings [or presidents!], and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty" (1 Tim. 2:1-2, emphasis added).  It is growing increasingly uncertain that we will be leading quiet and peaceable lives in the near future!  
   While reading Lives of the Singers of the Declaration of Independence, it was interesting to note that most, if not all, were solid Christian men, outspoken in their dedication to the Lord and His precepts.  It makes me wonder how much the prayers of the people-- even the pilgrims of a century before-- paid off so that, in our greatest hour of need, our leaders were men of godly character.  How much more can God raise up godly leaders for us now, in this most crucial time in America's history since the Civil War!
"...But when a long train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, it is a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security."
~Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
   It seems there is a Design to reduce us under absolute Despotism, and it isn't too late to retake our country.  Indeed, it is our Duty.  And our foremost duty is to pray, daily and hourly for a Revival to sweep the country.  Another is to vote*... before we lose the privilege!

*For those who haven't voted yet, a great voter guide put out by the Heritage Alliance can be found at 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bulk Herb Store Berkey Filter Giveaway!

Deep Roots at Home, a great place to find lots of useful information on different topics, is hosting a giveaway of the Royal Berkey filter sold at Bulk Herb Store!  The filter takes most of the unwanted and unhealthy additives out of tap water using ceramic filtering elements, making it much healthier to drink.  There are several makes and sizes in the Berkey filter line, and this particular Berkey has a value of $283!

There is so much to look at over at Bulk Herb Store besides the line of filters.  For instance, their Jasmine green tea that is simply heavenly and is the freshest I've ever tasted!  There is a wealth of information, too, on how to use the herbs that they sell.  We use many of the herbs for all kinds of uses-- even the peppercorns which in our house are mandatory at the table!  When ordering be sure and click on the links on my blog (including the button on the sidebar) as I am an affiliate with them.

Again, to enter the giveaway, click here.  The more you share, the more entries you get!  It ends tonight (Sunday) at midnight, so hurry!

Friday, July 6, 2012

"My Sister's Married!"

My sisters and I always thought about that phrase, when it would happen, what it would be like.  We didn't realize what it'd be like-- how amazing, exciting and bitter-sweet it would be-- until it really happened... Two months ago, my sister Christina was married to Mr. Stephen Knotts of North Carolina-- the state in which they now make their home.  It happened rather quickly, which seems to be a characteristic of God's working!

   My state of mind after they drove off with cans flying behind, was pure unbelief-- but not to say I was unhappy.  It was the most exquisite and God-centered wedding I've ever been to!  Their first kiss was a sight to behold.:-)  Knowing that my oldest sister has waited 25 years, saving herself for that Man who would be her husband, and serving the Lord faithfully in her single years, it was a joy and privilege to celebrate with her on her wedding day, and to see her off to her new home... although the distance between us is now more than a thousand miles, which is not so worthy of celebrating.:-)

Stephen emailed Christy in late October of last year, and with permission from Daddy, they began corresponding through that medium to see if this was God's will for them.  They soon found that they had many things in common, and most importantly, their beliefs lined up almost perfectly.  In early March Stephen drove down for a visit, and we were immediately struck by his great sense of humor!  We spent nearly every night staying up late talking, playing cards, or jamming (he plays banjo.)  We all love the fact that Stephen is a firm believer and strong in his principles.  This is something Christy especially was attracted to... he isn't afraid to own up to what he believes in!
   Well, the rest is history.:-)  Christy tells a beautiful story of their courtship at her blog.  On April 28, 2012, the couple was united in marriage under the huge pecan trees on our property.  After eating their cake and having some punch, they said their goodbyes and headed for North Carolina, where they now make their home in the countryside of Troutman.

Having a sister married has changed my position in the household to the 'oldest at home'.  Yet because Christy had already been working/volunteering while still living at home, those days gave me plenty of practice to be more involved than usual.  Now that she has her own home and has more opportunity to practice organizing, budgeting, and smoothly running a household, it makes me think of how much I need to be open to learning while living with my family.  Here, I have everything at my fingertips and have not the urgency of running my own home, in order to become more knowledgeable on different skills.  It's both exciting and overwhelming, because I want to do so many things, and yet don't know where to start!  That is why God's will is so important to know.  Time and again I find myself praying for God's will to be shown to me.  With all the world has to offer-- and plenty of temptations there are-- I cannot allow myself to be 'tossed to and fro' running after every opportunity!  

All that to say, having a sister married is grand!  We look forward to visiting the new couple this summer, Lord-willing, while singing and playing along the way.  Meantime, we enjoy skyping (a new term in the household... ;), phoning, emailing, and yes, facebooking!  I pray the Lord blesses Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Knotts abundantly!

In Christ Alone,
Melody Michelle

Thursday, May 17, 2012

It's Not That Complicated Book Giveaway at Shining Stars

At the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival earlier this year, I was able to briefly meet Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin and thumb through their new book, It's (Not That) Complicated.  I was amazed, as I read bits of it, how the things the two sisters learned about boy-girl relationships, and what my sisters and I learned in the past few years, is so similar!  Thank you, God, for confirming to us what You have taught us, and providing us with wise words from fellow sisters to help us learn more.

Here is the description of their book from the website:

"Ever been confused about friendships with boys?  How to handle crushes?  How friendly is too friendly?  How close is too close?  What to do when a guy is being way too friendly?  What guys think about all this?  What it means to be a "sister, in all purity"?  Guy-girl relationships have always been complicated, but perhaps never more so than today.  It's (Not That) Complicated is a humorous, hopeful, and deeply thought-provoking new look at guy-girl relationships in our times.  Dealing practically with such complications as online interaction, Hollywood expectations, undefined relationships, and unrequited love, the Botkin sisters offer enduring biblical principles that can make it all much simpler."

From what little I read, I am excited to read this book soon!  Because even though my sisters and I have learned some things, there is a whole lot more that can be said on the subject. :-)

There is a giveaway of this book at Shining Stars Magazine Blog, so go over and enter!  The giveaway ends May 22.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award!

Thank you to Rebecca of Country Mouse Musings for this award!  Being fairly new to the blogging 'world', I was excited to receive my first one.:-)

First of all, I would like to nominate five fellow bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.  I nominated these because they offer a Godly perspective on a wide variety of subjects.  Visit their blogs and follow them!

 Congratulations to...
And according to the rules...

Seven Random Things about Myself: 

1. I am older than I look.

2. God is my Lord, who saved me from the wrath to come by His Son Jesus Christ.  He is my All in All!

3. I am interested in all things French- history, language, but especially missions...

4. My favorite reading genre is adventure, but I also love historical fiction and true stories.

5. I miss having goats (we sold them a few years ago) and hope to get my own little herd going soon.

6. I breed and sell New Zealand White rabbits.  Baby rabbits are so cute!

7. I'm shy at first, but love making new friends and fellowshipping in the Lord!

Thanks again, Rebecca!
Have a great weekend,

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Food and Drink for the Soul

"Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah."
Psalm 4:4

This past year, I have really learned how having a Quiet Time with the Lord and soaking in His Living Word is vital to one's spiritual growth and well-being.
   I didn't realize that what I took for granted was what kept me going each day, what gave me inspiration and strength to do and be what God wants me to. As I slacked off having a regular quiet time, letting it slide as I silently made the excuse that "I talk to Him throughout the day; I don't need a set-apart time", doubts formed in my mind and before I realized it, I was bewildered and confused as to any sort of direction from God. I felt depressed, not at all excited about what each new day might bring forth, and eventually began to doubt that I was even saved. It's amazing what a little thing can lead to... what I didn't know then is that, once I stopped the life-support of the Lord's Love Letter to me, Satan was able to plant small lies in my mind which I was not able to repel thoroughly (2 Cor. 10:5)-- even though I did know some verses and chapters by heart. Since I did not have a time to be alone with God, to get to know Him and become silent before Him (Zech. 2:13, Ps. 46:10), the world and it's temptations slowly seeped their way into my life and made me miserable.
    When something like this happens, we as Christians are unable to be a Light to the world as we should be, to tell the world of the Good News-- God's salvation to every one that believes (Rom. 1:16). This, our greatest duty, is hindered when we allow something to bring us down and out of the Joy of the Lord. He wants us to bear the great news and if we don't feed our spirit with His Word and drink in His Living Water which is His presence, we won't be of much use to Him! Once we stop and take the time to be with Him, everything takes on a different hue. It's not about us anymore. Someone is there to take away the burdens of the day, the week, the year-- and use them to His glorification. He gives us peace and wisdom to overcome and live a liberated life with Him as our guide-- free to share with those who ask about the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15), which hope wouldn't be there unless we have a living, breathing relationship with Christ!
   I am already experiencing the joy of being alone with God for even a few minutes at a time each day, and after so long of putting it off and not making it a priority, it is a breath of fresh air-- a great thirst quenched that only God can quench. I thank Him for this lesson, and pray that He continues to teach me how to be more like Him, and to be bold in saving lost souls-- for that is the most important duty of all.