I’ve talked about heaven in several other posts on this blog. One of the major occupations in heaven is a continuous praise and worship service directly in the presence of the King of kings, Jesus. But I also know that I do not have to wait for heaven to start the practice of living a life of praise.

Praise and thanks to the Lord is important firstly because God is absolutely deserving of my praises. He is the Creator; I am the creation, and I owe Him all of my allegiance and love. Amazingly enough, when I learn to focus my life on praise to the Lord, I find that He gives back to me. Focusing myself on praising God takes the spotlight off of myself and my problems and concerns, and directs it to the One who is totally able to manage them. God will take the praise I offer Him, and cause joy and peace to well up within me, regardless of what circumstances I am in. Learning to praise the Lord in the bad times as well as in the good not only fulfills my mandate to love the Lord my God with all of my heart, soul and strength, but it also gives me the ability to stand up under any pressure.

The importance of praise is mentioned in many places in the Bible (Psalm 103:1-5, Psalm 111:1-4, Psalm 146:1-2, just to name a few). It is a command that sometimes makes no sense; why should I praise Him when I’ve just had a rotten day? When I’ve just had a car accident? When I’ve been told that my job has been terminated? That seems just crazy, to praise God when those bad things happen! And yet, when I take the time to “praise the Lord anyway”, it results in giving me the ability to take that trek in the desert and to make it out the other side.

Jesus music took many forms in its early days, and the concept of praise was not lost on those who performed it. One of the things they did at times was to take an old church favorite and do it in a new way. In 1979, Maranatha! Music released a sampler album called Maranatha! Current, which featured a version of the song Fairest Lord Jesus that was performed by Erick Nelson. And in 1986, the 2nd Chapter of Acts did the same on their Hymns album. I’ve included both versions here because they are different, and are both in their own way beautiful.[1] So here enjoy two different interpretations of a song that focuses praise on the person of Jesus Christ.

(Erick Nelson’s version)

Beautiful Savior, King of creation
Son of God, and Son of man
Truly I love Thee, truly I’ll serve Thee
Light of my soul, my Joy, my Crown

Fair is the sunshine, fair is the moonlight
Bright the sparkling stars on high
But Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer
Than all the angels in the sky.

And Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer
Than all the angels in the sky.
Than all the angels in the sky.

 

(2nd Chapter Of Acts version)

Fairest Lord Jesus, ruler of all nature
O Thou of God and man the Son
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor
Thou my soul’s glory, joy and crown

Fair are the meadows, fairer still the moon lands
Robed in the blooming garb of spring
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer
Who makes the woeful heart to sing

Fair is the sunshine, fairer still the moonlight
And all the twinkling starry host
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heaven can boast

Beautiful Savior! Lord of the nations!
Son of God and Son of man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration
Now and forever more be Thine

 

  1. Why are they different? Because the original song was written by German Jesuits and published in 1677, and later translated into English. And as with all translations, they are sometimes updated as the language changes. For more information about this song, see this entry in the Cyberhymnal. []

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