Sunday, August 23, 2015

Bi-Weekly Hymn Spotlight: A Mighty Fortress is Our God--"Battle Hymn of the Reformation"

To learn more about Bi-weekly hymn spotlights, click HERE


“I cannot choose but adhere to the Word of God, which has possession of my conscience; nor can I possibly, nor will I even make any recantation, since it is neither safe nor honest to act contrary to conscience! Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God! Amen.” 
― Martin Luther



A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.



Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.



And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.



That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

--Martin Luther (words and music 1529)



Brief Synopsis:

Known as the "Battle Hymn of the Reformation," A Mighty Fortress is Our God has been a balm of comfort and a confidence-in-our God-inspiring melody for countless believers suffering hardship, difficulty, persecution, and temptation over decades. 

Written by Martin Luther in the 1500s, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" was based on Psalm 46. It delivers a powerful message of courage in and through our great God and strength to stand in Him against the wiles of the devil. 

Luther was by no means a perfect man, but he was a man who trusted in the Lord with his life, a man who turned from the the joyless journey of extreme ascetic Roman Catholicism to embrace the living Savior. A man who was illuminated by the Holy Spirit, a man who realized that he would never be saved through the "works of the law," but rather through faith in Christ. 

He was a man who faced extreme persecution, who feared for his life, who narrowly escaped death as a Christian martyr, who stood on the Word of God, going against the grain of the culture in which he lived and speaking against the unscriptural assertions in his day at the risk of losing his life. 

Luther struggled with depression and with Satanic attacks, both mentally and physically, to the point of extreme exhaustion and distress. And yet, by the grace of God, he stood on the Promises. It is no wonder that "A Mighty Fortress" has been used by the Lord so greatly in the lives of believers to strengthen them in times of trial; Luther's own words ring true --"The pen is mightier than the sword," and so it has proven with this precious hymn.  


How is this hymn meaningful to believers, past and present?

I remember as a little girl, hearing this hymn sung by Steve Green on a cassette tape. Even then, it had a powerful effect upon me, though I did not at that time understand the deep significance and implications of the hymn, nor the extent of the persecution that Luther faced on a daily basis. 

But I remember my mom playing this song loudly in our home, and it would overwhelm me with the majesty and power of God, even at that young age. 

We live in perilous times. Our freedoms are slowly being stripped away. The noose of persecution tightens, ever so slightly, day by passing day. We have a choice. We may either run and hide, choose to ignore the chaos around us (for as long as we can), or we can stand on the unchanging Word of God. We can yield to the pressures of this world, and cave beneath the deluge of Satan's lies, or we can stand -- in the evil day, stand. Holding the promises dear to our hearts, teaching our children to be strong in Him, training them to hide His Word in their hearts. Speaking while we may still yet speak. Trusting Him all the while and being willing to suffer persecution and be identified with Him. Counting the cost, because the way of life is costly. What will we choose?   

Our enemy is already defeated; our God is strong within us. May we not be afraid of those who can kill the body but not the soul, and may we stand in Him -- our Mighty Fortress. 

Steve Green--"A Mighty Fortress is Our God"







    http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1501-1600/a-mighty-fortress-       is-our-god-11629923.html

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/131christians/theologians/luther.html?start=1


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38 comments:

  1. Beautiful hymn! I plan to use it in my home school this year. I didn't understand the meaning of the words and phrases until I was too old. I want to help my younger children pour the beautiful truths of this meaty hymn into their hearts sooner.

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    1. Yes; it is such a beautiful hymn . . . so much truth! May the Lord bless you as you teach it to your children; have a blessed week!

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  2. Love this. Tweeted it. Would you please link this post to Sunday Stillness? Great to meet you. I found you at Proverbs 31 Wife. http://www.janiscox.com/sunday-stillness-what-is-prayer-link/
    Blessings,
    Janis

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    1. Thank you, Janis! I would love to link it up there; may the Lord bless you!

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  3. So much here! Love it! What a Battle Hymn! Didn't realize all of Luther's persecution, but yet his pursuit for the fullness of Christ never failed. Love the line, "And yet, by the grace of God, he stood on the Promises." Thanks for sharing at UNITE Linky this week! ~ Jen @ www.richfaithrising.com

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    1. Yes; it is such a wonderful hymn! Blessings to you, Jen.

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  4. I love this hymn, and, thanks to this post, I will probably be humming it all day! To me, Luther's part in the reformation challenges me to be continually reforming.

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    1. Yes; truly, it does! Blessings to you, Michele, through our precious Lord.

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  5. Steve Green cassette tapes- oh yes, I was there too! What a great hymn and I loved reading more of the background here.

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    1. Melody, I'm glad that you enjoyed it; blessings to you! :-)

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  6. What a beautiful post written about a beautiful hymn! Thank you so much for sharing at the RaRa Link Up.

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    1. You're welcome, Jennifer; the Lord bless you! :-)

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  7. Beautiful hymn and lovely post, Rebekah! What a joy to visit with you this morning! Peace and many blessings to you, Love! :-)

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    1. Thanks, Tai! Blessings to you, also! :-)

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  8. I love this hymn. And I love hearing my husband play it on the organ. So triumphant! His kingdom is forever!

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    1. Pamela, it truly is triumphant--that is such a good word to describe it! May the Lord bless you!

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  9. Rebekah, as a Lutheran, I really appreciated your post. One of my fave hymns.

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    1. Tara, I'm glad that you enjoyed it; thanks for stopping by!

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  10. Thanks so much for sharing about such a wonderful hymn. I just love hymns.

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    1. You're welcome, Judith; I do, too! They are truly a gift from the Lord. God bless you!

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  11. Love this hymn! Thanks for sharing all about it with us. :)

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    1. You're welcome, Kelsey; God bless you!

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    1. You're welcome, Lisa; have a blessed week. :-)

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  13. This is one of my favorite hymns :). Thank you for sharing the history of it and of Luther.

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    1. You're welcome; it is such a beautiful hymn. I am so glad to have the opportunity to share it. God bless you!

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  14. Powerful song, words that cut to the marrow.

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    1. Yes; truly, they do! Have a blessed week!

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  15. This hymn, especially the last stanza, gives me goosebumps. "Let good and kindred go; this mortal life also. The body they may kill: God's truth abideth still. HIS KINGDOM IS FOREVER!" Victory is sure! Praise be to Him! I'm enjoying these hymn spotlights you're doing. A blessed day to you, Rebekah!

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  16. Yes; truly it is sure! You are right; it is such a powerful hymn; praise God! Blessings to you, also, Heather! :-)

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  17. I learned to appreciate the hymns back in 1995 when I was the youngest person (high school senior) on a trip to Israel with my church. That's also when I learned to love the older generation. I have come to love these hymns within the past 2 years. They are chock full of Truth, passion for Almighty God and unwavering faith. I continue to learn more and more of them and their stories. I am going to have to learn this one too! Thanks for sharing this post on Fellowship Friday - where I linked up also (22 & 23). Have a great weekend!

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    1. Cynthia, yes; the hymns are so rich! They are truly such an indescribable blessing to us.

      The Lord bless you; have a wonderful weekend!

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  18. A very strong and powerful hymn from someone who was not afraid or in denial re the battles and problems of this life. Wonderful imagery. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. You're welcome, Achama; God bless you! :-)

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  19. This is a fabulous hymn and being brought up Lutheran we have sung it a lot. Martin Luther was one of the great reformers and unfortunately we are only now learning about the others. We will definitely fill the gap in our children's education about this. Thank you so much for sharing this Hymn spotlight with us at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings to you and yours.

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    1. You're welcome, Terri; it is a great hymn of the faith. The Lord bless you and your family! :-)

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  20. This was so beautiful. I love hymns and I have to admit, every time I hear or sing a hymn... I cry! It reminds me so much of my deceased grandmother - she always sang hymns.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely evening.
    xoxo

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    1. Jennifer, that is such a beautiful testimony to your grandmother's faith; what a blessing she must have been!

      Have a blessed week; I'm glad that you stopped by! :-)

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