Once it was the blessing

1
Once it was the blessing,
  Now it is the Lord;
Once it was the feeling,
  Now it is His Word;
Once His gift I wanted,
  Now, the Giver own;
Once I sought for healing,
  Now Himself alone.
  All in all forever,
  Only Christ I’ll sing;
Everything is in Christ,
    And Christ is everything.
2
Once ’twas painful trying,
  Now ’tis perfect trust;
Once a half salvation,
  Now the uttermost;
Once ’twas ceaseless holding,
  Now He holds me fast;
Once ’twas constant drifting,
  Now my anchor’s cast.
3
Once ’twas busy planning,
  Now ’tis trustful prayer;
Once ’twas anxious caring,
  Now He has the care;
Once ’twas what I wanted,
  Now what Jesus says;
Once ’twas constant asking,
  Now ’tis ceaseless praise.
4
Once it was my working,
  His it hence shall be;
Once I tried to use Him,
  Now He uses me;
Once the pow’r I wanted,
  Now the Mighty One;
Once for self I labored,
  Now for Him alone.
5
Once I hoped in Jesus,
  Now I know He’s mine;
Once my lamps were dying,
  Now they brightly shine;
Once for death I waited,
  Now His coming hail;
And my hopes are anchored
  Safe within the veil.
8
Anonymous

Malabon, NCR, Philippines

Thank You Lord Jesus, everything was a "once" but the "now" says it all. Praise the Lord!


Gabby Gagno

Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines

Once it was my working,

His it hence shall be;

Once I tried to use Him,

Now He uses me;

Once the pow’r I wanted,

Now the Mighty One;

Once for self I labored,

Now for Him alone.

O Lord Jesus! this hymn really exposed me! Lord continually shatter me! O continue to break my soulish humanity and continue to dispense more of Your divine nature to my Spirit! O use me Lord! Make Your will also my will! I just want You Lord! O I love You Lord Jesus!


Donald

Layton, Utah, United States

Thank you for the testimony of this heartfelt and peaceful work. It helps the spirit of God lift me beyond the trials of this world. I hope it blesses others like it has me.


Rosita Enriquez

United States

Once I wanted this and that, now just Your dear smiling face.


Don Trippeer

Greenville, NC, United States

After 60 years with the Lord the truth is fresh a s it ever was. What a WONDERFUL, LOVING, GRACIOUS, LORD we serve.


Karen Tan Lay Yin

Malaysia

"Once it was painful trying

Now it is perfect trust"

"Once it was busy planning

Now it is trustful prayer"

"Once it was anxious caring

Now He has the care!"

Thank You Jesus! For quiet and peaceful rest, for pure contentment and for the joy in my heart, I give thanks to Thee, my Lord and Saviour!

What a wonder it is that I can lean on Thee, my heavenly Father God. My soul rejoices and my spirit is light. My hearts sings praises to Thee! I shall rest in the Lord. Alleluia!


Alicia

Bath, United Kingdom

There are many 'onces' and 'nows' in this hymn. Those 'onces' are not necessary bad things, but they are surely something in our life that becomes substitute for Christ. Thanks the Lord for His mercy to show Himself to us in our journey again and again. Like Paul, we also need such conversions to turn from everything that is not Christ to Christ Himself. :)


Samuel Lee

Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

This song portrays a man being shattered and molded and conforming to the image of Christ. God is mighty to save and mighty to transform a heart of stone into a heart of flesh. May my life be pleasing to Him.

We no longer need to follow the detour today, for the Lord has opened the way to the tree of life. However, the condition of most Christians is that they are still in the detour. If we do not have a revelation of the tree of life, we will exhort people saying, "Brother, you need to be watchful. Sister, you should be subject to your husband. We must deal with the flesh, accept the breaking, and accept the cross. We need to be like Madame Guyon." Such exhortations are in the detour of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Even Madame Guyon was in this detour. She pursued the Lord and was built up, but eventually God still had to strip everything away. When she was stripped by God, she could say, "I am as nothing, and rejoice to be / Emptied, and lost, and swallow'd up in Thee" (Hymns, #546). There is no need for a redundant step. It is better to not build than to build up and then tear down. God stripped her of everything and left only Himself. Therefore, she said that she was lost in Him. However, these words do not hit the mark. Man is not lost in God but mingled with God. By God's mercy Madame Guyon touched this reality, but she did not have sufficient light and did not know the confirming word in the Scriptures.

A person who takes the detour must eventually come out. The detour is about doing things. The Lord has enlightened us to see that we do not need to take this detour. The Lord said, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall by no means hunger, and he who believes into Me shall by no means ever thirst" (John 6:35). He also said, "He who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing" (15:5). These verses reveal that there is no need to stay in the detour. We need only to eat and drink the Lord: "He who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me" (6:57). How I wish I could repeat these verses until every believer sees that man needs nothing but to eat and enjoy the Lord. A. B. Simpson said that everything is in Christ and that Christ is everything (Hymns, #513). Healing is Christ, power is Christ, and patience is Christ; everything is Christ. But his words did not yet hit the mark and are not very clear. No one has ever told people, "God needs man to eat Him; man needs to eat God." Only this word hits the mark and is clear.

In these last days we believe that the Lord will gain a people who are free from forms, teachings, and gifts. In one of His hymns A. B. Simpson testifies, "Once His gift I wanted, / Now, the Giver own; / Once I sought for healing, / Now Himself alone," and, "Once the pow'r I wanted, / Now the Mighty One" (Hymns, #513). The living Christ is not in forms, teachings, or gifts; He is in our spirit, dwelling there quietly. We need to deal with Him in our spirit continually, taking care of Him in our family life, our job, our studies, and our shopping, and experiencing Him in all our daily affairs. In this way we will keep ourselves constantly on the cross and become a person whose self, natural life, old man, soul, and soulish nature are on the cross. We will not give up the cross or come down from it but will remain there, learning to exercise our spirit to contact the Lord Jesus, who is the Spirit dwelling in our spirit. As we contact and experience Christ, we will realize that within us there is a bountiful supply sufficient for every circumstance (Phil. 1:19). We will be able to declare as the apostle Paul did, "I am able to do all things in Him who empowers me" (4:13). The source of power within us, the bountiful supply, is the living Christ in our spirit.

Christ has gained us not that we may gain gifts, but that we may gain Him. In one of his best hymns, A. B. Simpson says:

Once it was the blessing,

Now it is the Lord...

Once His gift I wanted,

Now, the Giver own;

Once I sought for healing,

Now Himself alone.

(Hymns, #513)

As this hymn indicates, the governing principle of the Christian life is not gifts or healing—it is Christ Himself. Realizing this, A. B. Simpson also put out a tract on this theme entitled "Himself."

I appreciate Hymns, #513, written by A. B. Simpson, the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Stanza 1 says, "Once His gift I wanted,/Now, the Giver own;/Once I sought for healing,/Now Himself alone." The Healer is different from the healing. We may have healing, but we may not have the Healer. As long as we have the Healer, we have everything. Likewise, to have the gift is superficial, but to have the Giver is something deep and solid. As long as we have the Giver, we do not need to worry about the gift, just as when Rebecca came to Isaac, she inherited everything that he inherited. We need to realize that we build up the believers and the church not by anything other than the Triune God Himself.

John 4:14 says, "But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall by no means thirst forever; but the water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water gushing up into eternal life." How precious is this word! It does not speak of a special kind of Christian. It does not say that only those who have received special grace from the Lord can have a spring of water gushing up into eternal life. The Lord said this to a Samaritan woman whom He previously had never met. He said that if she believed, she would receive living water. This living water would be in her a spring that gushes up into eternal life. Brothers and sisters, what is the meaning of being thirsty? When one is thirsty, it means that he is not satisfied. Those who drink of the water that the Lord gives will never thirst again. Thank and praise the Lord! A Christian is not only a contented person but a person who is forever satisfied! It is not enough for a Christian to merely be contented. Everything that God gives to us makes us eternally satisfied. But how many times have we crossed the main streets without feeling thirsty? When we pass by the great department stores, are we thirsty? If we crave for this or that, is this not being thirsty? Are we thirsty when we consider our classmates or colleagues and envy their possessions? Yet the Lord said, "Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall by no means thirst forever; but the water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water gushing up into eternal life." What He gives to us is one kind of life, yet we experience something else. The Lord says that He is all we need, but we say that He is not enough. We need this and that before we can be satisfied, but He said that He alone is enough. Is what we received from the Lord wrong or is our experience wrong? One of the two must be wrong. The Lord cannot possibly write us a bad check. Whatever He promises, He will surely give. Our experience in the past was, in the words of one hymn, "a half salvation" (Hymns, #513, stanza 2). Why does the Lord say that a believer will not be thirsty again? This is because he has become different inside. Within him, there are new demands and new satisfactions. Brothers and sisters, are we living before God and serving Him in holiness and righteousness all our days? Are we living before God every day in holiness and righteousness, as the priest Zachariah spoke of in Luke 1:75? Do we have something within that gushes forth all the time to quench others' thirst? The Chinese have an expression, wu-wei, which means "to do nothing." Christians have to be those who are asking for nothing. We can say that the Lord is enough for us. Are we satisfied with just the Lord? Are we really satisfied with the Lord Jesus alone? If we are not satisfied, it means that there is something wrong with our living.

Christ has gained us not that we may gain gifts, but that we may gain Him. In one of his best hymns, A. B. Simpson says:

Once it was the blessing,

Now it is the Lord...

Once His gift I wanted,

Now, the Giver own;

Once I sought for healing,

Now Himself alone.

(Hymns, #513)

As this hymn indicates, the governing principle of the Christian life is not gifts or healing—it is Christ Himself. Realizing this, A. B. Simpson also put out a tract on this theme entitled "Himself."