Author Archives: Scott Aniol

Confidence in Psalm 130

Confidence in Psalm 130

This entry is part 9 of 9 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Psalm 130 expresses hope amidst desperation through what it says, but it also expresses confidence in God’s faithfulness through what it does poetically as well. The psalmist expresses a progression from repentant desperation to this hope and confidence in God’s mercy beautifully in the specific words that he chooses in this song. A good song writer doesn’t… Continue Reading

Bible Narratives Devotional, Week 3: Lot

Bible Narratives Devotional, Week 3: Lot

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Bible Narratives Devotional You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Week 3: Lot Weekly memory verse: Psalm 8:1 – “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.” Weekly hymn: Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above (free download) Weekly catechism: How did God make you and all things? God made all things… Continue Reading

Hope in Psalm 130

Hope in Psalm 130

This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In our study of Psalm 130, we have seen that the psalmist uses various poetic devices like metaphor and repetition to create a picture of what true repentance should feel like–desperate need for forgiveness from sin. This is the primary function of stanza 1 (vss. 1-2) and 3 (vss.5-6) of this song of repentance. But… Continue Reading

Bible Narratives Devotional, Week 2: Abraham and Isaac

Bible Narratives Devotional, Week 2: Abraham and Isaac

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Bible Narratives Devotional You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Week 2: Abraham and Isaac Weekly memory verse: Genesis 12:2 – “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” Weekly hymn: “The God of Abraham Praise” (free download) Weekly catechism: Why did God make you and all… Continue Reading

Attempt Small Things for God

Attempt Small Things for God

Ken Casillas address a much-needed issue: But what do we have in mind when we speak of “great things”? Do we mean dramatic, attention-getting things, large numbers responding to our ministry, or achievements that will be remembered with our names attached to them decades or centuries after we die? It does not appear that the… Continue Reading

Twelfth Hymn of Christmas: Behold, the Great Creator

Twelfth Hymn of Christmas: Behold, the Great Creator

This entry is part 12 of 12 in the series 12 Hymns of Christmas You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

“Behold, the Great Creator,” written by Thomas Pestel in 1539, juxtaposes the mystery of the Creator of all who made himself “a house of clay.” The tune, THIS ENDRIS NYGHT, is a beautiful English carol from the 15th century. Behold, the great Creator makes Himself a house of clay, a robe of virgin flesh He takes… Continue Reading

Eleventh Hymn of Christmas: Christians, Awake!

Eleventh Hymn of Christmas: Christians, Awake!

This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series 12 Hymns of Christmas You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

A lesser known Christmas hymn, “Christians, Awake!” retells the Luke 2 story in a powerful and vivid way. Medical doctor John Byrom wrote this text in 1749 simply as a devotional poem. The tune, YORKSHIRE, by John Wainwright, perfectly captures the exuberance of the text and the subject matter. Christians, awake! Salute the happy morn… Continue Reading

Tenth Hymn of Christmas: See Amid the Winter’s Snow

Tenth Hymn of Christmas: See Amid the Winter’s Snow

This entry is part 10 of 12 in the series 12 Hymns of Christmas You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Like Rosetti’s “In the Bleak Midwinter,” Edward Caswall metaphorically connects the cold of winter to the condition of the earth at Jesus’s birth. He wrote “See Amid the Winter’s Snow” in 1858, a retelling of Luke 2 with some powerfully imagery like “Lo, within a manger lies He who built the starry skies.” See, amid… Continue Reading

New Hymn Obbligatos Available

New Hymn Obbligatos Available

Thanks to John Francis, we now have some obbligatos in Bb available, with more coming soon. Currently, we have the following available: Holy God, We Praise Your Name Holy, Holy, Holy Holy Trinity, Praise and Thanks to Thee Jesus, Still Lead On Morning and Evening Prayer Continue Reading

Ninth Hymn of Christmas: All My Heart This Night Rejoices

Ninth Hymn of Christmas: All My Heart This Night Rejoices

This entry is part 9 of 12 in the series 12 Hymns of Christmas You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Written by German pastor Johann Gerhardt in 1653 and translated into English in 1858 by Catherine Winkworth, “All My Heart This Night Rejoices” explores the great value of the incarnation. Most poignantly, “He becomes the Lamb that taken sin away and for aye full atonement maketh.” All my heart this night rejoices as I hear… Continue Reading

Eighth Hymn of Christmas: In the Bleak Midwinter

Eighth Hymn of Christmas: In the Bleak Midwinter

This entry is part 8 of 12 in the series 12 Hymns of Christmas You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In “In the Bleak Midwinter,” Christina Rosetti poetically pictures the cold, dark, hard condition of the earth when Jesus came to save us. This recognition should cause us to give ourselves–all that we have–to him. The tune, CRANHAM, comes from English composer Gustav Host in 1906. In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, earth… Continue Reading

Bible Narratives Family Devotional Aids

Bible Narratives Family Devotional Aids

Starting today, I will be posting each week devotional aids to help families use the Bible Narratives Reading Plan. I will include a memory verse, hymn of the week, catechism of the week, notes on each passage, discussion questions, and a summary. See here for more information and archives each week. Continue Reading

Bible Narratives Devotional, Week 1: Creation and Fall

Bible Narratives Devotional, Week 1: Creation and Fall

This entry is part of 3 in the series Bible Narratives Devotional You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Week 1: Creation and Fall Weekly memory verse: Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Weekly hymn: “All Creatures of Our God and King” (free download) Weekly catechism: Who made you? God made me. What else did God make? God made all things. Day 1: Creation Reading: Genesis 1:1-2:4… Continue Reading

Seventh Hymn of Christmas: From Heaven Above to Earth I Come

Seventh Hymn of Christmas: From Heaven Above to Earth I Come

This entry is part 7 of 12 in the series 12 Hymns of Christmas You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

“From Heaven Above to Earth I Come” was one of Martin Luther’s first hymns, penned in 1535 and translated into English by Catherine Winkworth in 1855. Luther modeled the first stanza after a well-known German folksong, and wrote the text originally for his family’s Christmas devotions. He originally used the folk tune with the text,… Continue Reading

Sixth Hymn of Christmas: Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

Sixth Hymn of Christmas: Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

This entry is part 6 of 12 in the series 12 Hymns of Christmas You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Staying with the theme of German carols, “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” comes from the fifteenth century and was translated by a couple different people into English in 1894, 1875, and 1914. The hymn develops Isaiah’s prophesy concerning the “rose” from the “stem of Jesse ” (Isa. 11:1; 35:1-2). The tune is a traditional German… Continue Reading

Fifth Hymn of Christmas: How Bright Appears the Morning Star

Fifth Hymn of Christmas: How Bright Appears the Morning Star

This entry is part 5 of 12 in the series 12 Hymns of Christmas You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Known as the “Queen of the Chorales,” this Lutheran hymn by Philpp Nicolai was written in 1599. Unusual for this time period, Nicolai also composed the tune, WIE SCHÖN LEUCHTET. As is often true of German chorales, “How Bright Appears the Morning Star” masterfully combined rich incarnation theology with devotional warmth, as the singer cries, “Jesus,… Continue Reading

Special Thank You to Donors

Special Thank You to Donors

Religious Affections Ministries operates entirely based upon donations and modest sales from the books we publish. In particular, the entire hymnal project was funded through generous donations. No one takes a salary here; all donations are put toward web site and publishing costs. We would like to take this opportunity to express deep gratitude to… Continue Reading

Fourth Hymn of Christmas: Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light

Fourth Hymn of Christmas: Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light

This entry is part 4 of 12 in the series 12 Hymns of Christmas You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The German Lutheran tradition has a rich heritage of Christmas hymns. “Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light” comes from Lutheran pastor, Johann Rist in 1641. He originally wrote a 12-stanza poem on the incarnation that was later paraphrased and adapted as a hymn. It recalls the brilliant light at then heralding of the angels and… Continue Reading