October 1, 2023 - Steps Toward Him


Conductors: Mack Wilberg
Organist: Brian Mathias
Announcer: Lloyd D. Newell

“Press Forward, Saints”1
Music: Vanja Y. Watkins
Lyrics: Marvin K. Gardner
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Awake and Arise, All Ye Children of Light”
Music: Welsh melody
Lyrics: David Warner
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Because of Him”
Music: Traditional hymn tune
Lyrics: David Warner
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Jesus Loves Me” (organ solo)
Music: William B. Bradbury
Arrangement: Brian Mathias

“Dearest Children, God Is near You”
Music: John Menzies Macfarlane
Lyrics: Charles L. Walker
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee”
Music: John B. Dykes
Lyrics: attr. Bernard of Clairvaux; trans. Edward Caswall
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Let Us All Press On”1
Music and Lyrics: Evan Stephens
Arrangement: Richard Elliott

  1. From the album Let Us All Press On.

The Spoken Word

Steps Toward Him

October 1, 2023
By Lloyd D. Newell

Every so often, life gives us little moments that help us understand some of the meaning behind the words “Dearest children, God is near you.”1 A toddler lets go of your finger and takes her first few steps on her own. Years later, you watch with some pride but also some concern as she walks through the doors on her first day of school—and every day thereafter. And then, finally, those feelings return as she heads out to establish her own home and start the process over again with her own family. With each step, she grows more independent and strong. Yet she forever remains your beloved child.

That must be a little like the way our Heavenly Father feels about us. He knew that we needed to leave His presence for a time to learn and grow through our own choices, our own experiences. And yet He’s never really that far away. We may need the experience of stumbling on unsteady feet, of stretching our minds with challenging information, or of having our hearts broken through difficult challenges. But we also need to know that through it all we remain His beloved children—that He is near us and we don’t face any of those challenges alone. He can lift us to our feet again. He can shine the light of truth on our confusion. And He can heal our wounded heart.

Of course, we cannot expect our Father in Heaven to make our problems disappear. Without friction, there is no forward motion. Without resistance, we build no strength. But because we know that God is our Father, we also know that He isn’t trying to trick us or trap us or trip us up. He wants us to be happy; He wants us to succeed.

He so loved us that He gave us a Savior.2 In a world of discouragement, of doubt and discord, He gave us commandments to love Him and one another.3 Our steps may be unsteady at times, but if they are steps toward Him, the journey can be sweet and the destination glorious.

In the words of a beloved hymn:

Jesus, the very thought of thee
With sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far thy face to see
And in thy presence rest.4

  1. “Dearest Children, God Is Near You,” Hymns , no. 96.
  2. See John 3:16.
  3. See Matthew 22:37–39.
  4. “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee,” Hymns , no. 141.