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Tuesday, Jul. 22, 2014 — RUSSELL SPRINGS & JAMESTOWN, KENTUCKY — russellcounty.net
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In My Opinion ... by Ron Phillips
In May 21 Issue

"Take My Hand, Precious Lord".

I received an e-mail from a friend that tells the story as to how the wonderful song "Precious Lord" came to be. The e-mail said that the famous band leader Tommy Dorsey wrote these inspiring words, but in reality it was Thomas Andrew Dorsey, a blues band leader and gospel song writer. He also wrote "Peace in the Valley" in 1937 for Mahalia Jackson which we all know has been song by a number of great artists including Elvis Presley. The message I received went like this…

Back in 1932, I was a fairly new husband. My wife, Nettie, and I were living in a little apartment on Chicago's south side. One hot August afternoon I had to go to St. Louis where I was to be the featured soloist at a large revival meeting.  I didn't want to go; Nettie was in the last month of pregnancy with our first child, but a lot of people were expecting me in St. Louis. I kissed Nettie goodbye, clattered downstairs to our Model A and, in a fresh Lake Michigan breeze, chugged out of Chicago on Route 66. However, outside the city, I discovered that in my anxiety at leaving, I had forgotten my music case.  I wheeled around and headed back. I found Nettie sleeping peacefully. I hesitated by her bed; something was strongly telling me to stay, but eager to get on my way, and not wanting to disturb Nettie, I shrugged off the feeling and quietly slipped out of the room with my music. The next night, in the steaming St. Louis heat, the crowd called on me to sing again and again.  When I finally sat down, a messenger boy ran up with a Western Union telegram. I ripped open the envelope. Pasted on the yellow sheet were the words:

YOUR WIFE JUST DIED. People were happily singing and clapping around me, but I could hardly keep from crying out. I rushed to a phone and called home. All I could hear on the other end was "Nettie is dead.  Nettie is dead.'" When I got back, I learned that Nettie had given birth to a boy. I swung between grief and joy.  Yet that same night, the baby died. I buried Nettie and our little boy together, in the same casket.  Then I fell apart. For days I closeted myself.  I felt that God had done me an injustice. I didn't want to serve Him any more or write gospel songs. I just wanted to go back to that jazz world I once knew so well. But then, as I hunched alone in that dark apartment those first sad days, I thought back to the afternoon I went to St. Louis. Something kept telling me to stay with Nettie. Was that something God?  Oh, if I had paid more attention to Him that day, I would have stayed and been with Nettie when she died.

From that moment on, I vowed to listen more closely to Him. But still I was lost in grief. Everyone was kind to me, especially one friend. The following Saturday evening he took me up to Maloney's Poro College, a neighborhood music school.  It was quiet; the late evening sun crept through the curtained windows. I sat down at the piano, and my hands began to browse over the keys.  Something happened to me then.  I felt at peace.  I felt as though I could reach out and touch God. I found myself playing a melody. Once in my head they just seemed to fall into place: 'Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn, through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light, take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.' The Lord gave me these words and melody. He also healed my spirit. I learned that when we are in our deepest grief, when we feel farthest from God, this is when He is closest, and when we are most open to His restoring power. And so I go on living for God willingly and joyfully, until that day comes when He will take me and gently lead me home.


I find it difficult to express to my readers just how concerned I am about our great nation. Most of us have idly stood by and allowed our leaders to run this great ship into an iceberg. Like the Titanic, we believed that we were unsinkable, but history assures us of a different out come. We have permitted our justice system to take God and prayer out of our schools and once again history has shown us an out come that I don't think anyone would have thought possible.

One of biggest atrocities that was in the news recently was in California. One website reported, "This boggles my mind. Only in California could madness like this happen. The Dept. of Transportation in that state nixed the display of the American flag at a memorial dedicated to our servicemen and the military. The panel that made the decision demanded "viewpoint neutrality". What the heck is that, and how can you detect and enforce it?"  Oh, it gets better. The California Supreme Court supported the decision!  Please take our hands, Precious Lord!

I would like to close by telling you that I believe that Newt Gingrich is the person that can help put this great country back on track.

The abomination of decisions and out right fool headedness that has be permitted to occur over the past 20 years will be an unimaginable task, but Newt Gingrich can do it.

He is the closest thing we will ever get to President Ronald Reagan who clearing fixed the Jimmy Carter catastrophe. Make sure you tell your kids about that guy!

Don't be afraid to see what you see. - Ronald Reagan


May God Bless…

Ron Phillips

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The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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P.O. Box 190
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Russell Springs KY 42642
Phone: 270-866-3191
Fax: 270-866-3198
Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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Phone: 270-343-5700
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