Saturday, 27 August 2016

How Great Thou Art

Sweden is not well known for hymns but it is from Sweden that this much loved hymn, How Great Thou Art came from. 

Carl Gustav Boberg (1859-1940) is the author of poem that was sung to a swedish traditional melody. This was later translated into German and later into Russian.

The English version that we have came to love is the result of the work of English missionary Stuart K Hine. He translate this poem from Russian into English and added two verses of his own. He set the composition to a Russian melody.

Just as is true of other hymns it was the Billy Graham Crusaded that popularised this hymn. It is now one of the most loved hymns in the world. It is always in the top ten of the most loved Christian Hymns in surveys.

Below are the lyrics of this wonderful and majestic hymn, How Great Thou Art. 

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!


When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.


And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.


When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"


Below is a video featuring Wintley Phipps.  I also encourage you to watch another beautiful song by  Ladye Love Smith, In The Garden.

Just A Closer Walk With Thee

It is difficult to know the real author of this song that has blessed millions all over the world. There appears to be no consensus as to author. There is however circumstantial evidence that seems to point to an African American origin.

Those who say that this song has an African American origin think that it may have been composed in the African American congregations of the nineteenth century.

It is said that black slaves were heard singing a song about walking by the Lord's side while working in the fields.

Some have credited African American vocalist, Rev. Elijah Cluke (1907-1974) for the current version of this song.

Below are the lyrics and video of this beautiful hymn.

I am weak, but Thou art strong,
Jesus, keep me from all wrong,
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

Through this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

When my feeble life is o’er,
Time for me will be no more,
Guide me gently, safely o’er
To Thy kingdom's shore, to Thy shore

Here I Am, Lord

Here I Am, Lord is probably one of the most well known hymns that has crossed the divide between Catholics and Protestants. Many Protestants feature this song in their worship services which is remarkable when you consider the differences that exist between Catholics and Protestants.

Having said this it should be noted that this hymn has a powerful message of surrender to the will of God. 

Dan Schutte wrote this song in 1981. It is based on the message found in Isaiah 6:8 and 1 Samuel 3. In Isaiah we see the Lord God Almighty asking whom He shall send and Isaiah responding positively to God's call. In his response Isaiah says, "Here I am, send me".

Regardless of whether we are Protestants or Catholics Jesus is calling us and we need to respond to God's call. It is a call for service. A call for spreading the world and love of God to the people around us. 

No wonder this is a song that young and old have fallen in love with. Surveys have shown that is the second most loved song in the United Methodist church especially among the youth.

In the video below we will hear and watch a beautiful rendition of this hymn which is also known as I, the Lord of sea and sky.

Jesus Is Coming Again (Lift Up The Trumpet)

Jesus Is Coming Again (Lift Up The Trumpet is a hymn that has blessed millions all over the world. It is one of the favorite hymns in the Seventh day adventist Church to which I belong. It is almost the anthem of our church.

Lift Up The Trumpet is as song that vividly brings the hope of Jesus' second coming to many. It is this hope that has helped many going through hardship to endure. It has soothed the aching hearts of those that have lost loved ones as they know that they will meet them again during the second coming of Jesus.

The words of this popular hymn were penned by Rev Jerusha E. "Jessie" Strout Jordan (Jessie E Strout) an Advent Christian Minister, in 1872. Little is known about this pastor other than that he was a poet and minister. 

Jessie E Strout will however be remembered for this simple but beautiful hymn that continues to bless millions. 

Below is the tomb of Jessie Strout.
Tomb of Author of Jesus Is Coming Again

The music to this hymn, Lift Up The Trumpet was done by George E Lee in the same year 1872.

Below are the lyrics to this song.

Lift up the trumpet, and loud let it ring:
Jesus is coming again!
Cheer up, ye pilgrims, be joyful and sing:
Jesus is coming again!

Coming again, coming again,
Jesus is coming again!

Echo it, hilltops; proclaim it, ye plains:
Jesus is coming again!
Coming in glory, the Lamb that was slain;
Jesus is coming again!

Heavings of earth, tell the vast, wondering throng:
Jesus is coming again!
Tempests and whirlwinds, the anthem prolong;
Jesus is coming again!

Nations are angry–by this we do know
Jesus is coming again!
Knowledge increases; men run to and fro;
Jesus is coming again!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Popular and Old Hymns History

This blog exists to share the history of popular hymns and old hymns that people have come to love over the years. It is only when you go behind what led to the authors writing these songs that you start to appreciate the message of these songs.

While preaching is still the most effective way of spreading the gospel, Christian music has helped in seasoning as it well the presentation of the gospel. It has in some cases even led people to Christ on its own.

I hope that this blog will through the stories behind these old and popular hymns help us to draw closer to Christ. As we see the experience of these writers we will appreciate more these hymns.

I am a believer in simple and not complicated Christian music. I prefer music that focuses on the message rather the instruments used.

I am not a fan of drowning the voice in the noise of the instruments. I want the people to hear the message of the songs. Christian music for me is not about entertainment but spreading the gospel.

As one Christian writer has said, "The history of the songs of the Bible is full of suggestion as to the uses and benefits of music and song. Music is often perverted to serve purposes of evil, and it thus becomes one of the most alluring agencies of temptation. But, rightly employed, it is a precious gift of God, designed to uplift the thoughts to high and noble themes, to inspire and elevate the soul".

To make it easy for you I have put the links below to some of the hymns and stories that we have on this site.

  1. Holy Holy Holy Lord God Almighty.
  2. The Day of The Resurrection.
  3. Oh Come Emmanuel.
  4. When I Survey The Wondrous Cross.
  5. Almost Persuaded Now To Believe.
  6. Good News From Heaven Angels Bring.
  7. In Times Like These.
  8. Go Down Moses.
  9. What A Friend We Have In Jesus.
  10. Higher Ground/Lord Plant My Feet On Higher Ground.
  11. Be Not Dismayed Whatever The Tide.
  12. There's A Green Hill Far Away.
  13. At The Name of Jesus.
  14. Shall We Gather At The River.
  15. Will Your Anchor Hold.
  16. He Leadeth O Blessed Thought.
  17. There's A Balm in Gilead.
  18. Hark, My Soul! It is The Lord.
  19. When We Walk With The Lord / Trust And Obey.
  20. I Come To The Garden Alone/ In The Garden.
  21. Remember The Sabbath To Keep It Holy.
  22. Give Me The Bible Music Special
  23. Away In A Manger, No Crib For A Bed.
  24. Good News From Heaven The Angels Bring.
  25. Jesus There's Something About That Name.
  26. Joy To The World.
  27. Hark The Herald Angels Sing.
  28. Hark! What Mean Those Holy Voices.
  29. It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
  30. The Gloria In Excelsis
  31. O Little Town Of Bethlehem.
  32. Soon And Very Soon Instrumental.
  33. Let Us Break Bread Together.
  34. All Hail The Power of Jesus Name.
  35. At The Name of Jesus.
  36. Dear Lord and Father of Mankind.
  37. Does Jesus Care.
  38. Show Pity, Lord, O Lord, Forgive.
  39. From Depths of Woe I Cry To Thee.
  40. Shout the Glad Tidings, Exultingly Sing.
  41. O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.
  42. From Greenland's Icy Mountains.
  43. Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus.
  44. Jesus Lover of My Soul.
  45. Blest Be The Tie That Binds.
  46. The Whole World Was Lost In The Darkness Of Sin.
  47. Almost Persuaded, Now To Believe.
  48. Sun Of My Soul, Thou Saviour Dear.
  49. Christ For The World We Sing.
  50. God Be With You Till We Meet Again.
  51. Abide With Me! Fast Falls The Eventide.
  52. In The Cross of Christ I glory.
  53. Oft In Danger, Oft In Woe.
  54. My Country, Tis Of Thee.
  55. Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory Of The Coming Of The Lord.
  56. Forward! Be Our Watchword.
  57. Take My Life, And Let It Be.
  58. The Morning Light Is Breaking.
  59. Praise God, From Whom All Blessing Flow.
  60. A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.
  61. Just As I Am, Without One Plea.
  62. Nearer, My God, To Thee.
  63. O God, Our Help In Ages Past.
  64. What A Friend We Have In Jesus
  65. Christ The Lord Is Risen Today
  66. How Sweet The Name of Jesus Sounds In A Believer's Ear.
  67. O Say, Can You See By Dawn's Early Light.
  68. Jerusalem The Golden.
  69. Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus.
  70. Gentle Jesus, Meek And Mild.
  71. O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing.
  72. Glorious Things Of Thee Are Spoken.
  73. I Think, When I Read That Sweet Story Of Old.
  74. Lead, Kindly Light, Amid, Th' encircling Gloom.
  75. All Glory, Laud, And Honor
  76. The Day of The Resurrection.
  77. Fling Out The Banner! Let It Float.
  78. I Was A Wandering Sheep.
  79. Golden Harps Are Sounding.
  80. Glory Be To The Father.
  81. The God of Abraham Praise.
  82. Now Thank We All Our God.
  83. Jesus Shall Reign Where Er The Sun.
  84. We Plow The Fields, And Scatter.
  85. O God, My Powers Are Thine.
  86. Come, Thou Almighty King.
  87. O Beautiful For Spacious Skies.
  88. Another Year Is Dawning.
  89. Hail To The Lord's Anointed.
These songs have meant a lot to many people and are the old and popular hymns that have enriched our Christian experiences for decades and in some cases hundreds of years.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

In Times Like These (Video, History and Lyrics) Adventist Hymnal #593

In Times Like These : History of the Hymn

Some of the best loved Christian hymns have come out of a sense of helplessness to what is going on in the world of the authors and this song is no exception. This song was composed during the fearful days at the height of World War II when despair over the war was everywhere. The year was 1943.

It seemed to many during that time that the allies were bogged down in Italy and other countries and the war was going nowhere. The world economies were at breaking points with rations everywhere. 

It is out of this atmosphere that a housewife and pastor's wife in Pennsylvania, Ruth Caye Jones was drawn to 2 Timothy 3,"But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come..."

As she read this chapter a song began composing in her head, "In Times Like These We Need A Savior". While it is the reading of 2 Timothy 3 that initially inspired her, the words show that at the back of her mind she might have been influenced by Hebrews 6:19, which says, "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast….

This powerful hymn has been a blessing to millions of Christians in times of need. It has been used in funerals, illnesses and to encourage the discouraged and also to win souls for Christ.
In this video the Cadet Sisters sing, "In Times Like These" on 3ABN

In Times Like These Lyrics

In times like these you need a Savior
In times like these you need an anchor;
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He's the One;
This Rock is Jesus, the only One!
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

In times like these you need the Bible,
In times like these O be not idle;
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He's the One;
This Rock is Jesus, the only One!
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

In times like these I have a Savior,
In times like these I have an anchor;
I'm very sure, I'm very sure
My anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He's the One;
This Rock is Jesus, the only One!
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

Saturday, 25 July 2015

God Down Moses - Negro Spirituals Stories.

In this post we discuss one of the most popular negro spirituals, "Go Down Moses" or as others call it "Let My People Go.

To be very honest it would be better to call negro spirituals, slave songs as they were actually composed by slaves and reflect their situation at that time and their hope that somehow God was going to intervene to free them from slavery. One of those slave songs or negro spirituals is this spiritual, Go Down Moses.

The power and source of most of the negro spirituals come from the Exodus experience of the children of Isreael in the Bible. As we all know the Jews were once slaves in Egypt. But with God's help the Jews gained their freedom. The God of Abraham parted the Red Sea for the Jews to cross and they travelled safely from Egypt to the land of Canaan. A land flowing with milk and honey.

The African slaves identified with the Jews and longed for their own freedom. They thought, "If God could do that for the Jews, God can do that for us too!"

Go Down Moses is one of those songs. Most of the negro spirituals used coded messages to hide the message from their white slave masters. The Israel in the songs refers to African slaves in the South of America (USA). The "pharaoh" and "Egypt" refer to the slave masters and the land of slavery, in this case America.

The name Moses in the song actually refers to Harriet Tubman. Harriet Tubman was called "Moses" for her work with the Underground Railroad. The repeated refrain of the song declares, "Let My People Go!" How the white master could hear these words and think they only referred to some long-dead Egyptian Pharaoh is hard to understand. The powerful song, however, is a reminder that God is always opposed to the enslavement and oppression of people. 
Let My People Cover of Sheet Music  1862

Below are lyrics of one version of this song:-

When Israel was in Egypt's land: Let my people go,
Oppress'd so hard they could not stand, Let my People go.
Go down, Moses,
Way down in Egypt's land,
Tell old Pharaoh,
Let my people go.

In the video below, Louis Armstrong sings this beautiful song, Go Down Moses.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Jesus There's Something About That Name Song

Bill and Gloria Gaither are the authors and composers of this beautiful song, "Jesus, There's Something About That Name". They composed this song in 1970 when Bill was 34 years old and Gloria was 28 years old.

It was composed after loss of grandparents and onset of their own parenthood. We can only speculate as to what was going on in their minds at this difficult and challenging time.

Jesus is the name that billions of people in this world turn to when they face all sorts of challenges. Christians going through wars such as the war in the Middle East turn to this name for safety. Where else would they go when going through such crisises that they have no control over but to Master, Savior, Jesus.

When people are on their deathbeds they turn to this name. Jesus is the savior to them as they face their end.

Even those that have few problems can turn to him to praise Him for all the blessings that they are experiencing. There is indeed something about that name.

Kings and kingdoms shall pass away.
But there's something about that name.

Below is a video showing 3ABN campmeeting congregation singing, "Something About That Name" led by Dannyy Shelton.

Bill and Gloria Gaither

Saturday, 20 June 2015

There is A Balm in Gilead Hymn and Lyrics

There is a Balm in Gilead is one of the most famous Black American negro spirituals. There have been various versions of this spiritual over the years and first appearance of this spiritual in its present form is uncertain. Washington Glass included it in his hymn "The Sinners Cure" in 1854 and attributed it to himself but it is definitely not his.

It appears to draw its inspiration from Jeremiah chapter 8 v. 22: "Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there on healing for the wounds of my people?". In this spiritual the balm is spiritual medicine to deal with the sins of God's people.

Below are there is a balm in Gilead lyrics and video.

Chorus (in bold):

    There is a balm in Gilead
    To make the wounded whole;
    There is a balm in Gilead
    To heal the sin-sick soul.

    Some times I feel discouraged,
    And think my work’s in vain,
    But then the Holy Spirit
    Revives my soul again.


    If you cannot sing like angels,
    If you can’t preach like Paul,
    You can tell the love of Jesus,
    And say He died for all.

There is a balm in Gilead

Shall We Gather At the River Hymn, Lyrics and Video

The video below is a piano instrumental music rendition of one of the most popular Christian gospel songs popularly known to many people as, 'Shall We gather At the River'.

The author of this beautiful hymn is American poet and music composer Robert Lowry (1826-1899). This traditional Christian hymn was actually titled 'Hanson Place' but is now popularly named 'Shall We Gather at the River' or 'At the River'. Hanson Place Baptist Church in Brooklyn is the church where Robert Lowry served as a minister of the word of God.

Robert Lowry - Shall We Gather At The River Hymn

Shall We Gather At The River lyrics and hymn video.

1. Shall we gather at the river,
where bright angel feet have trod,
with its crystal tide forever
flowing by the throne of God?
Yes, we'll gather at the river,
the beautiful, the beautiful river;
gather with the saints at the river
that flows by the throne of God.

2. On the margin of the river,
washing up its silver spray,
we will walk and worship ever,
all the happy golden day.

3. Ere we reach the shining river,
lay we every burden down;
grace our spirits will deliver,
and provide a robe and crown.

4. Soon we'll reach the shining river,
soon our pilgrimage will cease;
soon our happy hearts will quiver
with the melody of peace.

Higher Ground (Lord Plant My Feet on Higher Ground) by Christian Edition Male Chorus

In the video below Christian Edition a well known Adventist male chorus, sing a classic Christian gospel song, Higher Ground (Lord Plant My Feet On higher Ground).

Johnson Oatman Jr (1856-1922) is the author of this prayer gospel song.The music to the words of the song was added by Charles Hutchinson Gabriel. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

The author is reported to have written about 3,000 songs from 1892 to 1922 when he died.His songs were in demand by gospel musicians of his day including Charles Gabriel, William James Kirkpatrick and Edwin Excell.

Higher Ground is a prayer song that seems to have been inspired by Philippians 3:14 -"I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

Johnson Oatman Jr - Higher Ground hymn
Below are the words or lyrics of Higher Ground (I am pressing on the upward way) hymn and a video of Christian Edition singing this hymn.

I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Lord, lift me up, and let me stand
By faith on Canaan’s tableland;
A higher plane than I have found,
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where these abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.
I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.
I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till rest I’ve found,
“Lord, lead me on to higher ground.”

In The Garden / I Come To The Garden Alone Gospel Song Sung by Ladye Love Smith

Ladye Love Smith singing a well known great Christian gospel song, 'I come to the garden alone' or its real title 'In the garden'. Ladye Love Smith and her husband Reggie are  regular musicians on the Bill and Gloria Gaither Homecoming series.

I come to the garden alone was composed in 1912 by C Austin Miles(1868-1946), a pharmacist by profession.

This is a very popular song and was a favorite of Elvis Presley. It is in some respects one of Elvis Presley's gospel songs as he helped in exposing this song to the youth of his day. Elvis Presley included this song on his gospel album 'How Great Thou Art'.

Johny Cash also popularised it further when it was included posthumously in his 5 CD box set Cash Unearthed in November 2003

Reggie and Ladye Love Smith
Below is the video of the song.

Below are the lyrics of this gospel hymn, 'In the Garden' or 'I Come To The Garden alone.

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses . . .

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other, has ever, known!

He speaks and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that he gave to me,
Within my heart is ringing . . .

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other, has ever, known!

And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other, has ever, known!