Saturday, 29 October 2016

Count Your Blessings Hymn Story and Lyrics

Count Your Blessings is probably one of the most popular Christian hymns in the world. I would not be surprised if it made the top Christian hymns of all-time list for millions of Christians. 

I have heard this song sang on television, radio, church etc. I remember one of the most popular musicians in my country included it in his album and it caught fire with millions singing along or listening to it. 

The author of this hymn is Johnson Oatman Jr. He was born on April 21, 1856 near Medford, New Jersey.

His father was a local merchant who also happened to be a favorite singer in his town. He had a beautiful and powerful booming voice that captivated many people.

The young Johnson Oatman, Jr wanted above all else to follow in the footsteps of his father and be a musician. He wanted to grow up and be like his dad in many other respects besides music.
Johnson Oatman, Jr

He initially joined his father’s business as a junior member in the Johnson Oatman & Son firm. Due to this he did not have enough to fulfill his religious ambitions.

He later studied for ministry in the Methodist church. While he tried his best in his work as an ordained minister in the Methodist church, he soon realised that it was not his thing. He had gone about preaching in various congregations in his area but was not happy.

He knew that he was not going to be a great preacher even though he felt the call of God to ministry. He therefore determined to seek God's will for his life

At the age of 35 he found his calling and never looked back. He realised that while he could not sing like his dad he could write hymns.

Thus began a journey that led him to write 200 hymns a year and eventually wrote 5000 hymns. Thus he was able to find a way to "preach the gospel".

Though his favorite hymns were the popular, "NO, Not One" and "Higher Ground" it was Count Your Blessings written in 1897 that had a meteoric journey.

The words of this song were put to music by Edwin Othello Excell. Edwin Othello Excell was born December 13, 1851 in Stark County, Ohio. He too was pastor's kid.

His father was Rev. JJ  Excell was the minister in the German Reform Church in Ohio. 

I would guess that it must be a popular hymn during the Thanksgiving holidays in America. A very fitting song to remind us of the many blessings we experience daily.

It is very easy to forget to Count Our blessings when we go through difficult times. The mind usually will focus on the slights and disappointments of life neglecting the multitude of good things that happen to us every day.

Below are the lyrics of this beautiful hymn, Count Your Blessings.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
count your many blessings name them one by one,
and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.


Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done!

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven nor your home on high.

So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged. God is over all;
Count your many blessings angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Be Still For The Presence of The Lord Lyrics and Story

For me and many Christians I believe, Be Still For The Presence Of The Lord, ranks high among worship hymns of all time. It is a beautiful song with a clear and simple message.

It is a call for us to tune out everything and focus on the Lord. The Holy One is here and nothing else matters.

It is one of the most beloved modern hymns that are full of the teachings of the scripture. It reminds me of the tradition long gone where hymns were used as vehicles for spreading the teachings of the church.

The author of this hymn is David J Evans who wrote this song in in the 1980s.

The inspiration for this hymn is the story of Jacob fleeing from his brother. While in the wilderness he had a dream where he saw angels going up and down a ladder to heaven. The old Testament says, " ‘then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said “surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it.”

This hymns was used as a call to worship in one of the churches I used to attend and has been one of my favorite hymns ever since.

Below are the lyrics of this powerful call to worship. For links to other songs please visit Popular and Old Hymns History.

Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One, is here;
Come bow before him now with reverence and fear:
In him no sin is found - we stand on holy ground.
Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One, is here.

Be still, for the glory of the Lord is shining all around;
He burns with holy fire, with splendour he is crowned:
How awesome is the sight - our radiant King of light!
Be still, for the glory of the Lord is shining all around. 

Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place;
He comes to cleanse and heal, to minister his grace -
No work too hard for him. In faith receive from him.
Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place.

My Faith Has Has Found A Resting Place Lyrics and Story

This hymn "My Faith Has Found A Resting Place" was composed by Elizabeth Edmunds Hewitt. Ms Hewitt’s pseudonym was Lidie H. Edmunds which is used in other copies of her hymns.

She was a native of Philadelphia where she was born on 28th June 1851.

Early in her life, Ms Hewitt suffered from spinal malady that incapacitated her for a long time.

It was while she was convalescing that she found her passion of writing poems for her church's primary department.  She later became a Sunday School teacher in the Presbyterian church.

This song is the result of one her poems and I know you will be blessed by it as millions have.
EE Hewitt

Below are the lyrics of this much loved hymn.

1 My faith has found a resting place,
Not in device nor creed;
I trust the Ever-living One,
His wounds for me shall plead.

I need no other argument,
I need no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me.

2 Enough for me that Jesus saves,
This ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul I come to Him,
He’ll never cast me out. [Refrain]

3 My heart is leaning on the Word,
The written Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior’s name,
Salvation through His blood. [Refrain]

4 My great Physician heals the sick,
The lost He came to save;
For me His precious blood He shed,
For me His life He gave. [Refrain]

Below is a video featuring CA Murray singing this beautiful hymn. For links for most hymns on this site please click here.

Monday, 29 August 2016

I Vow To Thee, My Country Lyrics and Story

I Vow To Thee My Country is a hymn that emphasises the fact that Christians are citizens of two kingdoms, the earthly one and the heavenly one. 

This has created all sorts of tensions in the minds of Christians especially on how they are to relate to civil authorities. 

This hymn, I Vow To Thee My Country is a patriotic song that tries to show how these two loyalties operate. 

This hymn came from a patriotic poem written by Sir Cecil Spring Rice. It was set to music by Gustav Holst in 1921.

Sir Cecil Spring Rice was a British diplomat who later became the UK Ambassador to the United States of America. He used his influence to persuade Woodrow Wilson to join Britain in the war against Germany during the First World War. 

It was while in America that he rewrote this hymn in 1918 to concentrate on love and sacrifice rather than "noise of battle" and "the thunder of her guns".
Sir Cecil Spring Rice

This song was original known as Urbs Dei (The City of God) or the Two Fatherlands standing for the Christians loyalty to heaven and homeland.

Below are the lyrics of this hymn.

I vow to thee, my country, 
all earthly things above, 
Entire and whole and perfect, 
the service of my love; 
The love that asks no question, 
the love that stands the test, 
That lays upon the altar 
the dearest and the best; 
The love that never falters, 
the love that pays the price, 
The love that makes undaunted 
the final sacrifice. 

And there's another country, 
I've heard of long ago, 
Most dear to them that love her, 
most great to them that know; 
We may not count her armies, 
we may not see her King; 
Her fortress is a faithful heart, 
her pride is suffering; 
And soul by soul and silently 
her shining bounds increase, 
And her ways are ways of gentleness, 
and all her paths are peace.

If you are into patriotic songs here is another one, My Country Tis Of Thee.

Below is a video featuring, I Vow To Thee, My Country.

To God Be The Glory Lyrics and Story

There is something majestic about this hymn, To God Be The Glory. Every time I sing it I feel like I am in the very presence of the Lord. I can almost visualise the throne of God. 

I assume that the composer of this hymn Fanny Crosby must have felt the same way when she composed this hymn. This blind composer has blessed the Christian church very much with her hymns such as Blessed Assurance.

Fanny Crosby provided the lyrics while the tune came from William Howard Doane. Scholars believe that this hymn was written in 1872 even though it was first published in 1875.

In its early days it was Ira Sankey who popularised it by singing it during Dwight Moody's evangelistic campaigns. 

It however faded in public memory Cliff Barrows was handed a copy in 1954 with an intention to include in the songbook for Billy Graham crusades in London. 

Because of the popularity resulting from this Cliff continued to use it in subsequent evangelistic campaigns.

It is now established as one of the most popular hymns of all time.
Fanny Crosby To God Be The Glory

Below are the lyrics of this hymn:

Verse 1
To God be the glory, great things He hath done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done.

Verse 2
O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.


Verse 3
Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.


Below is a video featuring this hymn, To God Be The Glory.

Be Still My Soul Hymn Story and Lyrics

"Be Still, My Soul" is originally a German hymn which reads in German, Stille meine Wille, dein Jesus hilft siegen. The author was Katharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel (1697-1768).

The English version that we have now is the fruit of the work of Jane Laurie Borthwick (1813-1897) who translated it in 1855.

It is a prayer to patiently put our trust in the LORD even in the day of adversity. It shows us that no matter what we go through ultimately there is a joyful end to our sufferings.

May this be the prayer of everyone else, be still, my soul, the LORD is on thy side. That ought to give us a blessed assurance that no matter what God is on our side. He always has been and He always will be.

Below are the lyrics of this hymn.

1 Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide,
who through all changes faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2 Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
to guide the future surely as the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
his voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

3 Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
when we shall be forever with the Lord;
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
all safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Below is a video of this popular hymn.

On Christ The Solid Rock I Stand (My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less) Lyrics and Story

My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less or On Christ The Solid Rock I Stand is the best known hymn of Edward Mote who wrote it in 1834. The original title of this hymn was, "The Immutable Basis for a Sinner's Hope".

Edward Mote was the pastor of Rehoboth Baptist Church in Horsham West Sussex in the United Kingdom.

It looks as if the inspiration for this hymn came from Christ parable of the wise and foolish builders. In the parable Christ speaks of the foolish builder who built his house on sinking sand while the wise builder built his on solid rock. As you would imagine a storm easily swept away the one built on sand.

Christ is the solid rock upon which we can build our house of faith. Any other foundation is like one on sand and will ultimately fail.

Edward Mote - On Christ the Solid Rock
On the authorship of this song Mr. Mote's explanation, communicated to the Gospel Herald, is:—
"One morning it came into my mind as I went to labour, to write an hymn on the ‘Gracious Experience of a Christian.' As I went up Holborn I had the chorus,

‘On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.’

Below are the lyrics of this popular hymn:

1 My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.

2 When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace;
in every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil. [Refrain]

3 His oath, his covenant, his blood
support me in the whelming flood;
when all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay. [Refrain]

4 When he shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in him be found,
dressed in his righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne. [Refrain]

In the video below Reggie Smith sings this beautiful hymn at a 3ABN campmeeting.

In Christ Alone by Yvonne Lewis of 3ABN

In Christ Alone is probably the most popular Christian hymn at the moment in both the US and the UK. There are actually surveys that have it on position 1 among popular hymns.

This hymn is the result of a collaboration between Keith Getty of Northern Ireland and Stuart Townend of England in 2001. Both are hugely popular songwriters of Christian hymns and contemporary worship music.

In this collaboration, the music was by Keith Getty and the original lyrics by Stuart Townend.

The melody of this song has an Irish bent on it. I guess it is because the music was organised by Keith Getty who is Irish. Another Irish hymn that has conquered the world is Be Thou My Vision.

The song focuses on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It celebrates that fact that even in death Christ was a conqueror. Death could not hold Christ.

Stuart Townend is also the composer of another famous hymn, How Deep The Father's Love For Us.

In the video below Yvonne Lewis of 3ABN sings this popular hymn, In Christ Alone. This was during the Pillars of Our Faith campmeeting.

How Deep The Father's Love For Us Hymn Story and Lyrics

How Deep The Father's Love For Us is a composition by an English Christian worship leader, Stuart Townend (born 1963).

Stuart says he decided to write this hymns to try to shift the attention that modern worship style that focus more on our emotions rather on God. He says that the focus should be on our Lord more than on ourselves. 

Emotions are important as they are a part of us but the problem comes in when they became center of our worship. Emotions can come and go and are easily influenced but only faith in God abides. We need to have a firm foundation in our Christian experience.

Christ should be the center of our worship no matter the situation. Whether we are happy, excited, sad let us make Christ the center and we will never be disappointed.

Stuart Townend gave the following reason for composing this hymn: 

"The danger now is that we are so focused on the experience our worship can become self-seeking and self-serving. When all of our songs are about how we feel and what we need, we’re missing the point. There is a wonderful, omnipotent God who deserves our highest praise, and how we feel about it is in many ways irrelevant!  I want to encourage the expression of joy, passion and adoration, but I want those things to be the by-product of focusing on God – I don’t want them to become the subject matter. I’m trying to write songs that refer to us as little as possible, and to Him as much as possible!"

Stuart Townend is also the co author of another popular modern hymn, In Christ Alone.

Below are the lyrics of this well known modern hymn.

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss –
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life –
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart –
His wounds have paid my ransom.

And here is a video featuring this hymn.

Be Thou My Vision Hymn and Lyrics

A nationwide survey in the United Kingdom by the British Broadcasting Corporation found Be Thou My Vision to be no. 15 on people's favorite list. The survey was called UK's Top 100 Hymns.

I would not be surprised if it also among the top twenty hymns in the United States and other parts of the world. It is certainly one of the beloved hymns at least in my church.

This hymn was originally a traditional Irish hymn. It was known as Rop tú mo baile or Rob tú mo bhoile in old Irish. Tradition states that the song was composed by the sixth century Irish Christian poet Saint Dallan.

The English is the result of the work of Eleanor Hull who translated it in 1912. It was however in 1919 that the lyrics were set to the tune of the Irish folk tune, "Slane". The tune has stuck to this very day in both English and Irish.

The Irish have contributed many popular hymns to the Christian church. Some of those songs include Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Below are the lyrics of this beautiful hymn.

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
be all else but naught to me, save that thou art;
be thou my best thought in the day and the night,
both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word,
be thou ever with me, and I with thee Lord;
be thou my great Father, and I thy true son;
be thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight;
be thou my whole armor, be thou my true might;
be thou my soul's shelter, be thou my strong tower:
O raise thou me heavenward, great Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise:
be thou mine inheritance now and always;
be thou and thou only the first in my heart;
O Sovereign of heaven, my treasure thou art.

High King of heaven, thou heaven's bright sun,
O grant me its joys after victory is won;
great Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be thou my vision, O Ruler of all.

Below is a video featuring this hymn.

Mary Did You Know (Christmas Carol with lyrics)

The first time I heard this Christmas carol, I thought it was one of those classic old hymns. I was surprised that it was actually written by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene in the 1990s.

Judging from the response it has received this is now truly a modern Christmas carol classic and has been recorded by many artists all over the world.

Famous artists who have recorded this christmas song include, Kenny Rogers, Mary J Blige, Don Moen, Clay Aiken, Cee Lo Green and Pentatonix.

The first recording was done by Michael English in 1991 and reached no. 6 on CCM Magazine AC chart.

Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene are regular features on the Bill and Gloria Gaither music concerts. Mark Lowry is also member of the Gaither Vocal Band and so was Michael English when he recorded his version of this song.

Here are the lyrics of this Christmas carol, Mary Did You Know.

"Mary Did You Know"
(originally by Mark Lowry (lyrics) and Buddy Greene (melody))

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?

Mary did you know.. Ooo Ooo Ooo

The blind will see.
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you're holding is the Great, I Am.

Below is a video featuring this modern classic Christmas song.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Blessed Assurance Hymn Story and Lyrics

Blessed Assurance is at the top of millions of Christians top ten hymns of all time. It is such a powerful expression of our love for the LORD.

The words of this hymn were written by the blind singer Fanny Crosby after listening to a melody composed by Phoebe in 1873.

It is based on Hebrews 10:22 " Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." (KJV)

How else can we respond to this assurance but by saying Here I Am Lord

Below are the lyrics of this beautiful hymn.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long;
this is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight!
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.


Perfect submission, all is at rest!
I in my Savior am happy and blessed,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness Hymn Story and Lyrics

Great Is Thy Faithfulness is a favorite hymn of millions of Christians all over the world. It reminds us that God is always faithful. There is indeed no shadow of turning with him.

This song came into being after William Runyan decided to compose a musical score to a friend's poem. The author of that poem was Thomas Obadiah Chisolm (1866-1960).

Thomas Obadiah Chisolm who had all sorts of bout of illnesses in his adult life had found solace in reading the scriptures and especially found strength in the fact that God was faithful to him.

His favorite biblical passage was Lamentations 3:22-23, "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness."

It was during these challenging times that Thomas exchanged letters with his friend, William Runyan, a musician. In their communication they exchanged several poems and one of those is the one that became Great Is Thy Faithfulness.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness was first published in 1923 but was relatively unknown until a Moody Bible Institute professor found it and used it very often in chapel services.

This song was popularised by George Beverly Shea who sang it at the Billy Graham evangelistic crusades around 1945.

Below are the lyrics of this popular hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.


Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.


Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!


Saturday, 27 August 2016

How Great Thou Art Hymn Story and Lyrics

History of How Great Thou Art Hymn

Sweden is not well known as a source of most of hymns in the English speaking world but it is from Sweden that this much loved hymn, How Great Thou Art came from.

This much loved hymn is based on a poem sung to a Swedish traditional melody.

Carl Gustav Boberg (1859-1940) is the author of the original poem that ended up as this hymn.

Boberg was a Swedish pastor, editor, and member of the Swedish parliament.

He wrote it while living in Mönsterås in Sweden.

This poem came about after a sudden storm when Boberg was walking home one day.

On that day Carl Boberg and friends were returning home from Kronobäck where they had attended a church service.

Out of nowhere a thundercloud appeared and soon lightning flashed across the sky.

A severe storm began to blow and rain came in cool fresh showers.

A little later the storm stopped.

When Boberg reached home he opened his window and looked out over the clear bay of Mönsterås.

While doing this he heard a church bell in the distance.

Boberg said there evidently had been a funeral as the bells were playing the tune of ‘When eternity’s clock calls my saved soul to its Sabbath rest.

That evening Carl Boberg wrote the poem, ‘O Store Gud’ (O Great God) based on this experience.

Carl Boberg first published “O Store Gud” in the Mönsterås News on 13 March 1886.

He later published it again in 1891 in Witness of the Truth, a weekly newspaper that Boberg edited.

This time both the words and music were published for the first time.

The instrumentation for both piano and guitar was provided by Adolph Edgren, a music teacher and organist.

It had eight verses.

German Translation

This hymn was later translated into German in 1907 by a wealthy German Baptist nobleman, Manfred von Glehn.

He had heard the hymn being sung by a Swedish speaking minority in Estonia.

Russian Translation

In 1912 the song found its way into Russia. The translation was by Ivan S Prokhanov who was known as the Martin Luther of Russia.

He was considered by many to be the most prolific Russian Protestant hymn writer and translator.

English Translation

There were two translations of this hymn into the English language.

The first translation was by E Gustav Johnson, then Professor of North Park College, Illinois, United States.

He translated verses 1,2 and 7-9 which were published in the United States in the Covenant Hymnal. It was titled as “O Mighty God” in 1925.

However, the English version that we have come to love is the result of the work of English missionary Stuart K Hine.

He first heard the Russian version of this song while doing missionary work in Ukraine in 1931.

He translated this poem from Russian into English and added two verses of his own.

He is the one who changed the title to “How Great Thou Art”.

He also rewrote some of the verses of the original song besides adding the two new verses.

Hine and his wife used the song in their evangelistic services in Ukraine. They were using their revised Russian version in their services there.

Besides the changes above Hine also added two additional optional verses to this hymn.

He copyrighted these in his book, Not You, but God: A Testimony to God’s Faithfulness.

Below are the two additional verses that are generally not included in modern English hymnals.

O when I see ungrateful man defiling
This bounteous earth, God’s gifts so good and great;
In foolish pride, God’s holy Name reviling
And yet, in grace, His wrath and judgment wait.

When burdens press, and seem beyond endurance,
Bowed down with grief, to Him I lift my face;
And then in love He brings me sweet assurance:
‘My child! for thee sufficient is my grace’.

It is however, the first four verses of his translation that are now known to many people who have come to love How Great Thou Art hymn.

How This Hymn Was Popularised?

Just as is true of other hymns it was the Billy Graham Crusades worship leaders, George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows that popularised this hymn.

It is said that when the Billy Graham Crusades came to London in 1954, George Gray a friend of Shea gave him a pamphlet containing this hymn.

They initially ignored it but later showed interest and arranged it for use at their crusades.

Even though they sang it while in England and in Canada it really did not catch fire.

It is however at at the Madison Square Garden crusade that it really became a hit and they sang it a hundred times due to public demand.

The rest is history as it is now one of the most loved hymns in the world.

It is now almost always in the top ten of the most loved Christian Hymns ever in most 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.

Below is another video featuring Kateena LeForge singing How Great Thou Art.

Just A Closer Walk With Thee Lyrics and Hymn Story

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 Hymn Story

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!