Behind the Hymn: Moment by Moment

Moment by Moment was another hymn written by Major Daniel Webster Whittle. He is also the author of I Know Whom I Have Believed. Ira Sankey recounted that while at the World’s Fair in Chicago, Rev. Henry Varley stated “I do not like the hymn, I Need Thee Every Hour.  I need him Moment by Moment.” Major Whittle was so […]

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Behind the Hymn: I Know Whom I Have Believed

I Know Whom I Have Believed was written by Major Daniel Webster Whittle. Daniel Webster Whittle was born on November 22, 1840 in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts.  He was named for the politician and founder of the dictionary, Daniel Webster. Whittle was very religious as a young man and worked as a cashier for Wells Fargo Bank. In 1861, he joined […]

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Behind the Hymn: Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus

Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus  is another hymn where God used a tragedy for his good. In 1858, Dudley Atkins Tyng, an evangelist and abolitionist, had just finished preaching at a successful mission in Philadelphia.  Tyng visited his farm, where he reached his arm out to pat a mule.  This mule was working on a machine that shelled corn […]

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Behind the Hymn: Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus is another hymn that was born out of tragedy. The lyrics were written by Louisa M.R. Stead in 1882. Louisa Stead was born in 1850 England.  In 1871, she came to the United States and settled in Cincinnati, Ohio.  She had hoped to become a missionary but was prevented by ill health.  In […]

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Behind the Hymn: We’re Marching to Zion

We’re Marching To Zion is sometimes referred to by it’s opening line, Come We That Love the Lord. The hymn was written by Isaac Watts.  Watts was an English minister, hymnwriter, theologian and logician.  He wrote over 750 hymns and is known as the Father of English hymnody. Marching to Zion may have been based on Jeremiah 31:6, “Arise ye, […]

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Behind the Hymn: The Solid Rock

The Solid Rock or My Hope is Built on Nothing Less was written by Edward Mote.  He was a pastor at Rehoboth Baptist Church in Horsham, West Essex, England. Mote was born in 1797 and trained to be a cabinet maker.  At the age of 50, he entered the ministry.  When offered the church building as a gift he replied, […]

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Behind the Hymn: Sweet Hour of Prayer

William Walford was a simple uneducated wood carver with a great memory.  He spoke and wrote poem in his England home and shop.   He was so in tune with God and scripture that he was often asked to speak at his Congregational Church and share a sermon.   The word of God overflowed through him and came out in his poetry. […]

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Behind the Hymn: Trusting Jesus

Trusting Jesus was written by Edgar Page Stites.  The music was written by Ira D. Sankey. Edgar Page Stites was a direct descendant of John Howland, one of the Mayflower passengers.  Stites served in the Civil War before becoming a riverboat pilot and later a missionary to churches in South Dakota. The poem first appeared in the newspaper.  The poem […]

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Behind the Hymn: Praise To the Lord The Almighty

Praise to the Lord the Almighty is a hymn based on Joachim Neander’s German hymn “Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren”, published in 1680. Neander was born in 1650 Bremen, Germany.  In his youth, he lived on the wild side before attending a local service and listening to a visiting preacher.  He adopted the beliefs of the Pietist […]

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Behind the Hymn: Safe in the Arms of Jesus

Safe in the Arms of Jesus was written by Fanny Crosby. On April 30, 1868, William Howard Doan, a composer and friend of Crosby’s knocked on her door. He said,  “Miss Fanny, I have exactly forty minutes before my train leaves for Cincinnati, and I must take that train.” He explained he wanted a new hymn next month when he […]

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Behind the Hymn: Jesus Is Tenderly Calling You Home

Jesus Is Tenderly Calling You Home is a hymn often used as an invitational in the church. The hymn was written by Fanny Crosby and music was by George Coles Stebbins. Crosby had been blind since the age of six weeks and wrote over 8,000 songs in her lifetime. Jesus Is Tenderly Calling You Home first appeared in Gospel Hymns […]

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Behind the Song: God Bless the USA

In honor of the upcoming 4th of July holiday, I thought we would look at another Patriotic song.  God Bless the USA is as popular as God Bless America. The song was written and is the signature song of Lee Greenwood.  He has been inspired by patriots all his life.  His father, step-father, first base player and other friends were […]

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Behind the Hymn: Jesus Our Blessed Redeemer

Praise Him, Praise Him, Jesus Our Blessed Redeemer is a hymn by beloved songwriter Fanny Crosby. Chester G. Allen married the melody to the lyrics written by Crosby. The hymn was first published in 1869 in the Bright Jewels songbook. This is a hymn that praises Jesus and reminds us to praise him.   We are not told what inspired Crosby […]

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Behind the Hymn: Nothing but the blood

Robert Lowry was a composer more remembered for the more than 500 hymns he wrote instead of the sermons he preferred to give.  He once stated: “Music, with me has been a side issue… I would rather preach a gospel sermon to an appreciative audience than write a hymn. I have always looked upon myself as a preacher and felt […]

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Behind the Song: Rise Again

Rise Again was released in 1977 and shares the story of the crucifixion and resurrection from Jesus’ view point. The song was written by Dallas Holm, a singer-songwriter of Christian music.  He has greatly influenced the contemporary Christian music genre. In an interview with the St. Augustine Record, Holm recalled: “I began to pray, which I should have done in […]

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Behind the Hymn: Abide with Me

Abide with Me is a hymn that deals with comfort and help.  More than ever we live in a time when we need the reminder that Christ is with us and will return again one day. The hymn was written by a Scotsman, Henry Francis Lyte. Lyte was born in Kelso, Scotland on June 1, 1793.  He was educated at […]

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Behind the Hymn: Pass Me Not O Gentle Savor

Pass Me Not O Gentle Savor is another popular hymn by prolific and beloved hymn writer Fanny Crosby. Crosby had been blind since she was six weeks old, but wrote over 8,000 songs in her lifetime. One evening, Fanny Crosby was invited to speak to a group of prisoners at the state prison and heard one of the men say […]

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Behind the Hymn: I am thine, O Lord

I Am Thine, O Lord is another beloved hymn by Fanny Crosby. Ira Sankey shared in his book that Fanny Crosby was visiting Mr. W.H. Doane, in is Cincinnati, Ohio home.  They were talking about the blessedness and nearness of God.   The sun began to set that evening and the evening shadows were gathering around them, during which time someone […]

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Behind the Song: You Raise Me Up

Happy Mother’s Day! I thought this was a fitting song for the day.   You Raise Me Up almost vanished into obscurity, instead of becoming the hit song we know and love today. You Raise Me Up was composed by an Irish-Norwegian duo known as Secret Garden, performers of primarily instrumental music.   The music was composed by Rolf Lovland.  The […]

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Behind the Song: Surely the Presence

Surely the Presence of the Lord is in this Place is a praise hymn from the 1970s which is still popular today. The song was written by Lanny Wolfe and inspired by Genesis 28:16, “When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” Lanny Wolfe is an […]

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