Behind the Hymn: My Jesus, I Love Thee

My Jesus, I Love Thee was written as a devotional poem by a young teen who had recently come to faith.  That teen was William Ralph Featherston. Featherston considered this hymn his “legacy of love.”  His love for God were genuine and true. William Ralph Featherson was born to John and Mary Featherson on July 24, 1846 in Montreal, Canada. […]

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Behind the Hymn: Holy! Holy! Holy!

When I was growing up Holy! Holy! Holy! was the first hymn found in the Baptist Hymnal.  I remember often requesting this song at hymn sings, when I was in elementary school.  I’m sure this was because of the ease of finding the hymn. Holy! Holy! Holy! speaks of the power of the Holy Trinity.  The opening phrase, “Holy! Holy! Holy! […]

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Behind the Hymn: Victory in Jesus

Eugene Monroe Bartlett, Sr. is considered to have made a major impact on the development of Southern Gospel Music. He was born on December 24, 1885 in Waynesville, Missouri.  At a young age he relocated to Sabastian County, Arkansas where he grew up.  He was educated as a music teacher at Hall-Moody Institute in Tennessee and William Jewell College in […]

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Behind the Story: He Touched Me

He Touched Me was the song that propelled Bill Gaither onto the national stage. Gaither had been writing songs for years, but nothing struck the chord with the American public the way He Touched Me did.  Gaither stated in an interview that he began writing in “1960” and this was “my fifty-fourth song.” Gaither was accompanying an “old preacher friend” […]

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Hymn Story: Love Lifted Me

Love Lifted Me was a joint effort of James Rowe and Howard E. Smith.  The two friends wrote the hymn together. James Rowe was born in Horrabridge, Devonshire, England in 1865.  He was the son of a copper miner.  James worked for the Irish government for four years, before immigrating to America.  He was 24 years old when he settled […]

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Behind the Hymn Sunday: Send the Light

Send the Light was written by Charles H. Gabriel. Charles Hutchinson Gabriel was born August 18, 1856 in Wilton Iowa and raised on a farm. As a boy, Gabriel taught himself to play a small reed organ.  He was following in his father’s footsteps and leading singing schools by the age of 16. One folklore of his youth, is that […]

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Behind the Song Sunday: All Things Bright and Beautiful

This beautiful song was written by Mrs. Cecil Frances Alexander for the children in her Sunday School class.                The author was born Cecil Frances Humphreys in 1818 Dublin, Ireland.  She was the daughter of an Irish Major.  She began writing verse as a child. Young Fanny was very introverted, but showed interest in poetry and writing.  Her earliest work […]

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Hymn Story: O How I Love Jesus

The verse to O How I Love Jesus was written by Frederick Whitfield. Frederick Whitfield was born in Threapwood, Shropshire, England on Jan. 7, 1829.  After attending Trinity College in Dublin, he became an Anglican Church clergyman. In 1875, he reached the pinnacle of his carrer when he was appointed to St. Mary’s Church in Hastings. He is credited with […]

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Behind the Song Sunday: Just As I Am

Charlotte Elliott spent the majority of her life as an invalid. During this time she said the only thing she could do was “worship God.” Ms. Eliott began her life with a lot of promise as a popular portrait artist and writer with a humorous voice. She was often in bad health and at the age of thirty became an […]

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Behind the Song Sunday: In The Garden

Dr. Adam Geibel, a music publisher, asked pharmacists and composer, C. Austin Miles, to write a hymn that would bring hope. Miles retreated to ” a cold, dreary and leaky basement in New Jersey that didn’t even have a window in it let alone a view of a garden,” according to his great-granddaughter. Miles turned to his Bible and read […]

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Behind the Song Sunday: How Great Thou Art

Today How Great Thou Art is a staple in the protestant church and often requested for funerals. The song did not gain popularity until after celebrating its fiftieth birthday. Cliff Barrows, the song leader for the Billy Graham crusades brought How Great Thou Art to international fame in the 1940s and 1950s during the London Crusades. The text was written […]

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Behind the Song: His Eye Is On the Sparrow

One day in 1905, Mrs. Civilla Martin visited a friend that was bedridden. Concerned for her friend she asked her how she dealt with discouragement. The friend replied, “Mrs. Martin, how can I be discouraged when my Heavenly Father watches over each little sparrow and I know he loves and cares for me.” Hearing these words Mrs. Martin immediately put […]

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Behind the Song Sunday: Blessed Assurance

  Fanny Crosby went blind at the age of six weeks in 1820. Her blindness was not necessary but was due to an improper medical procedure. One day in 1873, Fanny was visiting her friend Phoebe Knapp. Phoebe began to play a tune for Fanny, which she {Phoebe} had composed. She asked Fanny what the tune said to her. Fanny’s […]

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Behind the Song Sunday: Because He Lives

  Because He Lives, was written by Bill and Gloria Gaither. The couple are still a popular Southern Gospel performers and songwriters of our day. The couple met while they were both teachers and were married in 1962. By the end of the 1960s, the Gaither’s had two daughters and were expecting their third child. They were traveling and singing […]

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Song Story: My Father’s Eyes

In honor of Father’s Day, I wanted to do a special song for the father’s out there. My Father’s Eyes was released by a young Amy Grant on her 1979 album. This song gave Amy Grant her first Christian #1 hit. The song was written by Gary Chapman, who later became Amy Grant’s first husband.  The two toured the song together […]

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Behind the Song Sunday: Just A Closer Walk with Thee

Just A Closer Walk with Thee was considered one of the favorite southern gospel hymns of the 20th Century.  However, its origins remain a mystery. The hymn is considered to be one of the most requested songs at funerals. The song gained national popularity in the 1930s, when African American churches sung it at musical conventions.  By the 1940s, the […]

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Behind the Song: The Lily of the Valley

In 1881, Charles Fry was inspired by the imagery in the Song of Solomon. “‘I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valleys.’ Like a lily among the thorns, so is my darling among the maidens. Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men. In his shade I […]

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