Hymn Story: The King of all Kings

George Beverly Shea performed the song “The King of All Kings.”  He released the song in 1954 alongside “If You Know the Lord.” The song was written by Stuart Hamblen (1908-1989), a singer and songwriter. He was one of radio’s first singing cowboys and later became a Chrisitan songwriter. Hamblen has been inducted into numerous hall of fames such as […]

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Hymn Story: The Bright Forever

Fanny Crosby wrote “The Bright Forever.”  Sometimes it’s referred to by the beginning line “Breaking through the clouds that gather.” Crosby met many distinguished figures in American history, including Henry Clay. She wrote of one encounter with the politician.  “When Mr. Clay came to the institution during his last visit to New York, I was selected to welcome him with […]

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Hymn Story: Praise, Praise His Name 

Praise, Praise His Name was written by Fanny Crosby.  The hymn is often referred to by its first line “On the desert mountain straying.” Crosby became blind at a very young age but became a prolific hymnwriter. After finishing her education, she became a teacher at the New York Institution for the Blind in 1847. She taught English grammar, rhetoric, […]

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Song Story: It took a Miracle

John W. Peterson wrote the hymn “It Took a Miracle” in 1948. Peterson was born on November 1, 1921 and died on September 20, 2006.  He wrote over 1,000 songs and thirty-five cantatas throughout the course of his career. Some of this best-known hymns include “Heaven Came Down,” “Jesus is Coming Again,” and “Over the Sunset Mountains.” Performers such as […]

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Song Story: If You Know the Lord

George Beverly Shea performed the song “If You Know the Lord.”  He released the song in 1954. The song was written by Bickley Reichner (1905-1989). I’ve been able to find no additional information on the composer. Shea served as the vocalists for specials at the Billy Graham Crusades.  He died in 2013 at the age of 104.

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Hymn Story: All That Thrills My Soul is Jesus

“All that Thrills My Soul is Jesus” was written by Thoro Harris. Harris was born on March 31, 1874 in Washington, D.C. He produced is first hymnal in 1902 while living in Boston, MA.  Throughout his life he composed and compiled numerous works and became known for walking around Chicago (where he’d moved) to sell books from canvas bags he […]

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Hymn Story: Rise Up, O Men of God

William Pierson Merrill wrote “Rise up, O Men of God!” in 1911. Merrill was born on January 10, 1867 in Orange, New Jersey. He was ordained in 1890 and attended seminary working his way up to a Doctor of Divinity in 1904. Throughout this time he served several churches and met his wife at one of them.  He married Clara […]

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Hymn Story: The King’s Business

Elijah Taylor Cassel wrote “The King’s Business” in 1902. Cassel was born on November 27, 1849 in Indiana. At a young age his family moved to Nebraska. He completed a medical education and practiced in Hastings, Nebraska. Cassel married Flora Hamilton and both were talented musicians. Around 1910, he left his medical practice for the ministry and served a church […]

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Hymn Story: Jesus! What a Friend of Sinners!

Jesus! What a Friend of Sinners! was written by J. Wilbur Chapman and first published in 1910. Chapman was born in 1859 in Richmond, Indiana and attended a Quaker Day School and Methodist Sunday School as a youngster. As a young man he received a seminary degree from Lane Theological Seminary in Cincinnati, OH and later was awarded a Doctorate […]

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Hymn Story: Ivory Palaces

Famous evangelist Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman preached at Montreat (Presbyterian conference grounds) in Western, NC in the summer of 1915. He spoke on Psalm 45 and referenced a book he’d written in 1893 Ivory Palaces of the King. Chapman believed the hymn spoke of the relationship of Christ (the bridegroom) to his bride (the church). In the congregation that day […]

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Hymn Story: Jesus and His Love

“Jesus and His Love” is a hymn that I heard at the end of a Little House on the Prairie episode (The Gift). It is a hymn that is new to me and seems to have been written by W. Howard Doane and John R. Clemons. W. Howard Doane wrote the refrain or chorus for this hymn. He was born […]

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