Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Stories Behind the Songs & Hymns About Heaven

In times of doubt, fear, and loss, we turn to the songs and hymns that remind us that this world is not all there is--that what awaits us as followers of Jesus is a heavenly kingdom. Songs like "Face to Face," "Amazing Grace," "Victory in Jesus," and "I'll Fly Away" were written amid circumstances of great personal pain in the lives of the songwriters. In sharing their stories, we can find even more comfort in our own circumstances.
Stories Behind the Songs & Hymns About Heaven
By: Ace Collins

Stories Behind the Songs & Hymns About Heaven by Ace Collins contains the stories behind 30 well loved songs that were inspired by thoughts of heaven. Each of the thirty chapters begins with a scripture that applies to the song and story behind the song, when possible the lyrics to the song are included. Some of the songs are still within copyright laws, therefore the lyrics to those songs are not provided.

I was at times surprised but delighted with the wide variety of songs shared in this volume. I expected songs such as "Shall We Gather at the River" and "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder", but did not expect songs like "This Ole House". Some of the songs presented in this book were new to me and I enjoyed having the chance to look these songs up on-line and to hear them for the first time.

Many of the songs and hymns about heaven were written by people who were facing hard times. They came from hearts weary of this world, hearts longing for heaven and a day without tears. I was inspired by the testimonies of some of these writers, they faced great hardship and many faced tragedies, but they did not lose sight of God and His promise of an eternal home with Him in heaven.

It is hard to choose a favorite song/hymn from Stories Behind the Songs & Hymns About Heaven so I will include a few of my favorites.

"Beyond the Sunset" was written against the backdrop of the great depression. The writer, Virgil P. Brock, was wearied by all he saw around him. It seemed there was no hope left in the world. While spending a weekend with his blind cousin he was inspired by the "vision" and faith of his cousin. Though unable to see with physical sight, his cousin's soul was able to see "beyond the sunset".

Another favorite was" This Ole House". I have always enjoyed singing along with Rosemary Clooney's rendition of this song, while little knowing the deeper meaning the writer meant to convey. The composer of this song was a popular cowboy radio host. He wrote many songs that pointed his audience to God."This Ole House" was inspired by a hunting trip, a chance encounter with an old house and its recently heaven bound occupant.

I've always loved the song "He Keeps Me Singing", the chorus can get stuck in my head for days! The testimony behind this song was heartbreaking. But the faith of the composer, Luther Burgess Bridgers, was inspiring. After losing his wife and three sons it was his faith in meeting them in heaven one day that kept him singing and serving his Savior Jesus. After years of believing and trusting he was able to see the fruit of his faith and the far reaching power of his song had on so many.

Another favorite was "Face to Face". I loved that the theme of this song was a desire to see our Savior face to face! That the real attraction of heaven is our Savior and not simply an escape from life's difficulties. "Face to Face" was written by Carrie Breck, a wife and mother blessed with the gift to encourage others with her gift of poetry.

There were a few stories that I found a little tedious to read, as they outlined how a song became popular rather than the people behind the song. Definitely those stories were important too, to show how God can use a song at just the right time to bless people. Overall I really enjoyed Stories Behind the Songs & Hymns About Heaven and would recommend it.

*I received a complimentary copy of Stories Behind the Songs & Hymns About Heaven from Baker Books Bloggers in exchange for my honest review*


Monday, April 20, 2020


Earlier this month we enjoyed the first of our springtime flowers, crocuses. My little girl loves flowers and was excited to pick dainty bouquets for our kitchen table. In the picture above you can see her collection of bouquets in her tiny tea cups.
 Jemimah loves to color, and I am grateful to find a wonderful variety of coloring pages through Pinterest. I am always especially pleased to find scripture verses for her to color. Over the past two months Jemimah has memorized all of the verses comprising the Romans Road. It truly blesses my heart to hear my daughter recite the many scriptures she has memorized over the past year.
 Our new hens have begun egg production! After a long winter of not collecting any eggs it has been wonderful to have an abundance of eggs to share once again. Since we have a variety of breeds this time, it is nice to take note of the variances of the egg shell colors. My sister commented how some of the eggs are almost mauve in their hue.
 Over the winter Jemimah learned to embroider. Embroidery was one of my favorite pastimes when I was a youngster, however I will admit I didn't learn to embroider quite as young as Jemimah has. She spent many painstaking hours creating this precious kitty tea towel for me. I know that I will treasure it forever!
 My most recently completed project is a crocheted afghan. It has been quite a while since I crocheted an afghan. It had been on my mind that I would like to crochet an afghan for our living room.
My grandma was quite prolific in her crocheting of afghans. All three of her children, as well as some grandchildren were gifted with multiple hand crocheted afghans. Growing up I always loved to nap under one of grandma's afghans. I thought of my grandma a lot while crocheting this afghan. It was my grandma who taught me to crochet, and this pattern is very similar to a pattern she crocheted a number of times.
 I am really pleased with the end result! It is super cozy and I love the stitch pattern. It was fun to crochet as it was not overly repetitive, but was simple to memorize.
Did you all have a nice Resurrection Sunday? We did, even if it was quiet and different. One of the special treats we enjoyed this Easter was chocolate cream pie. I thought I would share the recipe today. Over the past few years it has become a family favorite and one of my most requested desserts to bring to family gatherings. In fact my one sister always asks me to make her a chocolate cream pie for her birthday and wedding anniversary. : )

Chocolate Cream Pie

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix ingredients well in a medium saucepan. Then add:

3 3/4 cups milk (I recommend whole milk)
Cook over medium-high heat. Stir constantly. Mixture will come to a boil. Boil 1 minute or until the pudding is thick. Then add:

3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix well. Pour into an already baked pie crust. Chill in refrigerator until completely cool. I typically allow my pie to cool overnight in the refrigerator. Then top with homemade whipped cream, and if you are feeling extra festive maybe some sprinkles.

To close I would like to share a devotional I recently read in David Jeremiah's daily devotional Turning Points.
The Lord has promised good things.
Numbers 10:29

In his commentary on the book of Joshua, John Calvin wrote, “Our faith, unless founded solely on [God’s] promise, must be continually wavering…. Faith ought properly to recline on the truth of God alone.”
Are you troubled today? The Bible says, “For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion” (Psalm 27:5).

Do you feel weak? The Lord declares, “My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Are you anxious about how a situation will work out? Proverbs 3:5-6 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

For every pulsing thought, there is a pulsating Scripture. There’s always a Bible verse waiting to be requisitioned to your need. Search it out and write it on the tablet of your mind. If our faith is founded solely on God’s promises, we’ll be unwavering.

That which God promises to us in word he seals by act.
John Calvin
 "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
2 Peter 1:2-4

Saturday, April 11, 2020

One Day

One Day

One day when heaven was filled with His praises,
  One day when sin was as black as could be,
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin—
  Dwelt among men, my example is He!
Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me;
  Buried, He carried my sins far away;
Rising, He justified freely forever:
    One day He’s coming—O glorious day!
One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain,
  One day they nailed Him to die on the tree;
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected;
  Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He.
One day they left Him alone in the garden,
  One day He rested, from suffering free;
Angels came down o’er His tomb to keep vigil;
  Hope of the hopeless, my Savior is He
One day the grave could conceal Him no longer,
  One day the stone rolled away from the door;
Then He arose, over death He had conquered;
  Now is ascended, my Lord evermore.
One day the trumpet will sound for His coming,
  One day the skies with His glory will shine;
Wonderful day, my beloved ones bringing;
  Glorious Savior, this Jesus is mine!
-J. Wilbur Chapman (1859-1918)

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13

"For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

"Jesus saith unto him,' I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6

 May you have a blessed and beautiful Resurrection Sunday!