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.
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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*

 

6 comments:

  1. I have looked up the background of hymns for many years, I know I would love this book. Thank you.

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    1. I love to learn the story behind hymns too. One of my favorite series is "Then Sings My Soul" by Robert J. Morgan. That series covers so many wonderful hymns!

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  2. I love the old hymns and so many have been replaced. Thank you for the stories behind these songs; it's always nice to know the backgrounds of some songs.

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    1. I love the old hymns too! They are so special to me.

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  3. We sing the old hymns daily as a family at meal time. They comfort and strengthen our hearts. Have a blessed day.
    Mrs C

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  4. I enjoy learning about some of the old hymns also, thank you for sharing your review about this book! I have some favorite hymns that are not commonly found in most hymnbooks - I wish they were.

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