HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.
Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.
Words: Oswald Jeffrey Smith (b. Nov. 8, 1889; d. Jan. 25, 1986)
Music: Homer Alvan Rodeheaver (b. Oct. 4, 1880; d. Dec. 18, 1955)
Note: One evening in 1939, evangelist Harry Rimmer preached on John chapter 11, about how Jesus’ friend Lazarus died, and how the Lord raised Him from the dead. The evangelist described the sorrowful scene in the home of Mary and Martha (the sisters of Lazarus). Then, he paused, and with a shout of triumph cried, “Then Jesus came! That changed everything!”
Shortly afterward, song leader Homer Rodeheaver, who was in that meeting, asked Canadian pastor Oswald Smith to create a song on that theme. Inspired by the sermon, Smith wrote the gospel song entitled Then Jesus Came.
Over the last half century, the history of computer development is a record of growing capacity, increasing speed, and shrinking size.
The early monsters filled a room with equipment, and did only simple calculations. UNIVAC computers, in 1952, weighed 29,000 pounds (13,000 kgs), and cost a million dollars each. What a difference today! Our smart phones do more, access more information, and can be carried in a pocket.
Or take another field of endeavour. Until well into the twentieth century, Roger Connor was professional baseball’s home run king. He knocked in 138 of them, over an eighteen-year career. Then, along came Babe Ruth. Nicknamed the Sultan of Swat, he blasted in 714 homers in the twenty-two years he played. Connor averaged seven or eight home runs per year, Ruth averaged thirty-two. What a difference! He revolutionized the game.
Travel provides another example. In the nineteenth century, the opening of the Suez Canal, and the building of transcontinental railroads made remote corners of the globe more accessible than ever. The possibilities fascinated author Jules Verne. In 1873, he published his classic novel Around the World in 80 Days. It tells of a huge wager made by an Englishman on whether the title’s feat could actually be done. (It could, if conditions along the way were almost perfect.) But what a difference a century later! In 1980, a jet plane circled the globe in under sixty hours.
But all these differences pale when contrasted with what happened at the coming of Christ. In His miraculous conception, God the Son took on our humanity (Lk. 1:34-35). Then, in the three short years of His adult ministry, He taught the multitudes, and demonstrated His supernatural power again and again. He healed the sick, and raised the dead. He conquered demon powers, and repeatedly showed His mastery of the forces of nature.
But why did the Lord perform His miracles? Many, of course, had a benevolent purpose. They helped those who received them. But the miracles also demonstrated Christ’s deity, and authenticated His message (Acts 2:22). And they encouraged people to put their faith in Him. “These [miracles, or “signs,” as John calls them] are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (Jn. 20:30-31).
Then, after His years of wonderful ministry, Jesus died, crucified on a Roman gibbet. But even His death was different. For one thing, He didn’t remain in the tomb. On the third day after His burial He rose from the dead, conquering death and the grave (Matt. 28:5-6). And His death accomplished what no other could.
The Bible teaches that the Lord Jesus, though sinless, took upon Himself the punishment for your sin and mine (I Cor. 15:3; II Cor. 5:21). When we trust in Him as our Saviour, His payment of the debt of sin is credited to us, and we receive the gift of eternal life (Jn. 3:16). And, when a seeking sinner trusts in Him, another life is touched with transforming power. What a difference He makes!
Paul, a proud Pharisee earlier called Saul, was filled with hatred toward all who put their faith in Christ (Acts 8:1, 3; 9:1-2). But he met the risen, glorified Christ on the road to Damascus, and his whole life was turned around. What a difference! He began serving Christ and preaching the gospel he’d earlier despised (9:20-22).
1) One sat alone beside the highway begging,
His eyes were blind, the light he could not see;
He clutched his rags and shivered in the shadows,
Then Jesus came and bade his darkness flee.
When Jesus comes the tempter’s pow’r is broken;
When Jesus comes the tears are wiped away.
He takes the gloom and fills the life with glory,
For all is changed when Jesus comes to stay.
4) So men today have found the Saviour able,
They could not conquer passion, lust and sin;
They broken hearts had left them sad and lonely,
Then Jesus came and dwelt, Himself, within.
1) What differences has the Lord Jesus made in your life?
2) For whom are you presently praying that they would turn to Christ and be saved?