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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: Rodney Simon (“Gypsy”) Smith (b. Mar. 31, 1860; d. Aug. 4, 1947)
Music: Ensign Edwin Young (b. Jan. 3, 1895; d. July 22, 1980)
Note: Rodney Smith was born in a gypsy tent in Epping Forest, near London. He had no formal education, and could neither read nor write in his early years. His family made a living by selling baskets, tinware and clothes pegs. After his mother died, when Rodney was a boy, his father trusted Christ as Saviour, as did Rodney himself in his early teens.
As an adult, Smith became an ardent evangelist, preaching to large crowds in England, where he soon became known as Gypsy Smith. For nearly seventy years, he was a world traveler, circling the globe twice, preaching the gospel in Britain, France, Australia, South Africa and elsewhere. He made thirty trips to America.
Dreams are fascinating things. The dictionary defines them as: images, thoughts, or emotions passing through the mind during sleep. They have been studied down through recorded history, but there are still unsolved mysteries as to why we dream, or what they might mean.
Apparently, though they are often forgotten after we wake, we dream three to five times a night. Our dreams may last only a few seconds, or take as long as twenty or thirty minutes. They can be pleasant and exciting, or sometimes frustrating and even frightening. With the one we may be sorry to awaken, with the other we are very glad to return to real life!
The line between wakeful reality and sleeping imagery can become somewhat blurred. We can have dreams that seem very real at the time, not like a dream at all. That uncertainty was experienced by a man the Apostle Paul describes–and many Bible scholars believe he may actually be speaking of his own experience. He says:
“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago–whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows–such a one was caught up to the third heaven [Paradise]” (II Cor. 12:2).
Was he physically transported to heaven for a time, or was it a dream? He wasn’t sure. He takes the experience as being from the Lord, but the nature of it is uncertain.
In Bible times, God used dreams and visions to convey important information, or foreshadow coming events. He communicated with Joseph, and Daniel this way, also giving them the ability to interpret the dreams of others (Gen. 40:8, 41; 41:13; Dan. 2:1, 19).
Opinions differ as to whether this sort of gift is given today. But since the Bible was completed, there are no more inspired and infallible revelations coming from the Lord. There is nothing to be added to the Bible. We have the truth we need. We simply have to believe, obey, and share the truth we have.
One day, Gypsy Smith was seated in a train, reading his Bible, on the way to Atlanta, when the man seated across from him asked, “Say, what’s that you’re reading?” When Gypsy Smith told him, the made sneered, “The Bible, hey. Do you believe it–all those stories about the apple, and the flood, and hell and sin, and ‘bout getting to heaven?”
When the evangelist said he did, the man retorted, “You’re worse off than I thought you were! Why, you’re dreaming!” But Gypsy Smith replied:
“Sir, this is the Book that told me God loves me. This is the Book that spoke peace and assurance to a poor barefoot and unlearned boy in a gypsy camp, and has sent him around the world telling the rich and poor, the learned and the unlearned that, in this world wrapped in sin and despair, there is hope eternal in Jesus Christ. Sir, if I’m dreaming, let me dream on!”
Recalling the incident a few days later, Smith wrote the gospel song, Not Dreaming. Calling the Lord our “Lover” as he does, may not appeal to some, thinking of it in exclusively human (and perhaps sexual) terms. However, Charles Wesley makes use of it in one of our greatest hymns, Jesus, Lover of My Soul. It is also found, as “O Lord, Thou lover of souls,” in the apocryphal book, Wisdom of Solomon 11:26. The main point of the song is that God’s salvation, and our eternal relationship with Him, through what Christ has done for us, is no fantasy or dream. We have a real and eternal relationship with the Lord.
1) The world says I’m dreaming, but I know ‘tis Jesus
Who saves me from bondage and sin’s guilty stain;
He is my Lover, my Saviour, my Master,
‘Tis he who has freed me from guilt and its pain.
Let me dream on, if I am dreaming;
Let me dream on, my sins are gone;
Night turns to dawn, love’s light is beaming,
So if I’m dreaming, let me dream on.
2) My home in the Glory is fairer than morning,
And Jesus my Saviour will welcome me there;
No, I’m not dreaming! I’m awake, it is dawning,
His smile and His love I’ll eternally share.
1) What proofs do you have of the reality of your salvation in Christ?
2) How would you answer the man Gypsy Smith met on the train?