Posted by: rcottrill | June 3, 2019

Not Dreaming

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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)

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal (Gypsy Smith)

Note: It’s not often I recommend a secular song (or its performance) on this blog, but I will here, for several reasons. Below, I mention the touching secular ballad, Once Upon a Time. You can hear the recording of the song by 1960’s gifted pop star Bobby Darin, plus some valuable lessons we can draw from it in A Singing Lesson.

In 1962, the musical All American opened on Broadway. After negative reviews, it was soon gone–except for one song, with lyrics by Lee Adams. The wistfully beautiful Once Upon a Time, about a long ago love, has since been recorded by dozens of artists, including Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. In the story, a young man sings, “Once upon a time, the world was sweeter than we knew….How happy we were then.”

It’s a misty, romantic memory. “But somehow once upon a time never comes again.” So, was it real in the first place–or just a lovely dream? He sings, “We didn’t have a care….Everything was ours.” But we know that isn’t a realistic picture of the past. It’s looking at life through the proverbial rose coloured glasses. It’s almost certain the “good old days” weren’t always so good.

We can see an illustration of that in Scripture. Moses, as God’s appointed leader, led the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage and into the wilderness. They were heading for the land of Canaan, which the Lord had promised to them and their descendants. But life in the wilderness, traveling with families, and livestock, wasn’t easy. There were times when water was hard to find, and food too.

When this happened, they complained to Moses, saying, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger” (Exod. 16:3) “We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic” (Num. 11:5).

But was that a true picture of what was happening? We read earlier, “The Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigour [harshness]. And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage–in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field” (Exod. 1:13-14). And, to keep their numbers down, Pharaoh told the midwives to kill all the Hebrew baby boys, at birth (vs. 16). That’s the reality, and they cried out to God for help (Exod. 2:23).

Some years ago, there was a long-haired rock musician who was confronted with the claims of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He knelt in prayer, repenting of his sins, and trusting in the Saviour. But when he got to his feet, he was plagued by nagging doubt. “Am I really saved, or was that all just a pipedream? How stupid! What a fool I made of myself!”

When he got home, there was his grandmother’s old Bible sitting on the table. And the one who’d led him to the Lord had said, “Get a Bible and read the gospel of John.” He thought again, “Maybe it’s all nonsense, but what have I got to lose?” So, he picked up the well-worn book, found the Gospel of John, and started to read.

He told me, with a smile, the moment I started to read, I knew. “It’s real, it’s all real.” And he said, “I’ve never doubted that to this very day. Though he didn’t know it at the time, being untaught, this is something the Bible talks about: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:16).

The same confidence gripped Rodney Smith. Born in a gypsy tent in Epping Forest, near London, “Gypsy Smith” became an evangelist, and made more than forty preaching tours of America and Australia. “I’m God’s messenger from the gypsy tent,” he said. He also wrote many gospel songs, including his theme song, Wonderful Jesus, and 1927’s Not Dreaming.

Note: The third line of the first stanza, in the original, reads, “Jesus my Lover, my Saviour, my Master.” Because of the modern connotation of the word “lover,” it is best to substitute other words, if you use the song.

1) The world says I’m dreaming, but I know ‘tis Jesus
Who saves me from bondage and sin’s guilty stain;
He is belovèd, 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 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.

3) Oh, let me fight on for Jesus my Saviour,
And tell of the love He so wondrously gave;
Preaching or singing, living or dying,
In life or in death He is mighty to save.

1) If doubts come into your mind about spiritual things, what do you do about it?

2) Why do those of the unsaved world ridicule Christ, and our faith in Him?

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (Gypsy Smith)


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