Over the past few years, whenever a hymn is mentioned; I have noticed there are believers who make a face or comment they prefer praise music. This is especially true for those wonderful hymns which have stood the test of time.
When The Roll is Called Up Yonder is often sung on family shows set in in the late 1800’s. The expressions on the faces of the singers do not reflect the significance of this old hymn; however they sing their parts beautifully. Especially the bass on this song. Perhaps they are unaware of the story behind it.
In the book Al Smith’s Treasury of Hymn Histories by Alfred B. Smith.
Mr. Smith tells a precious story of the background for When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder.
(Hearing him tell the story of how Hymns were written was a wonderful experience as he also sang the song. Now he is singing in Heaven with the little girl who inspired this old favorite.)
Sunday School teacher and Epworth League (a young people’s Bible club) James M. Black was walking to the post office in Williamsport PA and decided to take a different route than usual. He walked down an alley and discovered terrible poverty he didn’t know existed in his town.
There was a young girl sweeping the porch. Although she was only fourteen-years-old; she wore the look of poverty and deprivation on her face.
“Do you go to Sunday School?” he asked.
“No sir. I’d like to but I don’t have anything fit to wear; but sir, how I’d love to go,” was her reply.
Mr. Black and his wife made sure she had clothes and everything she needed to make her feel fit to go to Church. Friends even donated clothing for her.
Soon, she was faithful in attendance to both Sunday School and the Epworth League. She was there to respond every time the roll was called until one day when her name was called there was no reply. Mr. Black became concerned that something was wrong. Perhaps her drunken father had refused to allow her to come or had beaten her again.
After Church, Mr. Black made his way through the alley to her ramshackled house. He found a very sick young lady. He sent for his doctor and the news was not good. She was diagnosed with an advanced case of pneumonia.
Walking back home, he couldn’t shake the feeling that had come over him when Bessie had failed to show up for roll call that day. Some day there will be a roll call in Heaven and oh, the sadness there will be for those whose names are not written in the Lambs Book of Life.
He had tried to find a suitable song that morning but couldn’t find one to sing which he could use to impress this truth upon the hearts of the young people. His heart was heavy and disappointed that there was not a song to sing which would impress upon their hearts the need for The Savior.
He ended the service and in his disappointment he felt this was an opportunity lost. Suddenly, a thought came to mind. Why don’t you write one? He said later, “I put away the thought but as I opened the gate and walked up the path to my house, the same thought came again so strongly that tears filled my eyes. I went into the house and sat down at the piano. Without any effort at all the words seemed to tumble from my mind.”
When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound
and time shall be no more;
And the morning breaks Eternal, bright and fair,
When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore,
An the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there.
“After the complete set of words had come, the tune then came in the same manner. I felt that I was only the transcriber – I dared not change a note or word. In a few days I more fully understood why, for our beloved Bessie went home to Heaven to await that glorious day.”
“This song was first sung publicly at her funeral and before singing it, I related the circumstances which led to its writing. Never will I forget the effect it had upon the large audience of friends who had come. The Lord had taken little Bessie home but in her place He had given a song to keep reminding us to be ready for that great roll-call day.”
When The Roll is Called Up Yonder was first published in the Epworth League songbook in 1892. It may have been overlooked and unpublished if Mr. Black had not written the manuscript in green ink. It stood out to publisher, Mr. Charles Gabriel who was editing the book. He later said, “The composer’s name was not familiar to me, but the green ink had made the song stand out. It was a new thought. I played it over, liked it and published it.” The rest is history. (ABS)
Lets sing along with the Gaither and friends as they sing Bessie’s song.
What if this Sunday School teacher had just passed by that dear child and had not invited her to Sunday School or followed through? She may have never received Christ as her Savior, her faithful attendance would not have been a catalyst to the song that has blessed and encouraged so many.
How about you? Is your name written in the Lambs Book of Life? (Revelation 20:11-15)
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved
I have been working on several posts, including two Little Isabel stories, a pictorial demonstration for making soap by my dear friend and a devotional. I was all set to post my Little Isabel story today but my Heavenly Father placed something else on my heart.
This morning after John went to work, I went through the usual routine of putting away the breakfast things, ran the dishwasher, scooped out the litter box, scrubbed my hands, put a load of laundry in the wash and finally, picked up my Bible for devotions. (Okay, by the time I had finished all of the above, vertigo reared its ugly head; forcing me to have my Bible time in a reclining position so I didn’t make a lot of journal notes!)
I opened my Bible to Psalms 145 – 147. Each chapter is filled with a wonderful menagerie of praises, promises and proclamations. I look forward to doing a proper Word study but this morning, I was caught up in the praise. It seemed as if each chapter reminded me of a hymn or chorus and of course, had to sing each one.
“Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised…”
“Praise the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me, bless His Holy name.”
“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever…”
Okay, you get the picture. It was a morning of singing unto the Lord. It didn’t end there. An old song, Jesus is Coming Soon continuously played in my mind and so I sat down at the piano and began to play by ear. I couldn’t even find the lyrics but that’s okay. He knew. Then I went online and listened to a group from the 1960’s sing it just as I had remembered from years ago and then found a YouTube of someone playing the music-the right way! When we got home from dinner, I listened to another Gospel song and another. Then I took my husband’s grandfathers song books he used as the song leader for the Presbyterian Church men’s Sunday School Class in Clifton Forge, Virginia.
It was amazing! I took it to the piano and played so many gems which are quickly becoming obsolete. It makes me sad to know that there will be generations of people who never had the blessing of singing through an old hymnal and knowing the power of God’s Word behind many of the hymns. I was surprised to see the song, No Never Alone by W.A. Hemphill. I thought it was written in the 1960’s (I was saved in 1968) The copyright was 1900! It has always been a favorite. Each old Hymn was like an old friend. As I played and (tried to) sing along, the lyrics amazed, convicted, compelled and challenged me to share the Gospel more freely.
Although I have sung this song many times through the years, one phrase from There is a Fountain stood out.
“Redeeming love has been my theme and shall be till I die.”
I know this song by heart but always focused on the Gospel passages. What a wonderful way to describe our life as believers?
(His) redeeming love has been my theme. What about you? What is the theme of your life? Do you know His redeeming love?
He gave His life for you. Won’t you receive Him today?
If you would like to receive Christ as your Savior but don’t know how, please email me at khpurdywrites4Him@hotmail.com
I will be happy to share His plan of salvation with you!
Sisters and brothers in Christ, I challenge you to go through old hymnals and to dwell on the words. This has always been a blessing to me and always cheers me up!
Thank you for letting me share the music that is in my heart tonight.
“And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives”
Matthew 26:30 (KJV)
I love this verse!
Not just that Jesus and His disciples sang a hymn but because of the timing. He knew and yet He sang!
It was Passover and Jesus had just given the reason for the Passover. As the first Passover was about the Exodus of God’s chosen people; the death angel coming by and if one had the blood of the Lamb on the doorpost and the upper post (which must have looked like a cross), the death angel would pass by. “When I see the blood, I will pass over you,” (Exodus 12:13) It was a picture of The Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God and His redemptive work on the Cross. Jesus then told His disciples what was to happen as He broke the bread and poured the wine.
“This is my body which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me.”
“Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood which is shed for you.”
He knew what was ahead and before He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, plead with the Father and in obedience, to present Himself willing to shed His blood for you and for me. “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not my will, but as Thou wilt.” John 26:39.
Three times He prayed, so intensely, He literally sweat drops of blood. (Luke 22:44) He knew what “this cup” meant and yet, He sang a hymn with His disciples before they went to the Garden to pray. The betrayal, the false accusations, the jeers from the crowds, the sorrow, the pain, the agony of the cross, The Father turning His back as His only begotten, sinless Son bore our sin in His body, the death, the burial and the resurrection – He knew all of this would happen but He gave His life a ransom so that we might have eternal life. Oh, what a Savior!
Do you know Him? Have you received His wonderful gift of salvation?
I have chosen my Mom’s favorite hymn for today’s melody. Each verse of this song tells of His great love for us. It is the Gospel in song. Click on the link below for the music and lyrics. I hope you will sing along with me!
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!
“For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing of birds has come,
and the voice of the turtle dove is heard in our land.”
Song of Solomon 2:11-12
Several years ago, my friend and I sang at a Christian Women’s Conference. Following the music, the speaker had a special exercise for us. She gave us a slip of paper and instructed us to think about the following phrase, “If I could be an animal, what would I be?” we were to write the animal on a slip of paper and to be ready to share with the group and to tell everyone why.
The woman walked around the room making comments and offering suggestions. When she stopped at my chair, I could feel her disapproval. “I don’t think you understand,” she said. “Think of a wonderful, majestic animal. If you must be a bird, why not be something fearless and majestic – an Eagle would be a great choice!”
“But I am not majestic nor am I a bird of prey. I would be a songbird and always will be. As long as I can remember, I sang constantly. Washing dishes, swinging on the swing in our back yard or on the front porch, sweeping the floor, preparing lessons to teach, gently waking my sister and brother. (Okay, that may have been a bit obnoxious but I meant to wake them gently, cheerfully.) Riding in the car, whatever I am doing, I sing. It comes naturally. I don’t usually think about it, it just swells up in my soul and flows past my lips – sometimes I sing without realizing it.”
“Well,” she said, “Eagles soar high and their voice is powerful.”
“I learned many years ago that it isn’t always the loud, powerful songs that touch the soul but the soft, soothing lullabies, quiet songs of consecration, pleading songs of invitation, cheerful songs to lift the weary soul and earnest songs of praise unto the Lord. This is what God placed on my heart for ministry. When I was a candy striper in the hospital, it was hymns sang softly that calmed the hurting, pediatric patients. When I was a small child, my grandfather who suffered from emphysema asked me to sing for him when he was having a difficult time breathing. He always said it helped. This is why I am a songbird. To soothe, to calm, to praise Him and to give Him the glory. I can and do sing the Eagle songs when He places these songs on my heart. He usually gives me the softer songs to sing.”
We each have a job to do. Whether you are soprano, alto, tenor or bass, He has asked us to “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.”
There are so many passages in Scripture about singing; it must be important to the Lord. After all, He made the songbird and the eagle. Whatever bird we fancy ourselves to be isn’t important as long as we lift our voices to Him!
I was playing the piano this weekend and ran across this song. He prompted me to share some of the wonderful old hymns with you and Monday Melody began. So lift your voice with me and sing. (Check out the link below. The group singing reminds me of the Church from my early years as a believer. So if you have a hymnal, turn to the following song and sing along.
I Will Sing the Wondrous Story
♫ Francis H. Rowley ♫ Peter P. Bilhorn
“I will sing the wondrous story of the Christ who died for me
How He left His home in glory for the cross of Calvary.
Yes I’ll sing the wondrous story of the Christ who died for me,
Sing it with the saints in glory, gathered by the crystal sea.”
Delighting in His Majesty!
When you hear the word Majesty, what comes to mind? A king in robe and crown; surrounded by people who must do his bidding? Is the background that of splendor with the man sitting on a throne holding a golden scepter?
The word majestic comes to mind whenever looking at a sunset, the beautiful stars that sparkle like diamonds against a black velvet cushion, or a lovely sunrise whose beauty makes one breathless.
Or perhaps, if you love conservative Christian music as I do, you may think of the publishing company Majesty Music. Ron Hamilton wrote a beautiful song many years taken from this verse. It has been years since I sang it but I still remember hearing him sing this at a conference. The cd is available on the Majesty Music or Ron Hamilton facebook page and on his website. Look for the Rejoice in the Lord cd.
I was trying to locate the lyrics or more specifically, a video of Ron singing How Majestic is Thy Name. Instead, so many wonderful hymns and spiritual songs were listed in the search and I have spent about two hours just singing praises to The Lord. Thinking of His power, majesty and of His great love for us. It still humbles me to think that He – the creator of the universe; the One who spoke the world into existence loves me. I feel as the shepherds must have felt when they – the lowest workers of their day, were visited by an angel of God announcing the birth of the long awaited one; the Savior, which is Christ our Lord. (Luke 2)
Remember how they must have been frightened, The glory of the Lord shown around about them and they were sore afraid.” the Glory of God” had once caused Moses to cover his face so that those who looked upon him would not be blinded. The same Light that illuminates Heaven so that there is no need for sun nor moon in Heaven. And then they were serenaded by a Heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth; peace, good will toward men.”
The most wonderful experience for these weathered, lowly shepherds that night was that they were able to bow down and worship the babe – Emmanuel (which means “God with us”), our Savior, the long awaited Messiah, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world, our sacrifice, the Good Shepherd, Redeemer, the Light of the world, the Bread of Life, God in flesh. The one who came to bear their sins and mine on the cross of Calvary.
On Christmas Eve, at our wonderful service, my mind kept going to Isaiah 53 where His death is prophesied. “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before it’s shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. This my friends, is majesty. This is love. Oh, how my heart swells with love for Him whenever I read this chapter. You see, it was written long before He was born. He inspired the Words (literally were God breathed.) I look at the cross – the death, burial and resurrection of the precious, sinless Son of God and praise Him. And then I look forward to the rapture when we shall meet Him in the clouds and so shall we ever be with the Lord. What splendor!
He will come again as The King of King and Lord of Lords. Every knee shall bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!
That tiny little virgin born baby is all of this. He is Majesty. One song kept popping up in the search and I must have played it three times tonight. http://youtu.be/CHZcgK43Sr0 Bow The Knee.
As we begin this new year, lets reflect on His Majesty and bow the knee. He alone is worthy of our praise.
I must share this one thing. As I was reviewing the videos, dwelling on the meaning of the songs and singing along, my heart felt it would break as one of the videos showed Ron Hamilton directing a choir at what was listed as Music College. Why should this bring tears? For as long as I can remember, singing was always a part of my life. When I received Christ as my Savior in 1968, I promised I would sing only for Him as He opened the doors. And He opened many doors! My prayer through the years prior to singing has always been, “may they hear Your voice, Lord not mine – that You will be glorified.” Because of poor health, it has been a long time since I have been able to sing solos and years since I had the joy of singing with a choir. Oh, that He may allow me to sing in the choir in Heaven some day! Until then, I will continue to sing to Him in devotions, in prayer, as I wash dishes…
So friends, as you bow the knee before Him in prayer, if He prompts you, sing with the joy of knowing Him and His majesty.
One Little Candle
One little candle burning bright
Warm and welcoming source of light
Bright speck in the dark and gloom
A spot of light within the room
Its waxen arms seem to raise
Little hands in a sign of praise
Will we be like that candle bright?
A warm and welcoming source of light?
Lighting the way so others may see
The True Light, the Life, the One who sets us free
Will we be a bright speck in the dark and gloom?
A spot of light within the room?
Do others see us praise the King?
The Maker and Ruler of everything
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Used with permission from the Author.
One of my college professors at Piedmont Bible College defined love as:
“To purpose the good of another without benefit to oneself.” (Dr. Robert Delnay)
I Corinthians 13 tells us how.