The Old Rugged Cross – The Story Behind The Glory

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During the early years of his ministry, Rev. George Bennard was “praying for a full understanding of the cross and its plan in Christianity.”
Consequently, he spent many hours in study, prayer and meditation, until he could say, “I saw the Christ of the cross as if I were seeing John 3:16 leave the printed page, take form and act out the meaning of redemption.”

During these days the theme of what was to be his most successful song came to him.
He was staying in the Methodist parsonage at Pokagon, Michigan, while engaged in series of service in the Pokagon Church when he finally perfected his song and wrote down the words and music.

“Old Rugged Cross Day” is observed annually at this Church, and on a large stone nearby is carved the names of the original singers and the significance of the event.

The song became immediately popular.
Introduced before a large convention in Chicago, its fame spread rapidly throughout the Christian world.

Today, a twelve-foot high wooden cross stands on a roadside near Reed City, Michigan, honoring the composer.On it are the words ‘Old Rugged Cross.”A sign reminds passersby that this is the “Home of Living Author, Rev. Geo. Bennard.”

—Ernest K. Emurian

The Old Rugged Cross [1]
1. On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

Chorus: So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

2. On that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above,
To bear it to dark Calvary.

3. In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see;
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.

4. To the old rugged cross I will ever be true,
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory for ever I’ll share.

[1]Eckert, Paul,Steve Green’s MIDI Hymnal, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1998.

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Just As I Am – The Story Behind The Hymn

Charlotte Elliott’s brother, Rev. Elliott, was planning the building of a school for daughters of clergymen. The author was then 45 years old, ill of health, and could not help. A special program had been scheduled to help in the fund-raising.

That night she could not sleep and started doubting if she would be useful to the Lord. The next day, everyone went to the program and she was left alone.

As she thought of her weakness, she realized that since salvation was not of works, her Christian life was also to be by faith and trust, that God accepts the weakest person. And taking up her pen, she wrote this hymn of commitment.

Jesus As I Am, Without One Plea

(1) Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou biddest me come to Thee-
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

(2) Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot;
To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

(3) Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Becuase Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

(4) Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yes, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

~Just As I Am (2)
It is said that Sir Henry Norman, an Indian government official, once was converted to Christ by a remark made by Lord Rastock, while conducting a Gospel service.

After he had given a Gospel address, he announced the well-known hymn, “Just As I Am.” He added, “Those who can sing the hymn truthfully, let them sing it heartily; but those who cannot sing it truthfully, ought not to sing it at all, for it is better not to sing than to tell a lie.”

Sir Henry was soundly converted by this remark, and became a true and firm believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. He filled many high government posts, and eventually became a Field Marshall. He died in 1904, a triumphant Christian.
—Christian Victory

~Just As I Am (3)
Probably the most widely used song of consecration today is “Just As I Am.” It has been called the world’s greatest soul-winning hymn.
Its author, Charlotte Elliot, was an invalid most of her life. Many times her weakened condition caused her great lamentation. Such was the case in 1836, when her brother, H.V. Elliot, was raising funds for St. Mary’s Hall at Brighton, England, a college for the daughters of poor clergymen.

Charlotte wanted to have some little part but was hindered by reason of her infirmity. As she pondered how she could help the cause, Charlotte decided to write a poem relevant to others who were physically limited. She remembered the words of a great preacher, Caesar Malton, who had talked to her fourteen years before. He had told her to come to Jesus, just as you are.

The resulting poem was published without Charlotte’s name and was handed to her one day in leaflet form by her doctor, who did not realize that she was its author. Tears streamed down her face as she read the six verses and was told that copies of this poem were being sold and the money given to St. Mary’s Hall. Miss Elliott then realized that she had at last made a significant contribution to the building of the school through the medium of her words of faith and humility:
—Lindsay Terry

I believe you’re blessed by this hymn story, feel free to copy and use the entire text for your use, let the name of the Lord be glorified. Please kindly share this post with your friends to encourage someone. Thanks.

Because He Lives – The Story Behind The Hymn

In the late 1960s, while expecting their third child, Bill and Gloria Gaither were going through a rather traumatic time
in their lives.

Bill was recovering his strength from a bout with mononucleosis. They, along with their church, were the objects of accusation and belittlement.
Gloria was experiencing a time of
torment, including fear of the future and of bringing children
into such a crazy, mixed-up world.

As Gloria sat alone in a darkened living room, tormented,
and fearful, the Lord sent a calm and peaceful rest to her. The power of the resurrection of
Christ seemed to affirm itself in their lives once again. Gloria remembers the realization that it
was LIFE conquering death in the
regularity of my day. The joy seemed to overcome and take
precedent over frightening human circumstances.

And the song Because He Lives came out of their personal bout with darkness:

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Because He Lives
(1) God sent His Son,
they called Him Jesus,
He came to love,
heal, and forgive;
He lived and died
to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove
my Savior lives.

(2) Because He lives I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives All fear is gone;
because I know
He holds the future.
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

(3) How sweet to hold
a newborn baby,
And feel the pride,
and joy He gives;
but greater still
the calm assurance,
This child can face uncertain days
because He lives.

(4) And then one day
I’ll cross the river,
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain;
And then as death gives way to victory,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know he lives.

~Origin of Because He Lives (2)
I am a wife and a mother. It was in the middle of the upheaval in the sixties that we were expecting our third baby.

The drug culture was in full swing, existential thought had obviously saturated every area of our American thought, the cities
were seething with racial tension, and the God-is-dead pronouncement had giggled its way all through our educational system.

On the personal front, Bill and I were going through one of
the most difficult times in our
lives. Bill had been discouraged
and physically exhausted by a
bout with mononucleosis, and in
that weakened condition had
little reserve to fight the psychological battle brought on
by some external family problems. Someone whom we
had cared about a great deal had
hurled some accusations at us
and at the Fellowship of Believers and at the whole idea of the
existence of God.

It was on New Year’s Eve that I sat alone in the darkness and
quiet of our living room, thinking
about the world and our country
and Bill’s discouragement and
the family problems—and about
our baby yet unborn. Who in their right mind would bring a
child into a world like this? I thought, The world is so evil.
Influences beyond our control are so strong. What will happen
to this child?

I can’t quite explain what happened at that moment, but
suddenly I felt released from it all.
The panic that had begun to build inside was gently dispelled
by a reassuring presence that
engulfed my life and drew my attention.

Gradually, the fear left and the joy began to return. I knew I
could have that baby and face the future with optimism and
trust. It was the Resurrection
affirming itself in our lives once again. It was LIFE conquering
death in the regularity of my day.

I Surrender All – The Story Behind The Hymn

~I Surrender All
For five years, Mr. Van de Venter wavered between the challenge of the Gospel ministry and that of becoming a recognized artist. Here is how he tells it:

“For some time, I had struggled between developing my talents in the field of art and going into full-time evangelistic work. At last the pivotal hour of my life came, and I surrendered all.

“A new day was ushered into my life. I became an evangelist and discovered down deep in my soul a talent hitherto unknown to me. God had hidden a song in my heart, and touching a tender chord. He caused me to sing.”

Dr. Billy Graham, wrote this tribute to Mr. Van de Venter:

One of the evangelists who influenced my early preaching was also a hymnist who wrote ‘I Surrender All’—the Rev. J.W. Van de Venter. He was a regular visitor at the Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity Bible College) in the late 1930s. We students loved this kind, deeply spiritual gentleman and often gathered in his winter home at Tampa, Florida, for an evening of fellowship and singing.

 

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I Surrender All

      

(1) All to Jesus I surrender,

All to Him I freely give;

I will ever love and trust Him,

In His presence daily live.

      

CHORUS: I surrender all,

I surrender all,

All to Thee, my blessed Savior,

I surrender all.

      

(2) All to Jesus I surrender,

Humbly at His feet I bow,

Worldly pleasures all forsaken;

Take me, Jesus, take me now.

      

(3) All to Jesus I surrender,

Make me, Savior, wholly Thine.

Let me feel the Holy Spirit,

Truly know that Thou art mine.

      

(4) All to Jesus I surrender,

Lord, I give myself to Thee;

Fill me with Thy love and power,

Let Thy blessing fall on me.