Songspiration: Because He Lives

“Because He Lives”, written by Bill and Gloria Gaither in 1971, is one of my all-time favorite songs to sing on Easter Sunday. According to Wikipedia, a majority of the Gaither songs have been sung and recorded by Christian artists such as the David Crowder Band, Carman, Sandi Patty, The Cathedral Quartet, The Speers and the Heritage Singers; and country singers such as The Statler Brothers; and pop artists such as Elvis Presley. Their songs are known worldwide.

The Gaither Trio has received a number of Grammy Awards and GMA Dove Awards, as well as other honors such as ASCAP “Best Gospel Song of the Year”; Christian “Songwriter of the Century”; and they were named among the top 75 American entrepreneurs in “Entrepreneur Magazine” in 1997.

Since Gaither first began singing with the Bill Gaither Trio in the 1950s, he has constantly been performing. The Bill Gaither Trio originally consisted of Bill, his brother Danny Gaither and his sister Mary Ann Gaither. In about 1964, Bill’s wife, Gloria, took Mary Ann’s place. They founded the Gaither Music Company, which includes a record company, concert booking, television production, copyright management, retail store, recording studio, and telemarketing for the Gaither organization, as well as a retail center called Gaither Family Resources.

Gaither’s Homecoming Tours, which began in 1991, brought together major stars of the southern gospel and CCM industry, such as Gary McSpadden, Steve Green, Lee Young, Jon Mohr, Mark Lowry, Larnelle Harris, as well as others.

This Sunday is Easter Sunday and this holiday will be celebrated around the world. The purpose: to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. A number of churches, various denominations, will sing this renowned hymn and will sing it with fervor. It is a song that speaks of Jesus’ love, death, and resurrection, and it is because of this that “we can face tomorrow and life is worth living because He lives.”

As you celebrate Easter resurrection Sunday with your family and loved ones, let us all remember the words in Hebrews 7:24-25:

“But because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood; therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”

May the Lord bless you and keep you all.

Songspiration: In The Garden

This Sunday we will celebrate Palm Sunday. Just before Jesus was betrayed, he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane asking God to “take the cup from him”, knowing that he would be betrayed and then crucified.

According to the Wikipedia Encyclopedia, “In the Garden” was written in 1912 by C. Austin Miles, who served as an editor and manager at Hall-Mack publishers for 37 years. This song was first published in 1912 and popularized during the Billy Sunday evangelistic campaigns of the early twentieth century by two members of his staff, Homer Rodeheaver and Virginia Asher.

Since that time, this song has been recorded and sung by such artists as Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, Doris Day, Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, and Glen Campbell, as well as other recording artists throughout the years. The song is also included on Johnny Cash’s 5-CD box set “Cash Unearthed.”

According to Austin Miles’ great-granddaughter, the song was written “in a cold, dreary and leaky basement in Pitman, New Jersey that didn’t even have a window in it let alone a view of a garden.” I would imagine Austin Miles depicted and imagined a beautiful garden where he felt safe, peaceful, and loved by Jesus as he wrote this beautiful hymn.

When I think about a garden, I envision a place of peace and tranquility, where one can go to reflect and pray, and listen for the voice of God, and talk with him. In this beautifully acclaimed hymn, the first verse and chorus are as follows:

“I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses; And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And he tells me I am His own; And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”

In Matthew 26:36-56, the story is told that Jesus took his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane asking that his disciples stay “awake” while Jesus prayed. But each time Jesus returned to his disciples, He found them asleep. It is during these three times that Jesus tries to tell them that He is going to be betrayed. It wasn’t until Judas arrived with the soldiers that the disciples actually realized what Jesus was talking about. Luke 22:39-46 also recounts this story: Jesus’ betrayal and arrest.

Jesus must have felt “let down” by His disciples because the scripture tells us that Jesus even questioned them about why they could not stay awake for even one hour while He was alone praying.

How would we have reacted if we had the chance to actually be in the same situation? Would we have fallen asleep as well? For many of us, staying awake would have been very difficult.

Jesus wants us to walk, talk, and tarry with Him and He says, “Come to the garden where it is peaceful and you will find rest in me.”

May each of you find joy, peace, and rest in Him continually.