A couple of years ago, Andrea Doering, the outgoing (and outstanding) senior acquisitions editor at Revell Books, asked if I had any ideas for a devotional book based on hymns. I suggested a date-based approach to mining the riches of the hymnbook. I had in mind a cross between the concepts behind two of my other books: “On This Day” and “Then Sings My Soul.”
The result is a brand new devotional book, “Near to the Heart of God,” 366 stories about hymns presented day by day, each on a day connected with that hymn.
Here are some examples from among the January installments:
- You might be surprised to learn that “Amazing Grace” was originally a New Year’s hymn. It was first presented on January 1, 1773, as part of a New Year’s sermon preached by John Newton in Olney, England.
- The wonderful music for the hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” was written by Lowell Mason, the “Father of American Church Music,” who was born January 8, 1792.
- The great hymn, “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me,” was sung by the perishing passengers aboard the steamship London as it sank in a gale on January 11, 1866.
- B.B. McKinney wrote the powerful invitational hymn, “Wherever He Leads I’ll Go,” during a Sunday School Convention on January 17, 1936, in Clanton, Alabama.
- January 21 is the birthday of Edward Mote, a cabinetmaker and preacher, who wrote the favorite Gospel song, “The Solid Rock” (“My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”).
Out of the lives of composers, poets, hymnists, and out of the stories of the hymns themselves come 366 true stories, plus the words of these theological gems we call hymns — all with the purpose of encouraging your day with the deep, timeless truths of our Scriptures and our songbooks.
“Near to the Heart of God” will be released in October. Find out how you can reserve one of the first copies at an incredibly low price by clicking here.