If That Isn’t Love

If that inst love









He left the splendour of heaven
Knowing His destiny
Was the lonely hill of Golgotha
There to lay down His life for me

And if that isn’t love
Then the ocean is dry
There’s no stars in the sky
And the little sparrows can’t fly
Yeah if that isn’t love
Then heaven’s a myth
There’s no feeling like this
If that isn’t love

Even in death He remembered
The thief hanging by His side
Then he spoke of love and compassion
And He took him to paradise

And if that isn’t love
Then the ocean is dry
There’s no stars in the sky
And the little sparrows can’t fly
Yeah if that isn’t love
Then heaven’s a myth
There’s no feeling like this
If that isn’t love
It’s got to be love

This beautiful song was written in 1969 by a lady who was born Joyce Reba Luttrell in Madisonville, Kentucky in 1934 to Jerald Vernon “Chick” and Elizabeth Luttrell. In later years and throughout her life she was most known as Dottie Rambo. According to her own personal accounts, she grew up in poverty and developed an early affinity for country music. She learned to play guitar while listening at night to the Grand Ole Opry on WSM radio in Nashville. At eight years of age, she started writing songs while sitting on a creek bank near her Morganfield, Kentucky home. She had the support of her mother and father, and by age ten she was singing and playing country music cover tunes on a local radio program.

At twelve years old, she became a born-again Christian and made a commitment to write and sing Christian music. The decision turned out to be pivotal in more than one way; it did not sit well with her father who gave her an ultimatum – give up Christian music or leave. She left home and went on the road, with her first engagement being at a church in Indianapolis, Indiana. She formed a trio called “The Gospel Echoes” and travelled throughout the midwestern and southern United States. “The Gospel Echoes” would consist of several members over the years including “Pat Green” and “Little Joe Hatfield”.

In 1950, at age sixteen, she met Buck Rambo at a revival meeting she was holding with evangelist Jimmie Russell. They married shortly thereafter and began travelling and singing together after years of her travelling alone and living with pastors’ families.

Throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s, Rambo’s distinctive voice and affecting delivery won her legions of fans around the world. By the mid-1980s, she experienced health problems that sidelined her for almost two decades, until the 2003 release of Stand By The River, her first solo project in 18 years. The title cut, a duet with Dolly Parton, garnered massive airplay and was nominated as 2003 Song of the Year by the Christian Country Music Association.

Rambo ranks with the legendary Fanny Crosby as women who have had the greatest impact in the field of gospel music. With more than 2,500 published songs, hardly any modern hymnal fails to include one or more of Rambo’s songs.

She is the author of classics such as “He Looked Beyond My Fault And Saw My Need” and the 1982 Gospel Music Association Song of the Year, “We Shall Behold Him.” She received a Dove Award in 1999 for her song, “I Go To The Rock,” sung by Whitney Houston in the hit motion picture The Preacher’s Wife.

Other well-known titles by Rambo include “If That Isn’t Love,” “The Perfect Rose,” “Behold the Lamb,” “Build My Mansion Next Door To Jesus,” “Too Much to Gain to Lose,” “Remind Me Dear Lord,” “Tears Will Never Stain the Streets Of That City,” “I Will Glory In The Cross” and “I’ve Never Been This Homesick Before.”

In 2002 Rambo re-entered the studio to record her first solo album in eighteen years. The result was the award-winning hit ‘’Stand By The River’’. The title track a duet with Dolly Parton would go to the number one spot of the Christian Country Radio Chart as did its follow up, “I’m Gonna Leave Here Shoutin”. In 2004 a major live concert DVD/cd project “We Shall Behold Him: A Tribute to Dottie Rambo” was released. The concert was hosted by Barbara Mandrell and included performances by Dolly Parton, Crystal Gayle, Larry Gatlin, The Isaacs, Jessy Dixon, Vestal Goodman, The Speers, The Crabb Family, Albertina Walker and others.

Dottie Rambo died on May 11, 2008, as a result of injuries sustained in a bus accident along Interstate 44 just outside of Mount Vernon, Missouri. She had just finished a performance at Calvary Life Church in Granite City, Illinois and was en route to a Mother’s Day show in Texas when the 1997 Prévost bus she was traveling in ran off the road, struck a guard rail and hit an embankment. Rambo was pronounced dead at the scene. Rambo’s manager Larry Ferguson and his family were injured in the crash.

Her funeral was held at Christ Church in Nashville, Tennessee on May 19, 2008. She was interred at the Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Nashville.

 Couple of comments about the song

He left the splendour of heaven; Knowing His destiny.  He left the beauty of heaven with a purpose. He knew exactly what he came for. To live as a lowly man upon the earth so that he could be the saviour of mankind. He came knowing well he was to die. His death was not an accident but out of love for us. T he Son of God left the splendor of heaven, took on human flesh, gave us the will of God, and eventually succumbed to death on a cross in order to save humanity from an impending hell. After He was crucified on a Roman cross; three days later He physically rose from the dead conquering the great adversary of God, Satan. He showed Himself to over five hundred people on at least ten different occasions and then physically ascended back to heaven to take a seat at the right hand of God His Father.

Was the lonely hill of Golgotha. He did not mind going through that lonely experience of shame and dying alone at the cross only if that would save my soul. Yes there to lay down His life for me. Jesus Christ now acts as our mediator in heaven against our adversary. I know that only through Him is the only way a person will ever have entrance to heaven. Through His blood, and nothing else, can a person be made right with God and have his sins washed away forever, otherwise mankind has no hope. That is why he endured the lonely cross.

And if that isn’t love . Then nothing ever makes sense. Even creation was never made. The ocean is dry. There’s no stars in the sky and the little sparrows can’t fly even if we see them flying. If that isn’t love. There is no greater love than this. There is no greater gift that  can ever be given. To be willing to die, so another can live – there is no greater love than this. True Jesus is infinite Majesty. but He is also infinite goodness and love and there can never be any more ardent lover than He.

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