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Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Fanny Crosby tombstone in Bridgeport Connecticut
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'"Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith" (Hebrews 10:22).
Fanny Crosby is surely one of the most prolific hymnwriters in the history of the church. I am sure most of our readers regardless of language, nationality or even musical taste have sung her hymns. In fact this past Sunday morning we sang "I am Thine O Lord", one of her many well-known hymns. Other hymns you may recognize are All the Way My Savior Leads Me, Close to Thee, To God be The Glory, Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior, and so many others still sung in many churches.
Yesterday we stopped along I-95 in Bridgeport, Connecticut at the Mountain Grove Cemetery where Fanny Crosby is buried. The cemetery was designed by the famous circus founder PT Barnum. His monument is very near that of Fanny Crosby's.
On a small, very weathered stone at the foot of the grave that we assume to be the original tombstone we read these words, "Aunt Fanny.....She hath done what she could." Although blinded shortly after her birth she faithfully served the Lord. She overcame her disability to leave a lasting impact for Christ. She once shared this remarkable outlook, "It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me."
Her main tombstone, which Brooksyne is standing beside in the photo above, has the words to one of her best known hymns,
"Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of the Spirit, washed in His blood."
The message from this hymn text is one that is such a blessing to hide deep in our hearts; a musical expression of praise and glory to God for His work of salvation in our lives. Crosby writes about the assurance Christ gives us of His redemptive work in our lives here on earth and a foretaste of the glorious rejoicing that will take place through all eternity.
What a great blessing this assurance is. Assurance, not a commonly used word apart from theology, comes from the word assure which in turn comes from the word, sure. It speaks of the certainty of our salvation.
In today's text from the book of Hebrews we read a wonderful phrase, the "full assurance of faith." This is surely a sound Biblical basis for Fanny Crosby's song. It's one of the greatest blessing of life to have a full assurance of faith. May the Lord fill your heart with blessed assurance today.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, as heirs of Your salvation, we have been purchased with the sacrificial blood of Your precious Son, Jesus. He gave His all that we might be saved from the eternal consequences of sin and have our names written in the Lamb's Book of Life. We have the blessed assurance that we are redeemed from sin and saved for eternity in heaven. Thank You for such wondrous love and abundant provision on our behalf. Amen.
Today we are in Massachusetts and have a funeral service for our friend Hope Winchoba whom we wrote about in yesterday's message. This afternoon as we head back to Pennsylvania we will travel to Newport, Rhode Island which was one of our favorite day trips when we lived up this way.
P.T. Barnum's tombstone is very near fanny Crosby's. Just before his death on April 7, 1891, PT Barnum gave permission to the local paper The Evening Sun to print his obituary so that he could read it before he died!
Little Tom Thum, another interesting person in history, is also buried in the same area with a life size statue Barnum purchased and placed at the top of his gravestone.
Yesterday on our drive up we saw the Thimble Islands in Long Island Sound off the coast of Connecticut. People have homes on these tiny islands and commute to work by boat! An interesting coincidence in our research about Tom Thum is that he too owned a specially adapted home here on one of the Thimble Islands before his death in 1883.
Last night we drove by the Winchoba home on West Island. On the way back to the mainland from their small house we always drove down this dirt road leading right into the bay following our visit. Stephen would pretend the brakes weren't working and that we were going in the water (a stunt his father also did). We had to do it again just for old times sake late yesterday afternoon.
Ester will never outgrow the thrill of this little excursion.
Last night following the visitation we had a wonderful time of fellowship with Wayne and Yvette who both have great testimonies of changed lives. They are now in ministry and seeking God's direction.
Her testimony is here.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Blessed Assurance" Video
(Click on the link to play)
Today we will share music links to two of Fanny Crosby's hymns:
"Blessed Assurance" Audio from the Lifespring Hymnstory podcast. This is one of Fanny Crosby's most beloved hymns. This version has the story as well as a nice version of the hymn.
"To God Be The Glory" podcast Audio This includes the hymn background and the hymn. Steve Webb does an outstanding job of preparing these messages. Here's the website.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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