Jump Start # 2740
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
For the past couple of days we have been taking a look at some of my favorite hymns. That very thought, “Favorite Hymns,” is hard to choose. There are so many great ones. I have picked out a few that have been very special to me through the years.
Next on my list is the hymn, “Blessed Assurance.” Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! What a wonderful thought and concept that is. And, that ties in directly with our verse today, having confidence. In the King James, our verse is stated, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace…” The opposite of confidence or boldness is to be scared, unsure, and timid. God is to be feared. God is not like us. We know what we have done and that alone can make us shy about approaching Him. But through the saving grace of Jesus Christ, we not only have forgiveness, but confidence. We are not cocky, careless or thinking it’s all about us, because it’s not. It is all about Jesus. Therefore we come, we come with assurance to the throne of God.
The hymn “Blessed Assurance” was written by the very gifted Fanny J. Crosby in 1873. Fanny Crosby has been called the “Queen of hymn writers.” There are 8,000 hymns attributed to Fanny Crosby. Others would include, “To God be the glory,” “Praise Him, Praise Him,” “All the way my Savior leads me,” and “Jesus is tenderly calling you home.” Crosby also wrote over 1,000 secular poems. And, what is remarkable about all of this is that she was blind from the age of six weeks. As an infant, she had an eye infection. A mustard poultice was applied to her eyes which damaged the optic nerve and left her permanently blind. Crosby was born in the state of New York in 1820 and died in 1915. Books containing her lyrics sold over 100 million copies but because of the low regard for lyricists and the hypocrisy of many publishers, Crosby received very little money for all her work.
The story behind “Blessed Assurance,” is that Crosby was visiting her friend Phoebe Knapp, who wrote many of the musical scores for her hymns. Knapp played a new melody for Crosby and at the conclusion Crosby replied, “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine.”
Some lessons from all of this:
First, our walk of faith must involve the assurance of what God has promised. No, we are not good enough and we will never be good enough. We must move past that and get our eyes off of ourselves. Our hope is in the Lord. That wonderful John 3:16 passage promises, “whoever believes in Him should not perish,” is true. We have not always said the right thing. We have let God down more than we’d like to admit. But, as John wrote, if we walk in the light as He is in the light, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. You and I can please God. You and I can make it to Heaven. How do I know that? God says so. We must believe Him.
Second, our confidence and assurance can be a source of help for others. There are so many Christians that live with doubt. They just feel that they aren’t going to make it. Defeated and discouraged they drag into a church building looking as if they have been run over by a truck. We can be the encouragement. If I can make it, we’d tell them, anyone can. Stop taking inventory of all your sins and wrongs. Have they been forgiven? Then let them go. Stop naming all the things you cannot do and stop comparing yourself with others. Lift your head up. We are marching to Zion. Together, we can make it. You, me and the Lord. Depressed and discouraged brethren are the delight of Satan. Some keep assembling, but they really don’t think that they’ll make it. They need a boost of confidence, assurance and faith in the Lord. You can be just what they need.
Third, what a wonderful story in Fanny Crosby. Rather than being bitter because of her blindness, angry with the doctor’s treatment that led to her loss of sight, and carrying the victim card the rest of her life, she wrote hymns. Even when living in poverty, she kept praising the God that she loved. I wonder how many of us would have done that. Why write hymns if I’m not going to get paid for it, is what some would conclude. It wasn’t about money, fame or herself. It was all to the glory of the Lord. She had a way with writing and she used it constructively for the Lord. Her story makes us look in the mirror at our talents. Are we doing what we could for the Lord? Are we only available if we get a shout out, pat on the back or some compensation? Her songs are still sung today. More than a hundred years later, the Lord is still be honored and praised by the words that she wrote.
Fourth, the chorus of Blessed Assurance, “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.” This is my story. This is what I am all about. This is me. What a wonderful definition of life. What a joyful choice in life. What is your life all about? Is it all about making yourself happy? Is it about wealth? Is it centered on you? Praising my Savior, this is my story. What a wonderful motto for life. What powerful core values that will bring to the surface. What a difference that choice will make in the shaping of our attitude, words and actions.
This is my story, this is my song…Praising my Savior all the day long.