RECAP–OUR HOPE based on 1 Corinthians 15:51-58
#5 Hymn–Blessed Assurance
Context for the Hymn (based on research by Pastor Ryan)
Fanny Crosby, America’s most prolific hymn writer, wrote 8,000 Gospel songs and hymns during a lifetime, which spanned nearly a century. She passed away in her 95th year. All of her days, except the first six weeks, were spent in blindness. However, not even the loss of eyesight could render defeat to this astoundingly courageous soul. Aunt Fanny, as she later was affectionately called, also wrote 1,000+ nonreligious songs, and had four books of poetry and two best-selling autobiographies published.
Frances Jane Crosby was born in Putnam County, New York, on March 24, 1820. A poorly trained doctor applied a mustard plaster poultice to her eyes when she was only six weeks old, rendering her totally blind. Even in her childhood, she realized she had a special gift.
She often said, “I have a jewel — content.”
When only nine years of age, she wrote:
“O what a happy soul am I, Although I cannot see,
I am resolved that in this world, Contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy That other people don’t.
To weep and sigh because I’m blind, I cannot, and I won’t.”
She continued to put her poetical gift to use. A strong believer in God, she used her gift to give glory to God. Our hymnal alone contains eight of these hymns, such as To God Be the Glory, Praise Him! Praise Him!, and I Am Thine, O Lord.
One day in 1873, Fanny was visiting with a friend, Phoebe Knapp, a musician of sorts and wife of the founder of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. During their visit Mrs. Knapp played a tune on her piano, which she had recently written. She then asked Fanny, “What does this tune say?” After kneeling in prayer for a few moments, she rose and declared, “It says, ‘Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!’”
Aunt Fanny began to dictate verses to Mrs. Knapp, who wrote them down, fitting them to the melody just as we hear it sung today.
Fanny Crosby had every reason to be angry and live a life of bitterness. After all, the doctor messed up a treatment and left her blind! Instead, she lived a life full of contentedness and joy! Likewise, Maggi Peterson could have become an angry little girl when she received her cancer diagnosis as a seventh-grader in 2018. Instead, she was a constant beacon of joy and hope, bringing joy to those around her and inspiring her teachers (including Heather!). Maggi did succumb to the cancer late in 2019, but even to the very end, she was filled with joy.
We look at these two individuals with admiration. How did they live with so much joy, so much hope, despite their horrific circumstances? They lived with deep joy because they had a deep blessed assurance–Jesus was theirs! And it was their relationship with Jesus that saw them through their lives, whether it was 95 years of blindness or a little more than 13 years of life.
Beginning with Descartes and the rise of the Enlightenment, a growing secularism has covered the face of the earth. Whether it is doubting truth in everything except our own existence (Descartes) to killing the myth of God (Nietzche), the idea has been trumpeted that the only life that matters is the here and now. We especially see this in culture today with our young people (I see my three girls face it on a consistent basis), where reason and consequence analysis is abandoned for what “feels good here and now.” But later in life, we become filled with regret. We live with the consequences of our choices. And when we get to the point of death, we fear it, or begin to confess and ask God for forgiveness. For as much as society wants to silence God and remove him, the immanence of death stirs within our soul the reality we try to bury–there there is an appointed time for us all to leave this earth, and then face the judgment (Heb 9:27), to give an accounting for how we lived (Rom 14:12).
But we as believers do not have to dread death, nor live in defeat and sorrow in the midst of struggles of our life. We do have a blessed assurance! For IF WE ARE IN JESUS, we know that there is eternal life waiting for us, made possible through the victory of Jesus over death and sin by the cross! We have an assurance that life is not the end; one day we will see him face to face and be reunited with our friend. This earth is just a temporary home; no matter what might happen to us, Jesus is the biggest blessing and greatest treasure we could ever possess!
Fanny certainly looked forward to that day. After all, she longed for the visions of rapture to burst on her sight–even though she could not see! She envisioned in her mind what that day would be like when she could finally open her eyes, and the first thing to see is Jesus! And of Maggi’s final actions in this life was to worship God, hands lifted toward the heavens, praising her Jesus!
This body will decay. But if we are in Jesus, we will be raised. There is a rapture, and we will meet Christ and dwell with him forever! There will be no sting of death, nor victory for the grave, for Jesus Christ took the sting of death upon himself so we can truly be free and live!
So how do we live in this blessed assurance of hope? Take Paul’s counsel in 1 Corinthians 15:58. Develop your relationship with Jesus. Make him more than just an exercise on a Sunday morning; may everything you do be about him! Stand firm in your faith. Recall what the Lord has done in your life, and build upon his faithfulness. Let nothing move you. Anchor yourself in Christ, for trials will come. Trust in the one who brings the victory! And devote yourself fully to the work of Christ. The more we share the good news, the stronger our faith becomes.
Do you have that blessed assurance that Jesus is yours? If not, you can have it today!
Questions for reflection
1) Who is the most joy-filled person you know? Did they know Jesus?
2) How would you rate your relationship with Jesus?
3) What practices do you have in your life to help your relationship with Jesus grow?
4) With whom could you share the good news?
This Sunday Pastor Ryan continues the Favorite Hymn Series with our #4 hymn, based on Psalm 66. How does creation declare the praises of God? How great is our God? Come or tune in Sunday to find out.
Daily Bible Readings for May 25 – May 31
May 25: Psalm 42 How did the Psalmist describe his hope?
May 26: Isaiah 51:1-16 What would be Israel’s hope?
May 27: Jeremiah 33 What was God’s message of hope?
May 28: Zechariah 10 What was God’s promise of hope?
May 29: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 What is our blessed hope?
May 30: Exodus 12:1-42 How did God demonstrate his greatness over Egypt?
May 31: Joshua 8:1-29 How did God prove his greatness?
May 26–David Simmons
This Week’s Events:
Saturday, May 29–Men’s Fellowship Resumes @7:15 AM, Thomas House Restaurant
Saturday, June 5–Women’s Fellowship Yard Sale @ Diane Miller’s house–you can leave items for donation in the basement of the church or place in the trailer once it arrives
Sunday, June 6–Summer Hours Begin; Worship @ 9:30 AM, Sunday School @ 10:45 AM
Sunday, June 6–First Sunday Breakfast @ 8:45 AM
Sunday, June 6–First Sunday Offering for Ava Cares
Sunday, June 13–Graduate Recognition Sunday
Sunday, June 20–Outdoor Worship
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
As we look at the ability to reopen in the coming weeks, we are in need of both worship leaders and children’s story. We are looking for one person each week, rather than a month at a time. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Tammy Stine (children’s story).
Brethren Woods–Fundraising Opportunities
Thank you to all who have given so far! Pastor Ryan will be soaked! But if Pastor Ryan is the highest money raiser for this fundraiser for Brethren Woods, he will get a weekend retreat at Forest Haven. So let’s continue to give toward the cause!
What is more, if we can raise over $400, Winnie Wilfong has agreed (in part, due to Tom’s volunteering!) to also take a bucket of water for camp! If the kids can be involved, she will let each of the kids who participate dump a bucket of water on her!
We plan to get soaked during outdoor worship Sunday, June 20!
Also, Pieter and Nils will be doing a 100-mile bike ride, visiting congregations through the valley, starting at Brethren Woods and ending at Pleasant Valley COB. They are hoping to make a stop here. We can show support by donating to their cause!
If you would like to donate to either cause, write a check out the church, but you need to mark it as “Dunk Pastor Ryan” or “Bike Ride” in the memo line. If donating via cash, please mark it on an envelope.
Call to Prayer
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
6) Restoration of the national church
Misti Wheelbarger is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour for next year. If you are willing to help, even if it is just for a Sunday, please reach out to her and let her know.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate at the main entrance as you enter for church
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
John Bennington (health)
Sam Carr (health)
Cooper family (challenges)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Tina Dotson (COVID)
Bill Eckard (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Janet Good (health)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Shannon Hollen (health)
Shirley Holland (health)
Heath Kimmell (health)
Lambert family (loss)
Larry LaPrade (COVID)
Lent family (work)
Alda Miller (health)
Diane Miller (health)
Mary Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (procedure)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Evy Kaye Sandin (health)
Chris Shirk (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Charles Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB