The inspiration for this website came from a Scripture song I heard over 10 years ago at a ladies retreat:

Like Apples of Gold in pictures of silver
A word fitly spoken shall be,
Like Apples of Gold in pictures of silver
Let my life bring glory to thee.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
Proverbs 25:11

Although some of the "stories" listed are made up, the Scriptural truths they illustrate are very real and can be of great benefit in a Christian's walk with the Lord and as illustrations for the lost.

It is my heart's desire that amongst the pages of this website, the Christian find words of encouragement and be spurred on to service for our Lord, and that seekers of the truth find Salvation in the timeless truths of God's Word for these troubled times.

- Angela

Posts Tagged ‘song writer’

Lester Roloff

Lester Roloff

BORN: June 28, 1914
Dawson, Texas
DIED: November 2, 1982
LIFE SPAN: 68 years, 4 months, 4 days

LESTER ROLOFF was a perfect example of a modern day prophet. In all his years of serving God he set the example for all who believe, man ought to obey God rather than men. Roloff was constantly engaged in battle against some of the forces of the state of Texas, primarily the Welfare Department – they would silence or greatly curtail his ministry if they could. The irony of it all is that he had done nothing but help change lives of countless youngsters who had nobody else to help them. It is hard to believe that the story you are now going to read could happen in America.

Roloff was born on a farm ten miles south of Dawson, Texas, to Christian parents. He was saved in a little country church called Shiloh Baptist when about twelve in a revival in July, 1926 under the ministry of John T. Taylor. High School was completed in Dawson. Reared on a farm he took his milk cow and went off to Baylor University in 1933 and milked his way through college. He graduated in 1937 with an A.B. degree.

While at Baylor he was far from idle. He started pastoring among the Southern Baptists in a succession of pastorates. First was the Prairie Grove Mills Baptist Church in Navarro County where he had 67 converted in a revival to begin things. He also preached at his hometown church at Shiloh which was located outside of Dawson. Then he preached a revival at the First Baptist Church of Purden, Texas, and had 143 additions, baptizing some 100 of them. This led to his call there while he retained the ministry at Navarro Mills. This latest venture happened his last year in college.

Roloff went on to Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth for three years, 1937 to 1940 while he maintained his ministry at Purden, going then to the First Baptist Church of Trinidad, Texas, his last year in Seminary.

He married Marie Brady on August 10, 1936 at the First Baptist Church of Galveston, Texas. They had two daughters, (Elizabeth, born June 20, 1937) and Pamela Kay, an adopted daughter.

From 1941 to 1944 he pastored the Magnolia Park Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, which had great crowds and much blessing. He was president of the local pastor’s conference during some of this time.

In 1944 he went to Corpus Christi where he remained the rest of his life. The Park Ave. Baptist Church extended a call to him where he went in March. On October 15, 1944, the church burned, and later property was purchased in another location of town and the church became known as the Second Baptist Church which he pastored from 1944 to 1951 with some 3,300 additions during this time. A branch mission church was started called the West Heights Baptist Church.

Roloff began a radio ministry on May 8, 1944 with his Family Altar Program, first broadcast over a 250-watt station locally Soon it was on more than 22 stations, approximately 65 hours a week, gradually increasing to 150 stations. Some of the broadcasts were 15 minutes in length, some one-half hour. Starting on the small KEYS station it had an interesting history. He was kicked off the radio ten months after he started; his fight against liquor being a prime reason. The next day he started to broadcast on KWBU, a 50,000-watt station where he held forth for eight years. In 1954 they decided to remove him because he was a controversial figure. Some businessmen bought the station and he was again on the air for a year. Then total programming conveniently removed him. The owners then lost $70,000 in one year. Roloff decided to try and buy the station and asked how much they wanted. The answer was $300,000 and he did not have a dime. However, with the help of God and the money of friends, $25,000 was put down as earnest money with $100,000 needed 90 days later. He had it all but $7,250 on the last day and $250 the last hour, but 45 minutes before the 2 p.m. deadline it was all there! Others of course became stockholders and owned the station, but Roloff was the vehicle used to get it (called KCIA) in the right hands.

Roloff founded the Park Avenue Christian Day School in 1946. The school operated a kindergarten and continued through upper grades. His headquarters continued at the Park Avenue Day School, located on the property of the former Park Avenue Church.

In April, 1951 he resigned as pastor of Second Baptist Church to enter full time evangelism. He founded the Roloff Evangelistic Enterprises, a non-profit organization which sponsored many projects of faith. In May, 1955 he printed his first issue of Faith Enterprise, a quarterly publication dedicated to the salvation of lost souls and strengthening believers.

In August of 1954, with convictions about being independent, founded a church in Corpus Christi which was to be called the Alameda Baptist Church. He and four others put up $2,500 on ten and four-tenths acres of ground, and it was organized with 126 members on October, 24. He pastored there until about 1961.

On March 13, 1956, Roloff stood in Waco Hall, in Waco, Texas; and spoke to more than 2,000 giving his swan song to Baylor University. He stated all the issues in no uncertain terms.


Other ministries soon developed. Roloff described at least major ministries that he was responsible for.. .

Thirty years ago, we started the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission that is still in operation. More than twenty years ago, the CITY OF REFUGE was started in an old Quonset hut given by Dr. Logan and put together by alcoholics at Lexington, Texas. The City of Refuge is now located in Culloden, Georgia, on 273 acres of an old antebellum home with lovely dormitories for men and women.

The LIGHTHOUSE houseboat was built by Brother E.A. Goodman and taken down the Intracoastal Canal in 1958. On the way down, a boy fell off and went under this boat and just missed the propeller. He was rescued by an unsaved boy who was going down to the Lighthouse for help, and one of our preacher boys, Bob Smith, who is now a missionary. This is where Bill Henderson, Ricky Banning and many others found God’s will for their lives. We have preacher boys that have come to the Lighthouse to study for the ministry in other Christian schools. I have just dealt with three eighteen year old boys in Corpus Christi within the last week who are drug addicts. The Lighthouse is located forty miles down the Intracoastal Canal from Corpus Christi and it can only be reached by plane or by boat.

The PEACEFUL VALLEY HOME for our older retired Christian friends is the prayer place. It is located near Mission and Edinburg, Texas, with many acres of citrus fruit and lovely vegetables that are grown there in the midst of a lot of nice weather. This home is just for Christians who want to retire in a lovely place and still be of service to others. It began in 1969.

The ANCHOR HOME FOR BOYS with three big two-story buildings for dormitories, a cafeteria, gymnasium, shop building and dining room, is located at Zapata, Texas. It has a capacity for nearly three hundred boys.

The BETHESDA HOME FOR GIRLS in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is for girls in trouble. It is a very beautiful home, located on Blue Lake, for both pregnant and delinquent girls. It has made many friends and received a warm welcome in Mississippi.

The REBEKAH HOME FOR GIRLS, located in Corpus Christi, Texas, is our largest home. We have had fifteen hundred girls in about seven years and the three dormitories have a capacity of about three hundred beds. It is located on 440 acres of land. This has been the most miraculous work we have ever seen and has been fought and despised by the devil. I have never seen such miracles in all of my ministry.

The REBEKAH CHRISTIAN ACADEMY is the school for the Rebekah Home. It has a beautiful two story, air conditioned building with the finest of equipment.


From 1961 to 1973 Roloff was developing these varied enterprises, and ministering as an evangelist in many churches, plus carrying on his radio ministry. He was an experienced pilot having flown about 12,000 hours in his 1966 Queen Air that a friend helped him to get, and also his 1968 Cessna Skywagon that was used for Lighthouse work which could land on the beach with people and provisions. These planes belonged to the Enterprise and had their own mechanic and radio men to maintain them and help fly them.

Roloff landed his plane at least four times on one engine, and in unusual places such as a highway. His flying lessons began in 1958.

His themes all through the years were “Christ is the Answer” and “Now the Just Shall Live by Faith.”

The last of his varied works of good will – which, by the way, make no charges for those that they help, is the Rebekah Home in Corpus Christi which has been the scene of recent controversy. This was founded in 1967 along with the Peoples Church, a place where girls in trouble can worship as they get straightened out. This school specializes in taking cases other agencies and homes refuse to take. And no wonder – Roloff got results. He ran his schools by Bible directives and naturally got Bible results – changed lives. Over $3 million dollars was tied up in the Rebekah project alone.

In September, 1970, the Gulf Coast storm, “Celia” hit but miraculously did not touch the Lighthouse, nor their home, although severe damage was most everywhere else. In 1971, their homes were filled to capacity, and they had to start turning people away. In May, 1972, the Roloffs moved into their lovely large new home on the acreage where the Rebekah Home and other buildings were already located. Another 118 acres of land was purchased. It had a runway on it for their plane, and they could farm some of the remaining acres. During the summer of 1972, workers built another big two-story building, which became the Rebekah Christian School.

At the close of 1972, they had four days of dedication for the following new items: Chapel at the Intracoastal Canal; their new home; the land adjoining the Enterprises property; a big new boys’ home at Zapata, Texas; five new units at the Peaceful Valley Home; the high two-story dormitory at the Rebekah Home; the two-story Rebekah School; and the People’s Church, which is nearly two blocks long.

The battle with the state of Texas developed ironically out of one of the most compassionate ministries done anywhere. Rebekah Home was founded as a place to help girls in trouble by giving them the answer which is Christ. A Dallas probation officer attests to the fact that the place to send young people in trouble is Roloffs work. Children rejected elsewhere are welcomed with open arms and a book could be told of the amazing changed lives. Some of the young men from the Lighthouse have married some of the girls from Rebekah Home (the bumble bees meet the honey bees).

The talk of licensing began in 1971 which threatened to shut the work down unless they conformed to rules and regulations that would have greatly increased the cost of the operation without improving on what they were doing. Roloffs legal problems began in April, 1973 when the state welfare department filed a suit in an attempt to have his Rebekah Home licensed. Had Roloff agreed to do this, he would then have had to follow welfare department guidelines, which would be totally alien to Bible principles and philosophy upon which the girls’ home was founded. Roloff had no desire to fight the welfare department or put them out of business, but simply wanted this unconstitutional interference to stop. It is government interference with religion. “Licensing a church home is as unnecessary and wrong as licensing a church” Roloff contended. At issue is the constitutional principal of separation of church and state.

If licensed, the home would be required to hire a home supervisor who holds a degree in social work and who is approved by the welfare department. That supervisor would be required to complete an additional fifteen hours of college level social studies every two years. Not only that, but the home would be required to file financial reports regularly with the state welfare department. The home would also have to hire one state-approved worker for every eight girls. The home would also be forced to serve foods from a menu prepared by the welfare department. The welfare department also objects to Bible discipline, which would have to be eliminated. One could readily see that Roloff would not be running the home he gave birth to, so naturally he chose to fight this invasion of privacy. When the welfare officials appeared, he asked them what they wanted. When they presented new rules he simply took out his Bible and told them he was satisfied with God’s rules.

On August 3, an injunction was signed in which Roloff was enjoined from operating a child care institution without a license for those under sixteen years of age. On October 5, 1973, a district judge heard the case and fined Roloff $500 and $80 court costs for contempt of court when he refused welfare guidelines. With Roloff refusing to have the home licensed the welfare department leveled charges of brutality against the home based upon the testimony of a few of the girls. This adverse publicity was wide spread. It was found that of the 1,500 girls who have spent time at Rebekah Home, fewer than a dozen could be found that would testify against it. One set of parents was found willing to testify for the welfare department. None of the 1,490 who were helped or thankful for the home or their parents were consulted.

Finally on January 31, 1974 the case went to court again in Corpus Christi and Roloff was found guilty – fined $5,400 and sentenced to five days in the county jail on contempt of court charges. The court also ordered him to “purge the home” which would mean to “dump the girls into the street.” On February 4th, he was given the opportunity to present his argument on the constitutionality of state licensing of a church operated home before the Provisions Committee of the Texas Senate. What was to have been a five minute presentation blossomed into a three-hour session when the senators began questioning Roloff on the accomplishments and problems of Rebekah Home. His jail term was limited to one day, February 12th, pending appeal to the Texas State Supreme Court, and the fine was stayed as well, pending appeal. He was released from jail on a writ of habeas corpus.

On March 24, 1974, Roloff and his attorneys appeared before the nine judges of the State Supreme Court of Texas in a hearing to determine if a discharge of the charges could be obtained. This request was made on the grounds that the judgment was ambiguous and unclear in that it does not define what age constitutes a child or children. The former policy was that individuals up to age sixteen were considered children, but a recent state attorney general’s ruling stated a person to be a child up to age eighteen. Questions were also raised in the minds of the judges as to what constituted a childcare home. Answers were unclear from the welfare department and in one instance, contradictory. The high court agreed that children sixteen or over could be cared for by Roloff and as a result overturned the contempt of court charges May 20, 1974. Roloff received the news May 29, while at Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C., receiving an award “for those who have made special contributions to the defense of the faith.” The Austin decision of the Supreme Court, however, did not end the fight.

The welfare department had been adamant in getting the under eighteen years of age law declared as needing a welfare license. Roloff continued to help girls of any age that came to him for help. He estimated that while he couldn’t actively recruit for the younger ages, had there been no harassment, he could have handled up to 700 young people over against his approximate 200 that were now cared for.

To illustrate the problem, two girls, ages 13 and 15 ran away after two warnings for other offenses. They were told they would be spanked for the next violation. They were found four days later in a locked bar. They had spent this time with ten men and had a woeful story to tell. Roloff kept his word and spanked them. Word got out about the incident and Roloff was served a summons for child abuse. At the hearing the girls admitted the offenses and the spankings. The judge declared Roloff could keep them until the trial. Roloff refused until the judge would ask them a question as to where they would like to go – back to Roloff or to some alternate arrangement. Hugging their “daddy” with great affection they said they wanted to be with Brother Roloff.

By March 1975, the Texas Welfare Department had filed against Roloff again for contempt and for being in violation of their rules and regulations. They had built up to 200 girls at Rebekah Home, half of what they had previously when forced to close. Even more tragic is that they turned away 3,000 during this time.

A legislative bill slipped through the Texas Senate on March 13, 1975, clearly aimed, many people feel, at outlawing his homes and work. It passed through the Texas House in May 1975. In June, another court order was issued whereby Roloff would be held in further contempt if he did not allow inspection of the premises of their homes. He allowed the inspections having nothing to hide.

On July 4 and 5, 1975, a great rally was held in Garland and Dallas where hundreds of people gathered to join in the battle, with such as Jack Hyles and Bob Jones, III addressing the crowds. On July 25, shortly thereafter the Lighthouse dormitory burned to the ground. Later a young boy got saved and confessed to setting the fire.

It seems that Roloff’s case was being considered a test case by many. What happens may determine the ultimate status of many other preachers.

By January 1, 1976, the new guidelines by the welfare department become law making it illegal for unlicensed homes to take in children under the age of eighteen. In May 1976, a judges order instructed Roloff Enterprises to allow state welfare workers to inspect the homes. This time Roloff refused. On June 3rd, a great rally with some 400 people was held in Austin, preceding Roloffs court appearance to fight state licensing. Again he was put in jail on June 21. He was released June 25th just prior to his 62nd birthday. He was fined $1,750. In the fall of 1976 a final ruling was laid down giving him freedom until the Supreme Court of the United States would hear his case.

On November 1, 1977 a great freedom rally was held at the convention center in Dallas. Great crowds came including over 1,500 preachers and public sentiment again swelled for Roloff. Nearly a year later, on October 2, 1978, the Supreme Court ruled against hearing the case from Corpus Christi. Attorney General John Hill of Texas said the case was frivolous, and the justices must have believed it. Appearing on nation-wide television “60 Minutes” with Mike Wallace on October 22nd gave Roloff some national favorable coverage long overdue. Then on November 7, this same thorn-in-the-flesh Hill was defeated in his bid for governor of Texas by William Clements in a very close election. Clements had indicated he would use his powers to free Roloff from all charges. Perhaps justice would still be mete out.

Roloffs battle with Texas authorities continued through most of his life. There were times when things were calm, and times when he was in court or in jail.

On the way to a meeting he with three of his staff flew into some turbulent weather and it is conjectured a wing disengaged from his aircraft. This was the end as the plane plummeted to earth killing all of the occupants. On the day of his death it was an ironic turn of events, for his chief antagonist, Mark White was elected governor of Texas. Long time friend, Jack Hyles conducted the funeral a couple days later in a civic auditorium in Corpus Christi, Texas. The work with some modifications has carried on, but some facilities have been terminated and moved to other states.

– Ed Reeves, Fundamental Publishers

Lester Roloff, as a Bible believing Christian, knew that his place in Heaven was secured by repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ and the blood He shed for our sins when He died on the cross of Calvary. Brother Roloff is with the Lord Jesus Christ right now, but do you know, with 100% assurance, from God’s Word, that you will be with Jesus when you die?

If you do not have this assurance, please read:

God’s Simple Plan of Salvation

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God;
that ye may know that ye have eternal life,
and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

1John 5:13

Fanny Crosby

Frances Jane Crosby

BORN: March 24, 1820
South East, New York
DIED: February 12, 1915
Bridgeport, Conn.
LIFE SPAN: 94 years, 10 months, 19 days

“Mother, if I had a choice, I would still choose to remain blind … for when I die; the first face I will ever see will be the face of my blessed Saviour.”

Blind for all of her life, Fanny Crosby, the greatest hymn writer in the history of the Christian Church, later wrote, “And I shall see Him face to face, and tell the story – Saved by grace.” She saw over 8,000 poems set to music and over 100,000,000 copies of her songs printed. As many as 200 different pen names, including Grace J. Frances, were given her works by hymn book publishers so the public wouldn’t know she wrote so large a number of them. She produced as many as seven hymn-poems in one day. On several occasions, upon hearing an unfamiliar hymn. sung, she would inquire about the author, and find it to be one of her own!

Fanny gave the Christian world such songs as: A Shelter In The Time Of Storm, All The Way My Saviour Leads Me, Blessed Assurance, Close To Thee, He Hideth My Soul, I Am Thine 0 Lord, Jesus Is Calling, My Saviour First Of All, Near The Cross, Pass Me Not, Praise Him Praise Him, Redeemed, Rescue The Perishing, Safe In The Arms Of Jesus, Saved By Grace, Saviour More Than Life To Me, Speed Away, Take The World But Give Me Jesus, Tell Me The Story Of Jesus, The Lights Of Home, Thou Mighty To Save, Tho’ Your Sins Be As Scarlet, Tis The Blessed Hour Of Prayer, To God Be The Glory, To The Work, Will Jesus Find Us Watching … to mention but a few.

Born in a one-story cottage, her father, John, was never to be remembered by Fanny for he died in her twelfth month. When Fanny was six weeks old, she caught a slight cold in her eyes. The family physician was away. Another country doctor was called in to treat her. He prescribed hot mustard poultices to be applied to her eyes, which destroyed her sight completely! It was later learned that the man was not qualified to practice medicine, but he had left town and was never heard of again. Fanny never felt any resentment against him, but believed it was permitted by the Lord to fulfill His plan for her life. A wise mother set about immediately to prepare her daughter for a happy life, in spite of this great handicap.

When but five years old, she was taken by her mother to consult the best eye specialist in the country, Dr. Valentine Mott. Neighbors and friends pooled money together in order to send her. The dreaded answer came, “Poor child, I am afraid you will never see again.” Fanny did not think she was poor. It was not the loss of sight that bothered her young heart. It was the thought that she would never be able to get an education like other boys and girls. Surprisingly, at the age of eight, she wrote her first recorded poetry: 0 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!

Around nine years of age, the family moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut, where she was to stay until age 15. Mother was kind, but busy making a living for both of them, so it was Grandmother who became an unforgettable influence in her life. Grandmother spent many hours describing the things of nature and heaven to her. Also, she introduced Fanny to the Bible and this book now became more familiar to her than any other. She began to devour the scriptures. It is said, that as a child, she could repeat from memory the Pentateuch, the book of Ruth, many of the Psalms, the books of Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and much of the New Testament! This furnished the themes, inspiration, and diction for her imperishable gospel hymns.

Two great blind poets of history, Homer and Milton, were to be joined by another great, Fanny Crosby, who published her first poem at the age of eleven.

Near her 15th birthday came a happy announcement … Mother could send her to a new school, The Institution For The Blind in New York City. Fanny clapped her hands joyfully and cried, “O thank God, He has answered my prayer, just as I knew He would.” So it was on March 3, 1835, that Fanny boarded a stage for Norwalk and then a boat for New York City. She was to spend the next 23 years of her life there, as a student for twelve years, and then as a teacher for eleven years more.

From early childhood the sightless girl had felt the urge to write poetry and several short verses had come from her lips. At the institution her abilities began to assert themselves with renewed force. Her teachers did not encourage her efforts but strangers did.

William Cullen Bryant visited the school one day and gave her much encouragement, after chancing to read some of her verses. She said afterwards, “He never knew how much he did by those few words.” Then one day, Dr. Combe of Boston, examined the heads of the blind students. As he felt her head, he exclaimed:

And here is a poetess, give her every possible encouragement. Read the best books to her and teach her the finest that is in poetry. You will hear from this young lady some day.

This was the encouragement that she needed. Poetry began to flow from her heart and mind.

In the autumn of 1843, when she was 23, she was the sightless guest of Congress. Endeavoring to secure an appropriation for its work, a group from the school was sent there. She paid tribute to Congress in original verse and then began paying tribute to the Lord. She delivered no stirring oration, nor pathetic story but simply recited some poems, about the tender care of a loving Saviour. She spoke with conviction, as though she had seen the Saviour face to face. The notable assembly addressed included such men as: John Quincy Adams, Thomas E. Benton, Hamilton Fish, Henry A. Wise, Alexander Stevens, Jefferson Davis, and Robert Toombs. Before long, tears were glistening on the hearers cheeks, for whether great or small, thousands were to find her message a healing balm for the soul.

As a result of this witness, she began to make friends with the great political and religious leaders of her time and no one could forget her once they met her. During her lifetime, she knew all the presidents except George Washington. President VanBuren dined with her and remained one of her warmest friends. She heralded the virtues of William Henry Harrison even though he served but one month. When President Tyler came to the Institution For The Blind, Fanny welcomed him with an original poem. Her friendship with President Polk was close and inspiring. She enjoyed a close friendship with President Cleveland for more than half a century, for at one time he was the secretary of the Institution For The Blind while she taught. He took an unusual interest in her life and work and was often engaged in copying her poems.

Many visitors came to the school making memorable occasions for all. Once, Jenny Lind came. She sang and Fanny Crosby recited her poem called, `The Swedish Nightingale.’ When Henry Clay visited the school, Miss Crosby was elected to recite a poem in his honor. When she had finished, Clay took her by the hand and said, “this is not the only poem for which I am indebted to this lady. Six months ago, she sent me some lines on the death of my dear son.” Young Clay was killed in a battle in Mexico. Standing there, the great statesman and the blind poet wept together.

At school her first book published at age 24, was entitled The Blind Girl and Other Poems. Also, she composed several popular songs and assisted in writing what was probably the first cantata published in America. At age 27, she became an instructor at the school, a position which she held until 1858, when she left.

With all of her apparent devotion to Christ, already shared in so many ways, it is hard to believe that she was not converted until 1851, age 31 . This glorious beginning happened at a revival service held at the old John Street Methodist Church in New York which she joined. Recalling the incident years later, she said:

After a prayer was offered, they began to sing the grand old consecration hymn, `Alas! And Did My Saviour Bleed?’ and when they reached the third line of the fifth stanza, `Here, Lord, I give myself away,’ my very soul was flooded with celestial light.

Romance came into the life of Fanny Crosby, also. As early as age 20 she fell in love with another blind student by the name of Alexander VanAlstyne. He was especially fond of music and was captivated by her poems. She, likewise, was fascinated by his sweet strains of music. Later, he was to write the music of some of her hymn-poems and spend 44 years with her in marriage. One day in June he sang to his beloved, the music of his heart. Fanny tells the story:

From that hour two lives looked on a new universe, for love met love and all the world was changed. We were no longer blind, for the light of love showed where the lilies bloomed, and where the crystal waters found the moss-mantled spring.

He also became a teacher and for over 15 years their friendship bloomed. Finally, on March 5, 1858, she was married at age 37. Life was just beginning for Fanny Crosby, for her life’s ministry was still ahead.

The marriage was a happy one with VanAlstyne, who lived until 1902. The couple had one child, only to be taken in death while yet a baby. Perhaps this incident helped inspire Fanny to write, Safe In The Arms Of Jesus, which was to comfort thousands of grief stricken parents suffering a similar fate.

Upon her marriage, she intended to use the name Mrs. VanAlstyne, but her husband insisted that she continue to use her maiden name, which was already quite famous. Later, the couple united with the Thirtieth Street Methodist Church, in New York. Fanny Crosby remained a lifelong Methodist.

Through Peter Stryker, the minister of a Dutch Reformed Church, in New York City, she met the well-known composer, William Bradbury. He gave her a most cordial welcome:

Fanny, I thank God that we have at last met, for I think you can write hymns, and I have sought for a long time to have a talk with you.

He suggested that she attempt a hymn for him that week. This was the opportunity that she was waiting for. In three days she returned and submitted her first sacred song, the initial stanza of which reads:

We are going, we are going to a home beyond the skies, where the fields are robed in beauty, and the sunlight never dies.

This was in 1864, when Fanny was 44. Now, her course was set and this was her first hymn, used as a Sunday School hymn.

Some stories of her most famous hymn-poems follow:

Pass Me Not was her first hymn to win world-wide attention. Acting upon the suggestion of her friend, William H. Doane, Fanny composed this in 1868 after a prison service. As she spoke to the prisoners, one cried out, “O Lord, don’t pass me by!” She was so moved that she went home and wrote her famous plea. Sankey said, “no hymn was more popular at the meetings in London, in 1875, than this one.” One hard-drinking Englishman heard the crowd singing it and whispered to himself, “Oh, I wish He would not pass me by.” The nest night the service began with the same hymn and he was saved. He began carrying a copy of the hymn with him every day and forty years later, as a successful businessman in America, he met Fanny and gave her twenty dollars.

Safe In The Arms Of Jesus was considered, by some to be her greatest hymn. One day, in 1868, Doane dropped by and said, “Miss Fanny, I have but a few minutes before my train leaves for Cincinnati but first, will you do me a favor before boarding that train? I want a new hymn which I can introduce for the first time at a convention that will capture the hearts and imaginations of the young people and children. There is to be a great state-wide Sunday School Convention in Cincinnati nest month and in addition to the large delegations of adults, many young people and children are expected to be present. We really need this new hymn.”

Having the tune already composed, he said, “Listen closely,” and turning to the piano, he sat down and played his new tune in a rousing and stirring manner. Fanny said, “Your music says, “Safe In The Arms Of Jesus.” Going to her desk, she took out a piece of paper, found her pen, sat down, and began to write. As he played, she continued to write. She folded the paper, placed it in an envelope and handed it to her friend. Because his train was leaving in thirty-five minutes, she exclaimed, “Read it on the train and hurry, you don’t want to be late!”

On the train, he read the words that Sankey later made famous, and hearts have been singing ever since. The stories connected with this hymn are breath-taking. Once, a hackman, learning that his passenger was Fanny Crosby, took off his hat and wept. He called a policeman and asked him to see her safely to the train, adding, “We sang Safe In The Arms Of Jesus at my little girl’s funeral last week.”

When Bishop James Hannington was brutally murdered by savages, in Uganda, Africa, his diary was recovered. In it, he tells of being dragged away to be murdered, while singing Safe In The Arms Of Jesus. He was even laughing at the very agony of his situation.

A strange story is told in connection with the war in 1918. A Finnish engineer tells of besieging a town and taking a number of Red prisoners. Seven of them were to be shot at dawn the following Monday. One of the doomed men began to sing this lovely song, Safe In The Arms Of Jesus, that he had learned only three weeks previously, from the Salvation Army. One after another of the comrades fell to their knees and began to pray. The seven asked to be allowed to die with uncovered faces. With hands raised to Heaven, they sang this song as they were ushered into eternity. The Finnish engineer, Nordenberg, a former Army Officer, who tells the story, met Christ Himself that very hour as a result of this witness.

Rescue The Perishing was written on a hot July night in 1869. At a Mission, Fanny was addressing a large company of men, in one of the worst sections of New York City, The Bowery. During the service she felt impressed that some mother’s boy must be rescued that night or not at all. She made the plea for salvation and a boy of eighteen came forward and exclaimed, “I promised to meet my mother in heaven but as I now am living, that will be impossible.” Fanny prayed with this precious soul and he was joyously converted. He rose from his knees, with a new light in his eyes, and said, “Now I can meet my mother in heaven, for I have found her God!” A friend remarked, “Isn’t it wonderful what these rescue missions are doing?” While riding between the Bowery and Brooklyn, in a hired horse-drawn hack, she started writing because she could not wait until she got home. In her room, she completed the lines of the hymn before retiring. The next morning, the words were copied and forwarded to her friend, Mr. Doane, who immediately composed the tune to which it has been sung ever since.

Blessed Assurance is her most famous hymn, according to a hymn poll taken some time back by The Christian Herald. It placed twelfth in the poll. Of favorite hymns, The Old Rugged Cross was number one. One of Fanny’s close friends, wife of the founder of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, was Mrs. Joseph Knapp. On one of her visits to the blind poetess, in 1873, she brought in a melody she had composed. Several times she played it on the piano for Fanny. Then she asked, “Fanny, what does that tune say to you?” Hesitating but for a moment, she replied, “Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine!” One of the greatest gospel songs of all time was born.

To God Be The Glory was not really discovered until 1954, when it was introduced to Bev Shea in London. It was first sung by Shea and the Billy Graham Crusade Choir in Toronto in 1955. Since then, it has become a beloved hymn of the faith. San key did include it in his first hymnbook, published in England in 1873, but not in later subsequent editions published in America.

All The Way My Saviour Leads Me was written in 1874. Fanny needed five dollars one day and she just knelt down and told the Lord about it. Soon after a stranger knocked at her door as he just wanted to meet her. As he left, he pressed a five dollar bill into her hand. Her first thought was what a wonderful way the Lord helps me. Immediately, she composed this song.

Close To Thee was written in 1874, also, as S.J. Vail brought one of his newly composed tunes to her, asking that she write words for it. As he played it for her on the piano, she suddenly exclaimed, “That chorus says, Close To Thee!” Immediately, she wrote the poem.

Saved By Grace was written in 1891. At age 71 she attended a prayer meeting at which Dr. Howard Crosby spoke. He talked on the 23rd Psalm using `Grace’ as his subject. That very same week, he died suddenly, and Fanny said to herself, “I wonder what my first impression of heaven will be?” A moment later, she suddenly answered her own question, “Why, my eyes will be opened and I will see my Saviour face to face.”

A few days later, her publisher-friend, L.H. Bigelow, asked her to write a hymn on `Grace.’ She wrote the four stanzas and chorus of Saved By Grace in less than an hour. This poem was put away in a safe. In 1894, while visiting friends in Sankey’s home, in Northfield, Massachusettes, she was prevailed upon to speak. Concluding her talk, she read this poem that she had written three years earlier. A reporter, from The London Christian, took her poem with him to England and published it. When Sankey found this out, he prevailed upon George Stebbins to compose some music for it.

Other hymns had interesting beginnings. I Am Thine 0 Lord was a result of an earnest conversation on the nearness of God, with Mr. Doane of Cincinnati; Jesus Is Calling was sent to Stebbins for music upon his return from an evangelistic tour in Scotland, in 1883; Near The Cross was the result of Doane stating, “I want a new song to sing tonight in the evangelistic service.” Saviour More Than Life To Me came as a result of a tune which Doane sent Fanny requesting a song on the theme of Every Day and Hour.

The hymn-poems came . . . with many composers adding the music. One time Philip Phillips brought her forty subjects for hymns. He returned several days later and surprisingly, discovered that she had completed them all. She dictated all of them to him entirely from memory.

The years that saw her more famous songs first published were as follows: 1867 More Like Jesus; 1868 Safe In The Arms Of Jesus (wrote); 1869 Near The Cross, Praise Him; 1870 Pass Me Not, Rescue The Perishing; 1871 To The Work; 1873 Blessed Assurance, To God Be The Glory; 1874 Close To Thee; 1875 I Am Thine 0 Lord, All The Way My Saviour Leads Me, Saviour More Than Life To Me; 1876 Tho Your Sins Be As Scarlet, Will Jesus Find Us Watching; 1880 Tis The Blessed Hour Of Prayer; 1882 Redeemer; 1883 Jesus Is Calling; 1887 He Is Coming Man Of Sorrows (Alice Monteith pseudonym) 1890 He Hideth My Soul; 1894 Saved By Grace, 1 Shall Know Him.

For a long period of time she was under contract to write three hymns a week for a New York Publishing Firm, Biglow and Main. They purchased 5,900 poems from her and in her declining years provided a regular allowance for her.

Her books of poems published were in addition to her 1st book of 1844 mentioned previously were Monterey And Other Poems (1849); A Wreath Of Columbia’s Flowers (1859); Bells At Evening And Other Poems (1898); and Memories Of Eighty Years (1907).

Sankey did more than any other single individual to popularize and immortalize Fanny Crosby’s songs. The great crowds, who thronged the Moody-Sankey revivals, sang her songs until they became part of the heritage of that generation.

At 90 she declared, “My love for the Holy Bible and its sacred truth is stronger and more precious to me at ninety than at nineteen.” Asked about her long years, she said her secret was that she guarded her taste, her temper and her tongue. A famous saying through the years was, “Don’t waste any sympathy on me. I am the happiest person living.”

Fanny remained active until her death. At age 92, she enjoyed her first visit to Harvard. Her latter days were spent in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with a Mrs. Booth, who cared for her. Shortly before her death, she penned her last lines . . . “you will reach the river brink, some sweet day, bye and bye.” On her last night, she dictated a letter of comfort to a sorrowing friend, whose daughter had recently died. At 3 the next morning, Mrs. Booth found Fanny unconscious. She slipped away to the loving Saviour just short of her 95th birthday.

Her funeral filled the church with friends. The choir sang her favorite song … Faith Of Our Fathers … then, her own … Safe In The Arms Of Jesus . . . and, Saved By Grace. Her minister, George M. Brown, of the Methodist church said it well:

There must have been a royal welcome when this queen of sacred song burst the bonds of death and passed into the glories of heaven.

At her funeral was read words from Eliza Edmunds Hewitt, the last verse of a poem freshly written said:

Good-bye, dearest Fanny, goodbye for a while; You walk in the shadows no more; Around you, the sunbeams of glory will smile; The Lamb is the light of that Shore!

You will find a casual quote, on her grave in Bridgeport, Connecticut .. . “she hath done what she could!” Buried close by is P.T. Barnum, the Circus-tycoon, who laid up treasures on earth while Fanny’s treasures were laid up in heaven.


The scores of sources used in obtaining data for this series are too numerous to mention. They include back issues of many Christian journals, such as Christian Life, Decision, Sword of the Lord, etc. The major sets of encyclopedias plus the Who’s Who in America series often provide factual data not obtained elsewhere. A library of close to 500 biographies plus numerous other books, booklets and files have been most valuable as well. Questionnaires returned from Christian leaders now living have also been helpful.

The people who have encouraged me and worked hard in the project are also rightfully acknowledged. The designing and editing of my wife Margaret, and the typesetting of Griffin Graphics have all made these biographies possible. I am thankful for this team God has put together.

Also a word of thanks to Harold Henniger of Canton, Ohio for allowing me to use the Christian Hall of Fame title, which he originated. – Ed Reeves

Please view the Credits under “Biographies”  for Fundamental Publishers

Fanny Crosby, as a Bible believing Christian, knew that her place in Heaven was secured by repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ and the blood He shed for our sins when He died on the cross of Calvary. Mrs. Crosby is with the Lord Jesus Christ right now, but do you know, with 100% assurance, from God’s Word, that you will be with Jesus when you die?

If you do not have this assurance, please read:

God’s Simple Plan of Salvation

These things have I written unto you
that believe on the name of the Son of God;
that ye may know that ye have eternal life,
and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

1John 5:13

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