Saturday, April 10, 2010

110 years ago today....(Part 2 of 2): The Confirmation

Only five days had passed since God had laid on John A. Davis' heart the need for a Bible School on the East Coast. John had left Hazleton, Pennsylvania and after a brief stop in Binghamton had traveled onto Elmira, NY to continue to preach the word. Now it was Tuesday, April 10, 1900 and John would be preaching in the Elmira Tabernacle out of Matthew 7:24-27, it was the sermon that he had entitled The Two Foundations. John had preached this sermon on a few other occasions over the years as many traveling preachers and evangelists would do. Tonight however the fountains of the school would be laid.

Mrs. L.A. Crossan

As John A. Davis was arriving in Elmira to prepare for the revival meeting, God had already set into motion events that would confirm the creation of the Bible School. Days earlier, as God was laying the Bible school on John's heart, a poor wash-woman by the name of Mrs. L.A. Crossan was given a dollar bill. She thanked God for it upon receiving it and she prayed that she could use it to the glory of God. Soon the LORD was going to give her an opportunity to use it in a mighty way.
1899 Silver Certificate (most likely the kind given to Mrs. Crossan)

Now it was the late afternoon of Tuesday, April 10, 1900 and Mrs. L.A. Crossan went to hear the 28 year old evangelist John A. Davis at the Elmira Tabernacle. She was ready to soak in the word with many others that attended. John A. Davis stood up and in his rich powerful voice resonated throughout the church as his enthusiasm for the Word of God vibrated the windows of the church and the souls of the people. He began by reading from Matthew 7:24-27.

Matthew 7:24-27~

"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."
The beginning of that sermon from A God Enthused Man:

This parable is recorded by only two of the writers of the gospels, Matthew and Luke, and are words from the Savior's own lips in that memorable sermon on the mount. The truth is here put in a nutshell; simple, practical, and easy to be understood, and ought to have a greater power over each one of us, and I sincerely hope that the Holy Spirit will carry home to each heart the truth that God would have them to learn. May I say at the very beginning that I believe that the message was given to me from the Lord and I hope that our hearts may be in a receptive condition, and that God will help us to profit by the words of the message, for this work of building (character building) is something we all are or at least ought to be interested in.

Later on in the sermon...

We must Build on Something. That is common sense. We cannot build on air; we all know that we must build on some foundation. It is true that at times all build what they call “air castles,” but they do not amount to anything. So then, if all are building and must build on some foundation how very important it is to know what we are building.
As Mrs. Crossan listened to the sermon she was moved by God to give Mr. Davis the dollar bill. She wrote out a quick note and slipped it into an envelope with the dollar bill and continued to listen to the powerful message beginning delivered by this young man.

Where are you building? Where art thou? Is the question God asked Adam. Do you hear God's voice asking you the same question? You know where you are. Perhaps you are hiding away behind some excuse that was manufactured long years ago in hell and furnished yon by Satan. Are you trying to cover your nakedness from God's eye with that fig leaf apron of your own works? Rom. 3 :10, 23, says: "There is none righteous, no, not one. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Oh, then, begin to build on Christ.
He continued on bringing the word of the LORD to the people. Many turning over their lives to Him or dedicating their lives to Him. John A. Davis finished by praying Psalm 23.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. Amen.
John A. Davis finished the prayer and several people came up to the front of the church and began to shake hands with him and talk with him. Mrs. Crossan worked her way up to him and handed him the envelope. He thanked her as he put it into the pocket of his suit coat. John continued to shake hands and pray with others for another hour after the meeting, before heading out.

He walked back to where he was staying and removed his suit coat when the envelope fell from his pocket to the floor. It had been a busy yet wonderful evening preaching the word that he had completely forgotten about it. He opened it and out fell a one dollar bill. Inside the envelope was also a note. He opened the note and read the following words:

I am a poor washer-woman but God has laid it on my heart to give you this dollar to help you carry out the plan He has revealed to you.

John read the note then looked back at the dollar bill and then back to the note. God had confirmed in this small way that He wanted John to start a Bible School on the East coast. That dollar bill had become his Gideon Fleece. No more confirmation was needed though. He soon was preparing for the first classes of the Practical Bible Training School.

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