Is It Well With Your Soul?

When I went to bed last night, the words of a song were on my mind. Since I was still thinking of this song when I woke up this morning, I thought I would share them with you:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

While you might know these words, you may not know the story behind them. They are the result of six words that were written by Horatio Spafford (1828-1888), who was a successful realtor and lawyer in Chicago. At the height of his success, Horatio and his wife Anna suffered several tragic losses. The first of these was the death of their young son, and shortly thereafter, most of Spafford’s real estate holdings were destroyed during the Chicago fire of 1871.

Two years later Spafford decided to take his family to Europe. Due to some last minute business, he was detained, so he sent his family ahead of him. A couple of days later, he was notified that his family’s ship had been in a collision, and his four daughters had drowned.

Spafford took the next boat to England so he could comfort his grieving wife. As he sailed across the Atlantic, he wrote six words: “When sorrow like sea billows roll; it is well, it is well with my soul.”

A few years later, a songwriter named Phillip Bliss, took those six words and wrote the now famous hymn, It Is Well With My Soul. The song captured the essence of Spafford’s calm in the storm—the peace of God that attended his soul.

The prophet Isaiah spoke of this when he said: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You (26:3).”
Even though he had suffered the untimely death of his children, and his financial empire had been burned, his faith was not shaken—Spafford’s mind stayed on God; peace prevailed; and, it was well with his soul.

An Empowering Principle

4us“If” is an interesting word, and it is often used in a sense of “iffy-ness,” but this is not the case in Romans 8:31: “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

Paul was declaring a truth about a certain and definite relationship the believer has with God. Exchange “if” with “since” and you get a fuller meaning of what Paul is saying—Since God is for us . . .

The presence of God (B4Us) is an empowering faith principle of Scripture, and it was the motivating factor seen in the lives of those who “conquered kingdoms, administered justice, gained what was promised, shut the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness, became mighty in battle, put foreign armies to flight, and women received back their dead raised to life. But others were tortured, not accepting release, to obtain resurrection to a better life. And others experienced mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, sawed apart, murdered with the sword; they went about in sheepskins and goatskins; they were destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (the world was not worthy of them); they wandered in deserts and mountains and caves and openings in the earth. 39 And these all were commended for their faith (Hebrews 11:33-39).

I encourage you to make B4Us the center of your attention—write it on a notepad, scribble it on a mirror, affix it to your refrigerator door, and print it on the palm of your hand. Live the truth of this empowering principle: If God B4Us, who can be against us? Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things? Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:31-39).”

The truth is this: God B4Us means God is 4U!

To the Estate of . . .

????????????????????????????????????????I made a phone call last week, and yesterday, I received a letter that was a response to that conversation. When I opened the envelope, I found a check for $72.72 payable to the Estate of E. Saferite. It was a refund for the unused portion of Mom’s Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance.

The Free Dictionary defines the word “estate” as, “The whole of one’s possessions, especially all the property and debts left by one at death.” In Mom’s case, this is and is not accurate.

If you think of the definition jut in the context of finances, it is a pretty good definition. If, however, you think of it in terms of the “whole of one’s possessions” it is sadly lacking.

The definition does not take into consider Mom’s possessions in Christ. Notice how Peter describes these: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you, who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (I Peter 1:3-5).”

Our possessions are an inheritance that is:
• Imperishable
• Undefiled (It can’t be soiled or stained”
• Unfading (It won’t wear out and its resources can’t be exhausted))
• Reserved in heaven for every believer

This inheritance is the result of God’s “great mercy” through which “He gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Do you see the importance of the resurrection? The “new birth” or salvation is associated with the mercy of God and the “living hope” we have in Jesus.

What was the time period between the death of Jesus and His resurrection? Most people answer it was three days. Isn’t a day 24 hours? Doesn’t 3 X 24 = 72?

Remember that check I received in the mail? It was for $72.72. Mom’s estate or “the whole of her possessions” are much more than 72 bucks—it’s everything that Jesus has to offer!

Bumps and Bruises

imagesLife for some people seems to be rather easy. Others, however, feel as though life is an existence that is full of bumps and bruises.

How about you? Can you identify with some of these feelings or questions?

• Have you had an encounter with someone who is as mean as a junk yard dog and you’re hoping someone has your back?
• Is fear the dominant emotion in your life and the one that controls you?
• Do you feel like you are in over your head and about to drown?
• Are there some detrimental currents that are overwhelming you and dragging you off course?
• Have the circumstances of your life burnt you one too many times and you want to quit?
• Do you feel unloved, unwanted, and unneeded?

If you can identify with any of the questions above, you might find some comfort in the verses below:

Now, this is what the Lord says, the one who created you . . .“Don’t be afraid, for I will protect you. I call you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I am with you; when you pass through the streams, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not harm you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your deliverer (Isaiah 43:1-3).

Instead of looking at life through the lens of your bumps and bruises, I encourage you to understand it through the context of the verses above.


Yesterday’s edition of the Wichita Eagle ran a story on solar powered cars, and reported that, “Engineering students built the cars to reduce aerodynamic drag but also to absorb the most sunlight.”

After reading the design of the engineers, I thought of Romans 14:13-14: “Let us live decently as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in discord and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to arouse its desires.”

In these verses Paul warns you about the “drag” of sin on your spiritual walk. He also gives a clue to the source of your power: “put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as the solar powered car is designed “to absorb the most sunlight,” you are to walk in the light as He is in the light, so you can fellowship with Him (I John 1:7).

Absorbing the Son’s light is the secret to an aerodynamic life.

A Promise Kept

I-PromiseYesterday I kept a commitment I made to my mother in 2009. Mom and I were sitting on her deck enjoying our coffee, and the discussion turned to end-of-life issues. As we talked, Mom said that when the time came, she wanted me to speak at her funeral.

I kept that promise yesterday, and I used Proverbs 3:1-2 as my text: “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.”

I summarized Mom’s “teaching” in 10 lessons:

• #1: Justice should be swift and there is benefit to impending doom. Mom believed in executing judgment and then let me squirm with the words: “And when your dad gets home you’re telling him what you’ve done.
• #2: The cure for sowing wild oats is to pull weeds. There were fewer weeds in our lawn than any other place in town. The price of misdeeds was to uproot unwanted weeds.
• #3: The remedy for poor speech is a bar of soap. My mouth was washed out with soap so many times, I could tell you what brand it was just by the taste.
• #4: Be thrifty. Solomon said that we should, “Consider the ways of the ant and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” With 8 kids, Mom couldn’t afford to be frivolous, so she would study the weekly ads and then stock the food pantry with whatever was on sale.
• #5: Splurge once in a while. Birthdays were special because Mom indulged you by cooking whatever you wanted to eat.
• #6: Be timely. Ecclesiastes 8:6 tell us that, “A wise man’s heart discerns both time and judgment, because for every matter there is a time and judgment, though the misery of man increases greatly.” There were times each one of the kids in the family experienced an increase in their misery index because they arrived home one minute after curfew.
• #7: Clean your plate. I never understood why I was supposed to clean my plate, but I wasn’t permitted to lick my ice cream bowl.
• #8: Eat a little bit each time and you’ll learn to like it. Some of Mom’s kids never learned to choke-down slimy green vegetables.
• #9: Life isn’t fair. Mom had more than her share of trials and sorrows, but she believed that when hard times come your way you should trust God, huddle with your family, lean on your friends, and pull yourself up by your boot straps and keep on keeping on.
• #10: Love. In I Corinthians 13 we’re told that, “Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Regardless of what I did, Mom’s love for me never wavered.

My siblings and I were blessed with a wonderful mother, and we thank God for her love and the lessons she shared with us.

See You Later

SONY DSCAt 1:20 AM Friday morning, my mother passed away. Instead of saying “goodbye,” I choose to say “see you later.” From my conversations with Mom, I believe the moment she took her last breath, she immediately went to Heaven.

On Wednesday of last week she had a horrible day, so I sat beside her and spoke to her about what and who she had waiting for her in Heaven. Two of my sisters joined me as we sang “Jesus Loves Me.”

Over the last week I continued to reassure Mom that it was ok to die; that she did not have to continue to fight for her kids; and that, we would all be fine, and I said: “Mom you can go on the Heaven.”

Love you Mom, and I’ll see you later.

…….I may not post here for a few days as I tend to the situation at hand….

Vintage 1969

moonprintThe picture to the left was taken 45 years ago. It is the remnant of one of the first foot prints to be left on the surface of the moon.

On July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr. touched down on the surface of the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission. At 10:39:33 PM EDT, Armstrong opened the hatch of the lunar module and climbed down the ladder to the moon’s surface. He then made his historic statement: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

moonbootArmstrong and Aldrin were wearing boots made from a special silicon rubber developed by GE. To commemorate this event, GE decided to make 100 pairs of a moon boot sneaker called The Missions, and they will sell for $196.90 a pair.

Even though the Bible doesn’t say anything about walking on the moon, it does say quite a bit about walking for the Master:

• We are called to follow the example of Jesus and walk in love (Ephesians 5:2).
• We are to follow in the footsteps of the faith of Abraham (Romans 4:12).
• We are to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
• We are to walk as children of light (Ephesians 5:8).
• We are to walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10).
• Paul issued a warning to those who walked in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but were busybodies (I Thessalonians 3:11).

You don’t have to buy a pair of fancy boots to go on a mission for God, but you should take the time to acknowledge Him and allow Him to direct your paths: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).”

Ever Been Gobsmacked?

wowI want to do two things with this blog today. First, I want to share Lamentations 3:22-26 with you—it’s a favorite of mine: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

Second, I want to express my long-overdue gratitude to the Navigators. While I was in the Air Force and was stationed in Colorado Springs, I came to know Christ. Shortly after that, I was befriended by a “nav,” and was invited out to the Navigators headquarters in Glen Eyrie in 1972.

I was gobsmacked to learn how much Scripture my friend had memorized. There were several shoe boxes full of hundreds of cards with Scripture printed on them, and he had committed them to memory.

By the way, there was a third thing I wanted to do today—I wanted to use “gobsmacked” in a sentence. Gobsmacked means “astounded.”

I was more than just astounded by the spiritual discipline of the people I met at the Navigators—I was also challenged to begin memorizing Scripture, and I’m thankful for this because it changed my life (Psalm 119:9-11).

One of the first verses I committed to memory was the passage from Lamentations, and there is some gobsmacking and astounding truth in these words from the prophet Jeremiah:

• God’s love is steadfast and it never ceases
• His mercies are endless, they never go stale, and they are renewed every morning
• God’s faithfulness is great
• Because God’s resources are enough to meet my needs I can hope in Him
• When you wait on God and seek Him, you will experience His goodness and His salvation

If you will claim the truth of this Scripture, you might just have a gobsmacking day today.

3 P’s For the Big D’s

When everything in your life is going great, you might speak about the goodness of God with a joyful heart. How easy is it to do this when everything is going wrong?

In the good times, it is easy to agree with the words of Psalm 115:3: “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.” This Scripture and many others proclaims God to be the ruler of the Universe, and as such, He has the right to do whatever he desires.

An example of this is found in Daniel 4:35: “He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”

The sovereign power of God is seen in three principles:
• God is omnipresent (present everywhere)—Psalm 139:7-12
• God is omnipotent (all powerful)__Genesis 18:14
• God is omniscient (all knowing)—Psalm 139:2-6

When things go wrong people often find some comfort in Romans 8:28: “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

When you get punched in the gut by the heartaches and trials of life, God will breathe life back into you, and He will use these unwanted experiences for your benefit. He is present when you or a loved one is forced to face depression, divorce, or death.

When you think you are alone, He is present, and He will never leave you nor forsake you. When you feel like you do not have the strength to go on, His strength will never fail. When you do not know what to do, He always knows the way through the darkness.

In his second letter to the church at Corinth, Paul wrote to them about the benefit of suffering: “All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too (The Message).”

In the tough times, remember this: God is always “alongside” of you. Take His hand, and let Him guide you.