You may be familiar with an old gospel hymn entitled, “It Is Well With My Soul.” It’s a beautiful song that grows out of a time of adversity for Horatio Spafford.
Horatio Spafford (1828-1888) was a wealthy Chicago lawyer with a thriving legal practice, a beautiful home, a wife, four daughters and a son. He was also a devout Christian and friends with Dwight L. Moody.
At the very height of his financial and professional success, Horatio and his wife Anna suffered the tragic loss of their young son. Shortly thereafter on October 8, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed almost every real estate investment that Spafford had.
In 1873, Spafford scheduled a boat trip to Europe in order to give his wife and daughters a much needed vacation and time to recover from the tragedy. Spafford sent his wife and daughters ahead of him while he remained in Chicago to take care of some unexpected last minute business. Several days later he received notice that his family’s ship had encountered a collision. All four of his daughters drowned; only his wife had survived.
With a heavy heart, Spafford boarded a boat that would take him to his grieving Anna in England. It was on this trip that he penned the famous hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul.”
The song goes…
“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.
It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.”
Is it well with your soul today? It can be.
Over the years, I’ve met and talked with lots of people. Many times, I’ve asked people to do something in the church. When I’ve made that request, many times the person will respond with, “Let me pray about that.”
Ok, I understand. None of us need to live outside the will of God. But. do we need to pray about everything? Let me explain.
God has already revealed to us, in His word, various things we are supposed to do. God has told us to worship, to witness, to serve, to give etc…We don’t have to pray about those things.. God has already said to do it!
In the book of Exodus, Israel was leaving Egypt and they came to the Red Sea. They looked and Pharoah and his army were pursuing them. So. Pharoah’s army is on one side and the Red Sea is on the other. At this time, Moses prays. God answers with, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell Israel to get going!”
I feel like God may do the same with us today. Do not misunderstand me; I’m not minimizing the power of prayer. I’m simply saying that there may be times when we don’t need to pray about something… we need to just do it!
So, is there something God has already told you to do? He’s told us to worship… give… serve… love… etc… God wants His people to worship. He wants us to serve. He wants us to pray… We don’t need to pray about those things. We just need to do it!
Wednesday night after church, the kids from Awana’s had ganged up in the foyer of the church. There were two boys who were obviously brothers and I asked their names. The oldest of the two is a pretty tall kid. I said, “You are tall.” His younger brother (who is shorter) turns around and says, “I’m….. kinda tall!”
He got a chuckle out of my wife. :)
The little boy wanted to be included in the conversation… His older brother was getting all the attention and wanted some of it. We are all like that younger boy at times. Every human being needs attention… love… affirmation… That’s how God wired us. And, you don’t have to be tall to be significant in God’s eyes.
Today, whether short or tall, whether athletic or un-athletics whether intelligent or average.. whether rich or poor… know that God loves you… just as you are.
Blood equals life. There are times when a person has lost lots of blood and Doctors are concerned that they may die. There are times when family and friends will be asked to donate blood for a specific person. The blood in our bodies carries oxygen throughout our circulatory system. Blood has always signified life.
Go back with me several thousand years. There was a time when the people of Israel were slaves in Egypt. God used ten plagues to convince the leader of Egypt, Pharoah, to let His people go. For the final plague, God told Israel to slay a lamb and put blood from that lamb on their door-posts. Then, God would appoint an angel, the death angel, to pass over the land. God said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.”
Think about that… “when I see the blood… I will pass over…” Now, go with me to the cross where Jesus died. On the cross, Jesus shed His blood. The blood Jesus shed has in it the power to forgive us our sins.
So, today, our sins are forgiven through the power of the blood of Jesus. Whatever you have done… whatever sin you’ve committed… Jesus covers our sins through the power of His blood.
“What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
“Grace be with you all.”
Those are the last words of the book of Hebrews… “Grace be with you all.” What does “grace” mean?
Grace means mercy. Grace means forgiveness. Grace means love. Grace means patience. As the people of God, our lives should be marked by grace. A church should be marked by grace.
But what does it mean to say we should be “marked by grace?” It means to love one another. It means to forgive one another. It means to help one another. It means to welcome the person who has messed up in life and love them. It means not being judgmental.
“Grace, Grace, God’s grace;
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within.
Grace, Grace, God’s grace;
Grace that is greater than all our sin.”
Kevin Myers is the founding Pastor of 12 Stone Church. In hiss book “Home Run,” Kevin talks about the challenges of planting the church. At one point he drove back to Michigan to ask for his old job back, on staff at his Mother church. However, his Pastor wouldn’t give him his job back. Instead, he told him, “I believe you are where God wants you.” Then, his Pastor added, “Kevin, if you are struggling with faith, borrow mine.”
I can identify! Have you ever struggled with faith? I bet you have. Maybe you are struggling with faith now. If you are, you aren’t the first and you won’t be the last. Like Kevin Myers, maybe you need to borrow someone’s faith today . you may not be able to trace God’s hand today but, you can trust His heart.
The grace of God amazes me!
You are familiar with Moses, right? The great law-giver? Well, before Moses got the Ten Commandments from God, Moses killed an Egyptian. Yep, you read that right; Moses killed a man.
After killing the Egyptian, Moses fled to Midian. He remained there for years until one day, God appeared to Moses in a burning bush. Moses stopped and approached the bush. While Moses was gazing at the bush, God spoke to him and told him He wanted him to lead His people out of Egypt.
Moses argued with God for a while and God finally appointed Aaron, Moses brother, to be Moses’ spokesperson but God would use Moses to before Pharoah and try to convince him to let the Israelites go.
This story amazes me. God used a man who had killed another man. God will use you as well. All of us have made mistakes. All of us have things in our past that we think would disqualify us from service for God. But they don’t.
If God is calling you but you think you have messed up too bad in the past, God will use you. Just as he used Moses, He will use you. And, we need to stop being so hard on people who make mistakes. There are people who served in the Bible who m ay not be able to serve in today’s church. We need to stop judging and start using people whom God has forgiven. Just like He did Moses.