Archives For Simple Thoughts

Worship Wednesdays Banner

Today’s Worship Wednesday song comes to us from Bethel Music & singer Kristen Dimarco. The song is entitled “It Is Well”.

You may or may not have ever heard the story behind the great hymn “It Is Well With My Soul”. If you have then hang on; if you haven’t then here is the short version.

Horatio Spafford lost most of his entire fortune during the great Chicago fire in 1871. Shortly thereafter,  his four-year-old son died from scarlet fever. In 1873, he decided to take his family to Europe to visit D. L. Moody & Ira Sankey. When an urgent matter detained Horatio in New York, he decided to send his wife and four daughters on ahead and he would join them soon.

The French ship Ville du Havre traveled across the Atlantic Ocean heading for Europe. During the night, the ship collided with an iron sailing vessel. Water began to pour into the ship and soon it sank below the waters. There were a total of 226 fatalities that evening, which included Horatio’s four daughters. His wife was saved and escorted to the country of Wales. Upon arrival, she contacted her husband by cable and said “Saved Alone”.

Horatio quickly boarded another ship heading to meet his wife. As the vessel was passing over the site of the downed Ville De Havre, the captain of the ship contacted him to let him know. Horatio said the following words “It is well. The will of God be done.”

Upon reaching his wife, he quickly penned the words to this incredible hymn:

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.”

Bethel Music has written “It Is Well” that talks about the same subject – when things get tough and the storms of life seem to be beating us down. Even in the middle of the storm, if we know Jesus, we can say … it is well!

The first verse & chorus of “It Is Well” says this:

Verse 1
Grander earth has quaked before moved by the sound of His voice
Seas that are shaken and stirred can be calmed and broken for my regard

Chorus
And through it all, through it all my eyes are on You
And through it all, through it all it is well
And through it all, through it all my eyes are on You
It is well with me

I don’t know what storms you are going through right now in your life but know this, Jesus Christ is the answer!

Matthew 8:23-27 says

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

Let me encourage you today and let’s worship Him because He is the one that the wind and seas obey! I pray that we all can say in the middle of storms – “It is well. The will of God be done.”

 

Points To Ponder

Disclaimer: These are articles or blog post that I have found interesting over the past few weeks. This does not mean that I agree with each and every point.


Does Jeremiah 29:11 Apply to You?

Russell Moore

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

These words are the John 3:16 of American cultural Christianity. Watch how often they show up on the Bible verse plaques sold in Bible Belt mall kiosks or posted on Facebook walls, even on tattoos. Whether as home decor or on social media posts, I see this passage claimed fervently by people I know haven’t been in a church service since the first Bush Administration. Naturally, this love for this verse has often led to more theologically-oriented Christians lamenting the out-of-context use of Jeremiah 29:11. So much so that a young Christian asked me recently, “Does Jeremiah 29:11 apply to me, or not?”

Read Full Article…


The Necessary First Step In Making Disciples

Dylan Blaine

In college, three good friends of mine were Indian nationals. They lived together––a Hindu, a Sikh, and a Muslim. I would visit their home and we would eat together, often bringing up spiritual topics. One day, I asked them what they thought about Jesus’ words in John 14:6:

I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Their reaction was incredulous disbelief that Jesus would say this. As a young Christian, I wasn’t aware of the traditional existence of these three religious beliefs in India, including the Islamic idea of Jesus as a mere prophet.  I confess that I found myself at a loss, unsure of how to answer their objections. Instead of an open Bible and a patient spirit, I said no more of the gospel, afraid that my apparent lack of understanding would somehow defame Christ. They had questions. I gave them silence.

READ FULL ARTICLE…


Why We Don’t  Commit To The Church

David Platt

I am increasingly convinced that the “me-centeredness” that is so prevalent in our church culture is in large part due to a deficient understanding of the church, its nature and essence.

Listen or Read Full Article…


Disciplining Your Children Without Losing Your Cool

Ginger Plowman – Family Life

I can relate to the frustrations of parenting little ones all day. Been there, done that! I also know how easy it is for mom to lose her cool. I was really struggling one day in particular when my children were younger. Feeling guilty for the harsh words and not-so-sweet tone of voice I had used all day, I decided to write down some guidelines that would enable me to keep myself in check.

Read Full Article…

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”. – James 1:2-4

The book of James is a very practical book that helps us to live out our faith and actually do it – not just read it or hear it!

James starts chapter one by telling us who it is he is talking to – “…the twelve tribes in the Dispersion”. He is talking to fellow christians. These were the people who were scattered throughout the world by the Assyrians and Babylonians.

count-it-all-joyJames jumps right into verse two by saying, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…”. Joy in trials…really? I have been through my share of trials and it is very difficult to be joyful. But this is what God is telling us we should do – count it all joy!

WHY? Why are we to count the trials as joy?

Answer: Because the testing of our faith produces steadfastness – and steadfastness, when it is finished, helps us to be made perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

James is telling us that the trials we are going through are not wasted times in our lives. They are not coincidence.  This “testing of your faith” is something that God wants to use in your life, my life, to make us more like Him.

That phrase “testing of your faith” is awesome when you break it down. “Testing” is a phrase that silversmiths would use when they wanted to purify silver. They would fill a pot with silver and then heat it up. At a certain temperature, all of the impurities would rise to the top and the silversmith would scoop the top layer off and discard it.

The silversmith would then look into the pot of silver. If he did not see his own reflection then he would repeat the process. This process, or the testing of the silver, was done until the silversmith was able to see his own reflection in the silver.

That is what God is doing with us! He is telling us that the trials or test that we are going through are there to challenge our faith and to make our faith more genuine. The tests are there to burn the impurities out of our lives, so that we will look more and more like Jesus. Each trial is there for a purpose – for God to look down and see more and more of himself in our lives.

So, how do you look at “trials of various kinds”? As nothing more than bumps in the road of life or something that will make you look more and more like Jesus?

Several weeks ago I wrote a blog entitled  Trusting God in the Middle of Political TurmoilI talked about how Habakkuk came to the realization that God was sovereign and in control of everything, even when we think everything is falling part. This conclusion was reached only after he had questioned God’s justice, but in the end realized his justice is far beyond  our comprehension.

Today, I want to continue talking about the prophet Habakkuk and give you 4 takeaways from this book that I believe we all can learn from and put into practice.

Takeaway #1: God is just and merciful, even though his people may not always understand his ways (2:4)

  • This goes back to the overall point of Habakkuk that God is sovereign and in control of everything! We must wait patiently for God’s plan to unfold and to believe that God will accomplish it.

Takeaway #2: Wickedness will eventually be punished, and the righteous will ultimately see God’s justice (2:5-20)

  • God has given us HIS promise that He will punish the wicked but it will be in HIS time – not our!

Takeaway #3: God uses some wicked nations to punish other wicked nations, but ultimately God will judge all nations (1:6 & 2:5-20)

  • God was the one that “raised up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, who marched through the breadth of the earth, to seize dwellings not their own”. God used the Chaldeans to begin to punish Judah.

Takeaway #4: The key phrase “but the righteous will live by faith” summarizes the path of life God sets for his people. (2:4).

  • The kind of faith that Habakkuk describes is continuing trust in God and clinging to God’s promises, even in the darkest days.

* Takeaways were taken from the ESV Study Bible