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It is Still Well - A Devotion

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Philippians 4:7 (AMP)
And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Yesterday was a pivotal day in our life, it seems like so many things came together that had been previously scattered and unknown – now falling into place. As if walking away from a collision where no one is expected to survive, feeling your body to make sure everything is intact, and unbelievably discovering you made it through the terrible ordeal unharmed. Yep, that is where I was at. Shell shocked from the journey, our son’s doctor commented that “mom” looked drained. I bristled a bit because I do not feel drained emotionally, spiritually or physically. I bit tired from bunking with a night owl that’s for sure. But I would never want it to be implied or suggested that I am anything but satisfied. I have decided that at the end of this leg of the journey that it is still well with my soul.

I have found great comfort in the hymn “It is Well” by Horatio Spafford. A mighty man of God who spent time with D.L. Moody and other great Biblical scholars, he was a very successful business man in the 1800’s. After reading his story, I have decided that he was the image of Job. Spafford was a very successful lawyer living a perfect life in Chicago. His wealth amassed a great deal of valuable real estate. He had a beautiful home, wife and five children. He was a devout Christian and faithful student of scriptures. However, this did not exempt him from trials and tragedy. At the height of his success, his young son tragically died. The great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed also every real estate investment that he had. He decided his family needed a vacation. They were to sail to Europe. At the last minute, an urgent business matter kept him back and he would join his family shortly after their arrival. There was a collision and all four of his remaining children died with only his wife surviving. His story definitely mirrors that of Job. As he boarded a ship to meet his grieving wife, he penned the words that have resonated from that moment until today – “It is well with my soul.” There is comfort in those words for a broken heart, beaten spirit and suffering soul. To be able to say with faith and confidence after all is said and done that is STILL well with my soul is a blessing beyond anything I could think or imagine. It is found in God’s Love alone.

Philippians 4:6 (AMP)
Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.

Do not have anxiety about anything. This is much easier for some people than others. We can decide not to worry about today but if there is no confidence that things are taken care it will be a constant futile battle of mind over matter. The Word of God says in every circumstance give everything to God by prayer, petition and definite requests. One cannot be sure of their faith unless they spend some time getting to know their covenant contract with the Lord. You cannot expect certain things or request them without knowing what is available and how to attain it. Like withdrawing from your bank account requires identification, receiving God’s Blessings requires that we are identified as Children of God. The Holy Spirit is our guarantee that these things will come to pass but many people choose to ignore the spirit and feed the flesh then wonder why nothing is prospering in their life. We are invited and encouraged to make our requests to the Lord. The word it uses is “wants”. Why not our needs? God has already provided. If we properly identify ourselves as Children living according to the Spirit and not the flesh, God’s Provision is as easy as opening the pantry door in your parent’s house. It is yours for the taking. I fret. I worry. I get anxious. All of these are consistent battles in my life, but as I learn to surrender one by one to the Lord – He has been faithful with each and every single thing that I have entrusted to Him. Unfortunately, it has taken a mighty trail and exhausting all my resources to come to that conclusion. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We cannot have peace unless we learn to shift our dependency from the things of this world, people in it and ourselves completely over to the Lord. His Grace and Mercy provides a shelter for every time we snatch it back in fear and settle for something far less than He planned. Peace comes at a price. The prices is called faith. Faith without confidence is useless. But faith in total dependency becomes the hope that we hold on to. This anchor is forever secure.

Philippians 4:7 (AMP)
And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

The tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ is indescribable. I cannot explain it. I cannot show you it. I cannot even demonstrate its powerful affect. All I can say is that it is STILL well with my soul. It allows us to be fearless if we strive to live in His Love everyday rather than pursing other lovers. See that is the catch. You are not going to jump into the Arms of Jesus with the last fiber of your being, piece of your heart and strength in your body when all hell breaks loose unless you are absolutely sure of the unseen but totally relevant certainty of His Love. It’s a trust fall. I am very reluctant to participate in such things because I do not easily trust people. Imagine my personal resistance when it came to an unseen but very real God. Contentment comes when we discover that this life is going to have trials, trouble, problems, circumstances and situations not facilitated by the Hand of God but a roaring, toothless and clawless lion that is bent on convincing us that His Grace is not sufficient and His Love is not enough to save us in our storm. We are offered God’s Love, Peace and Protection in our earthly lot. We assume it by becoming His Children and serving His Son. You want peace that passes all understanding today? Do you want a garrison or guard over your heart and mind so you won’t go crazy in this mess? You will only find it in Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:8 (AMP)
For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].

The little engine that could kept saying, “I think I can…I think I can…I think I can.” He made it over his mountain and that is how we will make it over ours, too! It begins with our thoughts. I have a wild imagination. My ability to produce what-ifs is epic. I can work up a frenzy that is quite elicit. Those rebellious thoughts keep me at the foot of the mountain never progressing over it as God intended. “For the rest…” not sure what context this is in but for me the Lord is telling us that “if you want to rest” fix your mind on these things. When we fix our mind on something it impacts our actions and changes our communication. For example, many years ago when our daughter came down with rapid onset debilitating asthma, I decided to give this faith and healing thing a go. Not just praying for her healing but really investing my faith in the effort. We pursued medical treatment. Doctor’s visits were up to as many as four times a week. Her breathing treatment machine went everywhere that we went. The medications barely broke through the wheezing and rattles in her little body. I knew this was not God’s Will for her life. I had this mustard seed of faith but no idea what to do about it. In an effort to change all that, I began diving headfirst in the Word of God. I didn’t want to hear from other people anymore I wanted to know exactly what God had to say about it. I sought guidance from other believers who I knew walked in faith for healing. Real Christians who lived it rather than only professing it. We prayed over her time and time again. When the day came that the doctor proclaimed that this would be her life forever, everything changed. Not only was she completely healed of asthma that day never having another occurrence to the complete astonishment of her physician but I changed. I now know the parameters of God’s Love and that no one can ever curse them because they are blessed Children of God. You don’t have to break a curse that never affixes itself to our life. How does it attach to us? In our thoughts and mind, you will never overcome anxiety and achieve perfect peace until you are absolutely sure of the things God has for you and the things that are completely unacceptable in our life. When you do, your faith becomes a force to be reckoned with. Confident hope is nothing more than confidence in God’s Love above all other forces in this world. We believe that God’s Love is greater than anything this world can bring against us.

Philippians 4:9 (AMP)
Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you.

When it comes to our faith, practice makes perfect. As we model the imagine of Christ in our life, we build up and fortify our faith so when the storm comes and ends life as we know it our faith is still standing after all is said and done. The faith that I began investing time and energy into when our baby girl was in distress was the mustard seed that would begin to grow in my life. Our son has had cancer diagnosed five times in his body. God has healed Him every time. What’s crazy is that I have not experienced fear but only agitation. There is a difference. I am offended when the enemy attacks because he has no right to. My insolence stirs up that faith and it becomes stronger. Yet still in the little, minor details I get swept away in fretting, worry and fear. The Lord proves faithful time and time again. Life is a process of learning to trust God until we completely turn our life over to Him in Eternity. We must practice. We must learn more about His Word, His Will and His Way. Christianity is not a hobby or pastime to be done in our spare time – it is a lifestyle of surrendering our life to the Lord piece by piece until we find the peace that He has promised so we say with all the saints, “It is STILL well with my soul!”

James 3:17-18 (AMP)
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure (undefiled); then it is peace-loving, courteous (considerate, gentle). [It is willing to] yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits; it is wholehearted and straightforward, impartial and unfeigned (free from doubts, wavering, and insincerity). And the harvest of righteousness (of conformity to God’s will in thought and deed) is [the fruit of the seed] sown in peace by those who work for and make peace [in themselves and in others, that peace which means concord, agreement, and harmony between individuals, with undisturbedness, in a peaceful mind free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts].

Undisturbedness gets the nasty redline of Spell Check warning us that this is not a word. It is right this is not a word that will ever comprehend or find outside of Jesus Christ. The events of the society that we live in are disturbing. Without wisdom of God and what He has planned for us, we will never have this peaceful state free from doubt, wavering and insincerity. The Harvest of Righteousness born of a seed of faith is peace. It requires conformity to God’s Will in thought and deed. When we do that we can live in agreement and harmony with God, mankind and ourselves. It is a peaceful state free from fear. True wisdom from God always is peace-loving. God wants to work it in us and through us until we are always in a state of rest. Even when all hell is breaking loose around us, faith remains strong and the anchor called hope secure so it is STILL well with us.

Hebrews 13:20-21 (AMP)
Now may the God of peace [Who is the Author and the Giver of peace], Who brought again from among the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood [that sealed, ratified] the everlasting agreement (covenant, testament), strengthen (complete, perfect) and make you what you ought to be and equip you with everything good that you may carry out His will; [while He Himself] works in you and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ (the Messiah); to Whom be the glory forever and ever (to the ages of the ages). Amen (so be it).

My husband and I have purchased two homes and refinanced one time. The process of closing on a house is overwhelming. The contract has a hundred pages with so much legal ease, one can only hope that they did not sign away their children and dog with it. It is painstaking to read over each page especially if you are unsure of the terms. We are in covenant with God. He has given us a copy of it called His Word. Jesus Christ even came to depict it for us in living color. You must know the terms of your covenant to have peace with your contract. God authored it so who better to explain it to you. He is the One who gives peace so who better to ask for it. This everlasting agreement is not complex but requires a sacrifice. We must put our faith in our covenant with the Lord. He signed His Part in Blood. All we have to give is what is left of this broken life. When we decide to give our faith to Jesus and live our life for Him, His Spirit will begin to equip us with every good thing that we need to carry out His Will. He will work in us to accomplish what He has ordained and called us to do. He accomplishes in a yielded vessel that which pleases Him. Don’t you see in Jesus Christ it is well with my soul and all that I must do is continue to give myself to Him? “Through it all…through it all… I’ve learned to trust in Jesus…I’ve learned to trust in God! Through it all… through it all…I’ve learned to depend on His Word.” It’s the “through it all” that leads us to the peace that passes all understanding because once we have been “through it all” faith is the only thing that will remain and that which is secured by confident hope. Now as another storm cloud disappears over the horizon, I am so thankful that “it is STILL well with my soul!” Just like He promised!

Psalm 16:8 (AMP)
I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

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