Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
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It Is Well With My Soul
I am going to share on a personal level this week. This past eight months has been a true test of our faith. We have gone through many trials including putting our house up for sale, believing for a buyer, building a new house, me being involved in an auto accident and missing many weeks of unpaid time off and finally the death of my father. It was a time of pain, sorrow, frustration, anger and grief. There were times we both felt like stumbling and "throwing in the towel", yet we never did. We leaned on The Lord and so today I can truthfully say, "It is well with my soul." I use this refrain from a favorite old hymn, because as I was driving down the road the other day, this chorus from the hymn kept going through my mind until I found myself singing it as I drove. "It is well with my soul!"
How did we maintain our peace and faith through all this? It was difficult at times, yet for me personally I kept a few Scriptures in my heart and mind and stood on them daily.
Proverbs: 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6. in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
This is a simple but basic truth. Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding.
Why shouldn’t we lean on our own understanding? Because it is fed by our five senses, seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling and smelling. In other words, our understanding is governed by the world’s way of doing things, not God’s. If we depend on ourselves during times of trials, we will mess it up! We will over analyze, underestimate and act too quickly and get in God’s way if we lean on our own abilities.
I thank God; I was raised in a Christian household! The basic truths taught me by both my parents enabled me to go on with God, grow as a Christian and develop the ability to see who my enemy is and to emerge victoriously each time! It was hard at times, but I stood fast and God was faithful to do his part.
I always remembered, God loves me and wants only good for me.
Jeremiah 29:11-13: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
I went to the Lord, for strength and comfort. I went to His Word for knowledge and answers and there in His Word was what I was seeking. Peace, the peace that passeth understanding.
It is so easy for us to run to our relatives or friends for help or answers, but believe me, it is God's Word, that has the answers, no where else!
Jesus promised us peace, and that is what I expected and accepted, nothing less!
John 14:27: 27: Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Isaiah 53:5: 5. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
Jesus Christ bore the punishment for our sins upon His body, so that we might have peace.
This word for peace denotes wholeness, oneness, and completeness. If we dwell on our problems and grief instead of God’s answer, the inevitable will happen, we will loose our peace. This means our peace of mind, but it also means wholeness in our body. When God’s peace dwells in your heart you refuse to worry, you refuse to lose sleep; you don’t overeat or stop eating. You go on with your life, you can cope, because you have God’s strength and peace inside you, this strength and peace keeps you going with joy, because you know "it is well with my soul." Amen!
This kind of relationship with the Lord does not happen overnight. It comes with time spent with God, praying, reading and studying His Word.
Isaiah 26:3: 3. You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
When you renew your mind with God's Word, then that is where your mind stays, on God, not on your problems. One of our biggest trials was finances. We took a giant step of faith, selling our house and building another. In the natural we were doing fine, we made enough when we sold our previous home, to make a good down payment and have extra’s added to the home, so that in essence it would become our "dream home." Yet in the middle of all this, came the auto accident. I was injured and now off work without pay! So what had been an extra amount of money for the new house became what we lived on until I could return to work. Yet, through it all God was faithful. We never went without, missed payments or had to compromise on what we wanted. We were still faithful in paying our tithes and offerings. We always continued to give, even when it looked like we couldn’t afford to. It is very important for us to remember, that when money is tight, the last thing you want to do is stop tithing and giving offerings. It is through the tithe that God is able to honor His Word and bless you.
Malachi 3:10-11: 10. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now in this,'' says the Lord of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. 11. "And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,'' says the Lord of hosts;
There is a two part promise here, we bring in our tithes and God will open the windows of heaven for us. But He also will rebuke the devourer (Satan) for us. That means that Satan will not be allowed to steal your hard earned wages, your job, your home etc. When you are obedient, God has to honor that! It is that simple!
So this brings me back to the beginning. "It is well with my soul."
This hymn was written by Horatio G. Spafford, 1828-1888. In the years between 1871 and 1873, this gentleman lost all his real estate holding in the Chicago fire, experienced the loss of his son and then in November of 1873, he lost his four daughters in a shipwreck as they were traveling to England with their mother. Mr. Spafford was a devoted Christian and student of God's Word. The words of the psalmist inspired this hymn. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
Through all his grief and tragedy, this man was still able to say "it is well with my soul."
It was the inspired words of his hymn that welled up in my spirit, a few days ago because, despite all my trials and grief’s, leading me to sing "it is well with my soul!"
My question for you today is, Is it well with your soul? Or are you overcome with worry, grief and sorrow. Let me urge you today, turn to the true answer, the strength and tower of your life, Jesus Christ.
Psalms 18:1-2: 1. I will love You, O Lord, my strength. 2. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalms 19:14: 14. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.
Psalms 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalms 27:13-14: I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.
Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you want to be a joint heir with Christ?
If so, I urge you to earnestly pray the following prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "…and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),
So I know You won’t cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "… with the heart one believes to righteousness…" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.