Sunday, October 30, 2011

It Is Well With My Soul

“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.”

I’m reading a book by Kenneth W. Osbeck that gives the background of some of the most popular gospel songs of our times. Osbeck states these songs were written out of personal experiences of the writers, and are heartfelt expressions of their undying faith in God.  One of my favorites, “It Is Well With My Soul” was written in 1873 by Horatio Gates Spafford, a young attorney from Chicago.  Spafford planned a trip to Europe for his family, a wife and 4 daughters.  He was detained in Chicago for business, but sent his family on, promising to meet them in Europe as soon as possible.  Halfway across the Atlantic, the ship was struck by another vessel and sank in twelve minutes.  Back in Chicago, Spafford was packing for his journey, when he received an urgent telegram which said, “Saved alone.  Your wife.”  Spafford’s wife was the only survivor of the family.  They lost all four of their daughters at sea.  I can’t even imagine what Mr. Spafford was thinking as he boarded another ship for Europe, knowing that he would only find his grieving wife waiting for him.  He later recounted that when the ship seemed to pass over the sight of the terrible accident at sea, he stood on the deck and looked out over the ocean.  It was at that moment that he was able to respond to his loss by turning to his faith in God.  The words “When sorrow like sea billows roll—whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well with my soul”, flowed through his mind and gave him peace in the face of tragedy.

We all face times in our lives when “sorrows like sea billows roll”, but we can take comfort in knowing that our God is the master of the sea and everything around it.  Take refuge in His strength and have the faith to say through whatever trials you may face, “it is well with my soul.”


Thursday, October 27, 2011

River of Life

Psalm 78:15-17

He split the rocks in the wilderness and gave them water as abundant as the seas;
He brought streams out of a rocky crag and made water flow down like rivers.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I heard a phrase a few months ago that I can’t seem to shake.  “Choose a second chance”.  I have thought about those words almost every day since I first heard them. They are four very simple but yet very profound words.  They are also words that are easy to say, but hard to live.   How many of us wish we had a second chance to say “I love you”, “I’m sorry”, or “I’m proud of you”?  Second chances seem to pass us by each day.  They are laid out before us, but we are too blind to see them.   We are blinded by fear, by pride, and by ignorance.  We fear that we don’t deserve a second chance, we are too prideful to say we need a second chance, and we are ignorant to the fact that we can be saved by a second chance.  Thank goodness that my God is a God of second chances.  Thank goodness that He looks beyond my fears, beyond my pride and beyond my ignorance.  He could have given up on me a long time ago.  But He didn’t.  He came to me with arms open His hands the gift of a second chance...the gift of eternal life.  If He did that for me (and you), shouldn’t we do that for each other? 
Is there someone in your life that deserves a second chance? Maybe you are the one who deserves that chance.  Maybe by accepting that chance you can learn to accept others for who they are and the chances they deserve.  Think about it, pray about it, and choose it.  God doesn’t offer something he doesn’t want you to have. 

Finding peace in a God of second chances,


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Let Your Light Shine

Having taught Kindergarten for a number of years, I learned a thing or two myself along the way.  I was lucky enough to have taught at a Christian school where things were centered on God.  Every year at this time, we would take the children to the pumpkin patch and then come back and carve a pumpkin for each class.  We would use the pumpkin to provide the children with an illustration that I think we could all understand.  We talked about the fact that in order to be able to put a light in a pumpkin as is the custom, we had to first get all the “yucky” stuff out of the inside.  We would cut open the top and proceed to scrape out all the gook allowing each child to get a handful themselves.  We compared the “gook” to the sin we have in our heart, and how we can’t have the light of Jesus in us until He comes in and “cleans us out”.  But first we have to ask Him to come into our hearts.  After we got the gook out and carved the face (always happy of course) we put the candle inside and lit it.  We would turn off the lights, and allow the glow of the pumpkin to light up the room.  I will never forget the first time I heard this illustration and what a simple understanding it gave me of sin.
Of course all of us have carved our own pumpkins through the years and we fully understand what a messy job it can be.  But I always found joy in seeing it lit up at night, a soft glow coming from every opening I had created. 

Jesus’ job on the cross was a very messy one.  He allowed himself to be cut and carved in our place.  He allowed himself take all of our “gook” with Him to the grave.  But he didn’t stay there long.  He rose victorious, leaving our sin behind.  Next time you see a pumpkin I hope you will remember this illustration and remember how lucky we are to have a Savior who comes in our hearts and cleans it out whenever we ask.  May His light always shine in you!




Friday, October 21, 2011

Going Out on a Limb

As up can see from the picture, we saw these “cute” bears enjoying an afternoon snack one day in the mountains.  It was amazing that we could get so close to them and take several pictures.  What was also amazing to me was their sense of balance and how the small tree (compared to others there) could hold the weight of the mother.  We watched the bears for at least 15-20 minutes and never once saw them lose their footing or seem afraid as they edged closer to the red berries.  I was also intrigued by the fact that the thin branches of the tree didn’t seem to even bend let alone break as the bears moved around.  If I only had the faith of those bears to go out on a limb so to speak, and have sure footing, knowing that the branch was not going to break.  Hopefully with time and lots of prayer, I will come to see that my Heavenly Father is that tree and that His branches can hold all the weight of my life without breaking or even bending.  Praise God! 
Going out on a limb in life is not the hard part, but trusting is.  Trust Him and “branch out”.  The farther you go, the better the view.
Peace, Kelly
2 Corinthians 5:7

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Path

My husband and I were lucky enough to take a trip to the mountains a few days ago.  It had been years since I had been up that way and experienced the beauty of that part of the country.  Needless to say, we did lots of hiking (and lots of panting and complaining).  Of course the terrain was very rough at times, but the views were well worth it!  As I was hiking this one trail which was pretty level, I wanted to make sure that I knew where we were going and didn’t get lost.  I kept my eyes fixed to the ground just ahead of me so I wouldn’t lose my footing on the rocks or fallen branches.  Of course the ground was full of fresh fallen leaves, but I was surprised by the number of tree roots that were exposed.  As I became more confident with my walk, I began to look around more.  I didn’t want to miss anything.  I saw the beautiful colors of fall, rock filled streams, and even hoped to see a deer or two.   I soon became so focused on looking all around me, that I didn’t look down at the path for some time.  Suddenly I tripped over one of the roots that were sticking out of the ground and almost fell.  That brought my eyes back down for the rest of the walk. 

As Christians I think we are somewhat like that.  We tend to keep our eyes on the ground, focused on what is right in front of us, afraid to look ahead.  We miss so much of what surrounds us by doing that.  The “big picture” is lost in our tunnel vision.  But other times we may be so busying look around, looking for something better, that we miss what is right in front of us. We stumble and fall, and then we become afraid again.  If only we could “balance” our vision.  That is where faith comes in.  We have to have faith to follow the path that God puts before us.  We have to have faith to be able to look ahead without the fear of stumbling, and look down without missing out.  There are many roots in our lives, waiting to trip us up, but if we continue to be so afraid to look up for fear of stumbling, we might miss out on the vast blessings God has laid out around us.  I want to let God guide my path.  I want him to tell me when to look down, and when to look ahead.  And if I do stumble and fall, guess who will be there to catch me!

Psalm 199: 105



Saturday, October 8, 2011


Matthew 4:19

My husband is a minister and so from time to time (when I listen to his sermons :) I pick up something that I want to share.  He spoke about our GPS (we named her Lois) and the benefits of having a device that could help us get to someplace we had never been before.  I have come to rely on Lois which is both good and bad.  I have used her many times to get  to the right place, but have learned the hard way that I have to make sure that I plug in the right information.  One little mistake in the address can send you to the wrong place!  I have also "over used" her.  For instances, I have been to this one particular place three times now, but I still use Lois to reassure me of where I'm going. 
As Christians, we have our own know what I'm going to say right?  Yes God..He was around before Lois and unlike Lois, he will never take us to the wrong place, no matter what we do.  We can try to make our own way, follow our own directions, or the directions of others.    But He is always there saying, "recalculate", turn around..follow me"! He doesn't mind "over using Him". Sometimes we think we have all the answers and just need God as a safety net. But that's not what He wants.  He wants us to stay plugged into him at all times.   As long as we stay plugged into God, as long as we follow His directions, and as long as we fully rely on Him, we will end up in the right place every time.  It just might take us a while to get there, but journey will be worth it!
On the road again.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Under Construction

Ruth Graham was the wife of the Billy Graham, one of the most revered preachers of our time.  I recently saw a documentary on their life and was so impressed with the way she loved the Lord as well as her family.  Mr. Graham often said that his ministry wouldn't have been the same without her support.  But she had a ministry of her own.  She may not have been in front of thousands of people at a time calling them to Christ, but her words and actions were very powerful.  Mrs. Graham has been gone for a few years now, but her vision lives on.  I loved what she had inscribed on her grave, (no headstone, just a slab over her grave).  She had the words written: "End of construction.  Thank you for your patience." Wow!  A woman  who was chosen by one of most godly men on earth to be his wife felt like she was not complete until she died.  I'm sure her motto before death was "Still under construction."  She lived each day humbled, saying, "God is not done with me"!  She sought Him everyday.  She prayed for Him to build her up and mold her into a work of art. 
I'm so glad that I am still under construction.  I'm glad that I have the Master Builder working on me!  But I will be even happier when I can see God face to face and say, "End of construction. Thank you for your patience."


Monday, October 3, 2011


My church recently had a revival.  Nothing new for many churches in our nation.  100s of church a year have revivals.  They are promoted and anticipated for months.  Sunday school classes cook wonderful meals and ladies in the church make the guest preachers feel welcome.  But it is more than that. Is it more than just the dedicated of the church to attend and be seen.  I have to admit that I have never been to a revival before.  I am a Sunday morning Christian.  I may do a little more on Christmas and Easter, and go on a youth trip now and then.. but going to church 3 nights in a row?  Who wants to do that?  But let me tell you it was one of the biggest blessing of my life.  The first night I attended was out of obligation.  Let’s admit it, I’m married to the preacher of the church, wouldn’t look good if I wasn’t there.  The second night was out of curiosity ,  I heard something the night before that got my attention..made me think.  And the third night?  Well that was out of conviction.  I was convicted to be revived, to be renewed, to be restored.  Sometimes obligation leads to curiosity and curiosity leads to knowledge.  Knowledge can lead to conviction.  Our revival services are over and done with, but God’s true revival will never be done, until the last days.  I hope to live not only in survival, but in revival as well.  The later is the best!



Sunday, October 2, 2011


The tables were set, the glasses full of water, and the food cooked.  Now all we needed were the guest.  We bought the best we had, clean plates, shiny silverware, and spotless glasses.  We even had fall decorations on the tables.  We were ready!  Then they came in.  Just one or two at a time at first, and then groups of three and four.  They were tired and hungry.  Some of them still wearing the clothes they wore the day before.  They sat down and we began to serve them a breakfast that Waffle House would be proud of.  Some looked at us and said thank you the only way they knew how, with a soft smile.  Others told us that this was the first time in a long time that they sat around a clean table and ate from “real” plates.  By the end of the morning, we had fed over 60 men and women who had come to our town with the fair.  Most looked tired and poor.  Others just looked lost.  We fed them that morning but they fed us as well. They allowed us to be His hands and feet.  Who will you feed today?  Who will you meet that is hungry and in need?  Maybe your blessing will come when you serve others.  Maybe you will be “fed” more than they.  I know I was!