Inspirational Christian writing

This site is about inspirational Christian writing and self-reflection. It is meant to inspire the chosen and the ones who will be. It’s about everyday life and situations and things we all encounter, and how we react to them or perceive them. I like to write from a biblical perspective. We can all relate to a good story, especially one’s we all have things in common with. Click through, read some posts, and please… Join in the discussion and share your thoughts and experiences! You can even get a FREE book of quotes just for subscribing!

IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL

when sorrows like sea billows roll

I grew up listening to old Hymnal songs in a conservative Baptist setting. I didn’t do too much in the way of singing. Sometimes when I did sing it was usually done out of sheer boredom.

I heard the songs so often during my formative years that sometimes even now at this age, I wake up with one of those old traditional Hymns stuck in my head. You might remember some of them, like Amazing Grace, Just As I Am, How Great Thou Art?

Last Thursday I heard one of those old Hymns I hadn’t heard in decades. The song is titled It Is Well With My Soul.

I may have heard the history of the song sometime in my life because the author of the song’s name sounded familiar. That sort of history doesn’t matter too much to a bored kid. The words of the song, however, would remain in that kid’s mind and heart forever.

The song was written by Horatio G. Spafford. Spafford lost his son at four years of age. Shortly thereafter, the successful attorney lost the majority of his wealth in a real estate investment due to the Great Chicago Fire in 1871.

Two years later Spafford planned a trip for his family to visit Europe. A business issue required he be delayed from his trip. Spafford sent his wife and four daughters ahead planning to follow a few days in arrears.

The ship his family was traveling on collided with an English vessel and disappeared below the surface of the water within minutes. Spafford’s wife was the only family survivor. After being taken to safety, she cabled her husband with only two words. The words he read were, “Saved alone.”

I can’t imagine the dreadful voyage navigating the Atlantic on his way to recapture his only remaining family member.

The amazing part of that journey is when close to where he lost his remaining children, Spafford penned the song that multiple millions of people would hear and sing over the next almost 140 years and certainly beyond.

Here is the first verse:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

I was reminded of the history behind this song at my wife’s friend Candy’s funeral. Candy was an amazing person, blessed by God with the gift of teaching, compassion and mercy, just to name a few.

I’m not sure who chose this song to be sung at her funeral, but I know her husband Steve, like Horatio Spafford echos the words given by God to soothe his soul.

To know with confidence the ones taken by God are in a better place, is the reason we can be well in spirit even as we suffer in this flesh.

I thought of difficult times in my life. My soul squirms, dodges, and weaves, trying to bear up under the flesh. Occasionally God will use events in my life like the example of Steve and Candy to remind me, “Whatever my lot, He has taught me to say, it is well with my soul.”

During those most difficult times, I feel the hand of God lift me up with one hand and cover me like a small bird with His other.

“It is well with my soul,” those words have been with me my whole life. As God guides me through this life, may He give me the strength to honor Him under all circumstances.

May God give me the will to say every day, including the one He chooses to take me home,

“It is well, it is well, with my soul”…

“TRICK-OR-TREAT”!

trick or treat

image courtesy of Photobucket.com

I know a lot of Christians who refuse to celebrate Halloween. I understand and respect their opinion.

Me? Other than some of the ignorance shown on this day of the year, I love it!

This is a night that even some of the grouchiest people act nice. Cute kids knocking on doors, knowing if the door opens someone is going to be charitable, even hospitable.

Halloween feels to me like a warm up for Thanksgiving and Christmas. People practicing being cheerful getting ready for the championship of holidays.

I have some pretty fond memories of Halloween. I don’t remember being much more excited about anything as much as Halloween and Christmas. I even remember what I was dressed up as. I got the most compliments as I recall dressed up as a Cowboy. The home-made-by-my-mom mustache was the coolest part of my costume.

We have a ritual for Halloween in our house. My wife stays home and passes out candy and I take the kids Trick Or Treating. Now I just take the youngest.

At 12 years old my ritual and streak is at stake. My wife asked our youngest how long she was going to Trick Or Treat with her dad. “Until I’m outta high school”! she declared… That’s my girl. I hope that’s true, although I suspect her heart while in the right place may change before then.

I’m a little more sentimental than my wife when it comes to these matters. I remember when my wife announced it was time for the youngest to be weaned from her baby bottle. I was devastated. I knew that season or chapter of our lives were over forever.

As the Sun is starting to make its somber descent this afternoon, I’m faced with that similar awareness. Today is Halloween and it might be my last one spent with my youngest in costume.

I think back on all of them when all three girls went with me. Kenz dropped out, Ali lasted another two or three years, and now Gurm’s in the twilight of her Trick-Or-Treat career.

I remember the costumes. I recall reminding them to say please and thank you, even in their frenzied scurrying. We discussed tactics, which streets to take. Sometimes up one side and down the other, sometimes zig-zagging across the street to cover more houses.

I carried bags, coats, shoes, and my daughters. I walked a lot of miles Trick-Or-Treating. I loved every one of them.

God’s word says life is like a breath. An inhale, an exhale, and it’s over. I’m reminded again of that tonight. Understanding how short life is gives me strength and desire to bring God and my family honor.

This is one of those nights that will accumulate with the Halloweens past to create a vivid memory for my daughter. She’ll always remember our ritual. She’ll share stories with my future grandkids of all the fun her and their grandpa had.

I’ll bet she even remembers and shares with her children how her Dad’s favorite candy was Snickers Bars. She’ll hopefully tell them the truth, how she always let me have as many as I wanted.

She’s a good girl. I wish we could Trick-Or-Treat forever, but that’s not the way life works.

We all need to cherish every day as the gift each one is, whether you celebrate Halloween or not, I’ll cherish this day as a gift from God.

If you see a cute 12-year-old dressed up as a Narnian Princess and her dad in a sweatshirt with a ponytail watching proudly from the sidewalk, wave…

It might be the last time you see me there.

A VETTE’ OR A HUMMINGBIRD?

image courtesy of photobucket.com

It seems appropriate that a person’s priorities change with time. The things that are critical to a person of high school age are dramatically different to a person who’s been there and done that.

It seems even more appropriate to the parents who have children that have gone through that process either currently or in the past.

The maturation process is different for everyone. In a few rare cases, we’ve all witnessed the person who refuses to mature.

If someone would have asked me up until my late thirties, “Which brings you more joy, a Corvette or a hummingbird”? I wouldn’t have hesitated. My answer to this hypothetical question would have probably been something like, “Are you serious”?

When a person answers a question with a question you know there is a sarcastic explanation forthcoming.

I might have rambled on about strength and probably horsepower. You know the words when used a blind person could guess accurately the age of the speaker, by the lack of wisdom in the statement.

The more seasons of this life we are gifted to participate in, the more appreciation for the wonder of each one of them we gain.

If you hang around long enough you’re going to see that Vette wear out and become obsolete. Pretty soon, the thing of prestige and pride ends up on blocks in a driveway or in a junkyard.

In that tree above the worn out muscle car, you might find a hummingbird.

The car might still be of some use even in this condition. It might remind us of how fleeting our life has been. The hummingbird, however, will remind us of how precious life is.

It is my opinion that when we get so focused on a specific goal or task, we miss everything of value that surrounds us.

It’s almost like our enemy has the watch swinging back and forth, from side to side, in front of our face. Subconsciously he’s saying to us, “Your getting sleepy, sleepy, sleepy.”

Soon we’re in the hypnotic trance and he controls us in every aspect of our life. Allowing us to see what he wants our priorities to be, not God’s.

How silly must we look being controlled by something or someone who has different values than we espouse?

The good news for me has been, as I get older I’m a little more difficult to hypnotize. While I love the enchanting aroma of a new car’s interior, (this might be a guy thing) I know by experience it’s short lived.

In contrast, the smell of orange blossoms happen bi-yearly where I live. The color of my red Hibiscus blooms on the bushes in my yard, renew themselves daily during season. The red paint on a new car is beginning to fade the day it’s shot.

The things done by our hands, while sometimes grand, pale in comparison to the creation of life.

I think one of the indicators in our lives that we’re maturing and our priorities are changing is when we aren’t the priority anymore.

I find people in life who are still the center of their universe, are the least mature and happy.

In the journey across our lives in search of maturity or wisdom the adage, “Less is More” takes on a more complete meaning. The less we see in ourselves the more value we really have. This can only be measured in the heart of each of us and only by God and ourselves.

Jesus Christ summed it up like this, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

It is acceptable for very young children to act without the wisdom of this verse in their lives. The rest of us? Not so much…

Which brings more joy, a strong mature tree, or owning the dirt it grows in?

MICKEY

image-4.rtfd

mickey

Mickey

As we were leaving my brother and sister-in-law’s house, on our way to the airport, their dog Mickey was looking at us with a longing look on his face. He wanted to be outside too.

It’s peculiar how the animals in our lives have such an impact on our lives. I felt bad for the little guy as we were preparing to leave St. Louis.

Even though we live across the country from my wife’s family we keep tabs on all of them, not just the siblings, cousins, nieces, and nephews, but also all the animals in they’re lives.

My wife’s sister’s family had a dog named Gordy. He’s been gone for close to ten years and we still enjoy reminiscing about him and his impact on their family, me especially about his soccer techniques.

Mickey’s been around for 15 years. That’s a long time. Our niece and nephews don’t have a lot of memory before Mickey. He’s been a constant companion to them in their lives.

Mickey has seizures now. When he gets scared, excited or runs a little too much he seizures and faints. He’s still conscious and cries a little because it looks like he’s scared.

Saturday morning we were outside drinking coffee, enjoying a perfect Autumn morning. I say we because it included most of the family and Mickey, of course. While we were outside one of Mickey’s old arch enemies decided to drop in for a visit.

Things that fly, including airplanes have kept Mickey busy all of his life. This time it was a butterfly. The little flying creature bounced through the air unknowing the disturbance he would cause below.

Mickey somehow caught a glimpse of the flying enemy through his worn-out eyes. Running and jumping after the butterfly caused a couple of things, the butterfly to change directions and altitude for one. The other was the far away look in Mickey’s eyes from the chase. Then the inevitable fall to his side and seizure.

As soon as my niece saw Mickey start to run, she yelled for him to stop, when that was having no affect she tried to bribe him with a “treat.” Still no go. Mickey while old, was still doing the things that he enjoyed his whole life. Probably the only thing he enjoys more than “treats” is chasing things that fly.

From my view, it looks like Mickey doesn’t have too many days left. His time spent doing what he loves should be encouraged. I understand our family doesn’t want that day to come. So they go out of their way to care for him and prolong his life as long as possible.

That’s exactly what we as humans do with our loved ones. We don’t want to face the inevitable, we want to prolong time with loved ones as long as we can. I’m no different…

Unlike Mickey, we don’t usually want to risk our lives to do the things that bring us pleasure due to our fear of death. Fear of the unknown is natural.

For those who know God and understand the sacrifice of Jesus Christ should be different.

We should be a little more like Mickey. Mickey plays like his soul will live forever. I don’t have any idea how the afterlife works for animals. I can make some assumptions from a Biblical point of view.

However, us two legger’s with opposable thumbs have written instructions from eye witness authors of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those instructions include us living life in abundance doing the things that bring God and us joy.

When we live without fear of death and chase butterflies like we did when we were young, that is the life we were designed to live.

As we pulled away from my in-laws house we were all looking at Mickey, who was looking back from the window. My wife said out loud exactly what I was thinking. “This is the last time we’ll ever see Mickey again.”

I think maybe Mickey will be waiting for his family on the other side. If it’s not butterfly season.

SOMETHING IN COMMON

something in common

image courtesy of Photobucket.com

I was approached by a man as I was walking to my truck a couple of weeks ago. He was a man of small stature and a quick glance had me guessing he was a shell of a once proud man.

He was hunched over with worn, dirty clothes. His hair was unkept and his smile revealed what looked like a battered and worn picket fence. He was friendly enough as he explained to me that he was in need of a ride.

I have to confess I didn’t want to give him a ride. He cleverly asked me which way I was headed and his 25% gamble paid off. Looks like we were both headed east. Rats… I wasn’t going to lie and I figured God had a lesson for me. If not I sensed God wanted to use what really isn’t mine to help the old guy out.

This short journey was the kind that was filled with conversation. The bum’s conversation I should say. As he gave me his detailed life story, I muttered a few “Yeah’s and Naw’s.”

He was a veteran, served in Vietnam, worked construction until his health wouldn’t allow it any longer. He said he was a “God Fearing Man.” I guess we had something in common. He shared with me how his Daddy raised him right, I learned we had even more in common.

My new pal just kept on talking, he got more animated when he shared with me how they, whoever they were, cut down his meds. He explained the necessity for his meds because he was depressed and kinda crazy. At this point, I was with him on the depressed side. The other crazy side? I was a relieved to learn something we didn’t have in common. At least not in my opinion anyway.

My new buddy was headed to the Dept. of Motor Vehicles to acquire a new I.D. he’d lost. I was trapped in one of those 15-minute drives that seem to last an hour and a half.

As he was rambling I thought about some of my cousins who were Vietnam veterans. I pondered my cousin Larry who’s knees are shot and the only health care he has is the Veterans Hospital. The VA’s answer to Larry’s knees? Drugs. They want to give him pain pills and prolong the inevitable, either a surgery or death from Agent Orange complications.

I also envisioned my other cousin Mike, who is a retired California Highway Patrolman. His foot has got to the point where the pain, due to left over shrapnel from a land mine has him struggling to walk. He’s been carrying that souvenir for over 40 years. He was awarded a Purple Heart, I guess that makes him a bonafide hero. He is in my book anyway.

I considered the differences between this man and my cousins as I drove glancing between the road and him, nodding agreeably. The thing that struck me first, was that this was a pretty organized person who knew where to go to get what he wanted, or what he considered a necessity, namely drugs.

The next thing that struck me was his self-appointed title of “crazy.” I have another four cousins who served in the military during that era, one of which was in Special Forces. There are more than one of these cousins who any average person I know would consider “crazy.”

The difference between the people I know who are crazy and the people who claim to be crazy is this; The people who are truly nutso, don’t know it! The truly “crazy” people think they’re normal and the rest of the world is “crazy”!

I’m not saying my passenger didn’t have a tough life. Maybe he had it worse than some of the others, I don’t know. It’s just my observation.

As I pulled into the DMV my new friend panicked, “OH NO”! “I have a brand new 5th in my pack”! ” I can’t take that in there”! My opportunity to speak had finally arrived. I quickly offered, “There’s a trash can right there in front.” He looked at me like I was crazy.

He rapidly studied the situation and declared, “I can find a place to stash it.” I was seeing more clearly than ever at this point.

After he got out and we exchanged pleasantries, I watched him for a few seconds. Before I drove away the realization crept over me that we had more things in common than I was comfortable with.

I was slowly yet overwhelmingly overcome with wisdom speaking to my soul,

It spoke to me from inside my heart softly whispering,

“But by the grace of God…There Go i…”