Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Faced With Adversity

What would Jesus do – a.k.a. WWJD? This question is important when it comes to deciding what to do in a difficult situation. Distinguishing the imperativeness of understanding a circumstance takes a lot of effort. When you are tempted to do something, which you know in your heart that it is not appropriate, ask yourself “What would Jesus do in this situation?” Bearing in mind this state you are in, you should look at it through Jesus eyes. This can help you determine whether your enticement is proper or erroneous. For example, for someone who is a new Christian and they are trying to live their best for God and the persuasion arises to watch a movie that is wrong, smoke, or drink, and they are torn between doing it or not doing it, they should ask “WWJD?” Ponder this question. If Jesus were sitting right next to you would he watch the movie, would he smoke, or would he drink – the list can extend to whatever the temptation may be? The sad thing is, is when one first becomes a Christian, the devil will do anything he can to get you back in his power. The devil tempts us in many different ways. Who is the devil?
The Bible says, “The devil is like a lion roaming to and fro seeking whom he may devour.” One example would be, when a lion gets a taste for blood he will hunt you down until he gets you. The devil is like that. When you become a Christian he gets a taste of your blood and he will hunt you down with whatever temptation he can come up with until he gets you back into his power. When he enthusiastically tries to make the “trash can look good on the outside, think about what could be on the inside. What will the consequences be if we decide to take the trash that we think looks good?” Every decision has some kind of consequence. The right things we choose to do will have a positive outcome while on the other hand, the erroneous things we choose to do will have a negative outcome. We may be happy on the inside or we may deeply regret what we have just done.

One thing that we could be happy with is when we notice someone is distressed, we can talk with that person we can encourage them. That is something Jesus would do. On the other hand, when we notice someone who is heartbroken and in need of some encouragement and we walk on by, we may feel horrible after we ignore him or her. The Bible gives an example of someone who felt completely satisfied with what he did.

There was a man on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho when a group of thieves stripped him of his clothes, took his money, beat him and left him for dead. A while later a priest came and saw the man left for dead. Seeing the hopeless man, he passed by him on the other side of the road. A while after the priest passed by, a Levite came and saw the poor man beaten and left for dead, but, after seeing the beaten and bloody man, he also passed by on the other side of the road. Now there was a man called a Samaritan and he was known as an outcast. After seeing the man, he decided to help him. The Samaritan put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn. He paid for the half-dead man’s room and board and told the innkeeper “I have to leave. Please take care of this man and when I return I will pay for whatever debt he owes.”

The man did what Jesus would do. The man, who helped the sadly half-dead man, was known as the Good Samaritan because he took great care of the man that no one else would acknowledge. When faced with adversity, do what Jesus would do.

Willpower to Trust (part 3)

          Passing Over

How did Spafford come to write the beloved hymn? Traveling to Europe, the Spafford girls and their mother were involved in a shipwreck that implicated a British vessel. Will Horatio Spafford lose his children or will they be saved from this tragic disaster? Why did he write the hymn? Who put the song to music?

The Spafford girls and their mother were on the liner when it rammed into a British vessel on November 21, 1873. Sadly, the ship sank in twelve minutes. The crew of the Lochearn­ frantically looked for and found Anna, Horatio’s wife, floating unconsciously of a plank. Although the Lochearn was in danger as well, they rescued her. A Trimountain cargo sailing vessel arrived on scene to save the survivors. Nine days after the ship sailed Spafford obtained a telegram. The liner the Spafford was on collided into a British vessel on November 21, 1873.

Spafford and Anna lost their very-loved children. Tragically, 226 people along with their four girls perished in the aftermath of the wreck. Complete despair was Anna’s first reaction. As she was coming to consciousness, she heard a voice articulate, “You were spared for a purpose.” Spafford traveled to be with his wife. Years after the shipwreck, the couple’s life started becoming happy again. Or was it? Anna happily delivered a son and name him Horatio and also had a daughter whose name was Bertha. Sadly, their son died at three years of age from scarlet fever. Spafford and Anna sorrowfully had their children ripped away in a shipwreck.

When did Spafford write the hymn? Upon sorrowfully receiving a telegram, which stated, “saved alone” went to his wife. Sailing over the location, the captain stated, “A careful reckoning has been made and we believe we are now passing over the area the ship went down. The water is 3 miles deep.” Although Spafford was grieving over the loss of his children, after he heard they were passing over the area, he went back to his cabin and began writing the hymn. The first verse states:

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.
While passing over the shipwreck Spafford wrote the beloved hymn.

Phillip Bliss was deeply impacted by Horatio’s story. Bliss was a composer for many songs. Impressed with Spafford’s life and words to the hymn, he composed a piece of music. The song was published by Bliss and Sankey in 1876. The reason Bliss was impressed by Horatio was that through it all Spafford held to Romans 8:28. Phillip Bliss was impacted greatly by Horatio’s story.

The S.S. Ville De Havre wreck while sailing to Europe. After the loss of their girls, the couple had two more children but tragically lost their little boy at three years old from scarlet fever. Spafford’s life was changed forever after the tragedies. Passing over the place his daughters died he wrote “It Is Well With  My Soul.”

When Spafford became a man, he received a job as a lawyer. Being successful in his practice, he invested heavily in real estate, however, everything changed after the Great Chicago Fire destroyed almost everything including Spafford’s investment. While traveling over to Europe to be with his wife, he wrote the well-loved hymn, because of the loss of his children. As long as they were in Europe things were going well. They were helping Moody successfully and they had three children - one son and two daughters – however, their son died at age three. In 1881 they moved to Jerusalem to help serve the poor. Happily, they took their two daughters, who were born after the shipwreck, with them.

Unfortunately, Spafford died while he was in Jerusalem on October 16, 1888 - four days before his 60th birthday. Horatio Gates Spafford is buried in Jerusalem, Israel. Spafford’s life impressed and inspired many people especially Phillip Bliss. Phillip Bliss’s impression and inspiration was because even though Spafford lost nearly everything, he still had the willpower to trust in God and articulate “It is well with my soul.”

Monday, January 21, 2013

Willpower to Trust (Part 2)

Lose All

The Great Chicago Fire affected many people. Did the Great Chicago Fire affect the Spafford family? The fire greatly impacted the whole city because it destroyed many homes, jobs, and property. Deciding to take a much-deserved vacation, the Spafford family experienced some technical difficulties before leaving. Did Horatio travel with them? If not, why?

One day would change every hope and dream of Spafford. Unfortunately, the summer of 1871 was extremely hot and dry. Being successful with his job, Spafford heavily invested in real estate. Shortly before the Chicago Fire, they suffered the tragic loss of their young son, only four, of scarlet fever. Because of a fire, the property was brutally destroyed. The fire left the sadly and brutally town in ashes. Spafford’s hopes and dreams were changed forever. The fire affected the family greatly. The family needed a vacation.

Following the fire the family decided to take a much-needed vacation. Receiving a letter from a man whose name was Dwight Moody, the family made the decision to join him in Europe and help Moody with his mission. Family decided it was time for a needed and deserved rest. Happily, the family began packing and getting prepared to leave. While packing, something would come up and change their plans. The family was preparing to take a very deserved vacation. Before leaving something would happen.

 Following the fire, just before leaving, Horatio Spafford was informed of a meeting about result of the Great Chicago Fire. Regrettably, Spafford was required to stay and attend the meeting or he would lose everything he invested in so heavily. Wanting his family to take the much-needed vacation, Spafford. sent them on ahead. He stated, “I will join you as soon as I can.” Little did he and the family realize they would experience an eternal change for the worse. Spafford was informed of a meeting about the Fire of 1871 before leaving for vacation.

The Great Chicago Fire affected the Spafford family greatly. Upon receiving a letter from Moody, the family decided to take a well-deserved rest. Sadly Spafford could not travel with them because a meeting came up and Horatio was informed that if he did not attend the meeting he would lose all of his property.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Willpower to Trust (part 1)

Job was a man who trusted God in everything he did. One day, Satan

went to Jesus and told him that if he were allowed to take everything from Job he would curse God.

Jesus told him to do with him what he wills but he could not take his life. Satan took everything

from Job. He took his children, made him sick and did everything he could without taking Job’s life.

Did Job curse God?
Something similar happened to a man who lived in the 1800s – his name was Horatio Gates

Spafford. Who is Spafford? Did the Chicago Fire have an impact on him and his family? Why did he

write, “It is Well with My Soul?” Spafford lived in trialing times. Would he curse God or praise


Who was Spafford?

Born on October 20, 1828 in North Troy, New York, was a handsome little boy, whose name was Horatio Gates Spafford. Once he became a man, he received a wonderful and successful job. Also, he married an exceptionally attractive woman. In addition to marrying a gorgeous woman, he also had a wonderful family. Eventually, his job lead him to Chicago where he and his family lived for a while. Horatio Spafford practiced his successful job for many years.

Becoming a man, Spafford received a job as a lawyer in Chicago where he practiced successfully for many years. In fact, he was so successful that he eventually invested in downtown Chicago real estate, along the shores of Lake Michigan. He married the love of his life at age thirty-three. His bride’s name was Anna. Although they were newlywed, they had four beautiful daughters one year after their wedding. They named their girls Annie, Maggie, Bessie, and Tanetta. In Chicago, Horatio became a well-known lawyer.

Horatio married the love of his life and she was very beautiful. Unfortunately, before Horatio and Anna were wed, Anna dealt with many tragedies. As a child, she lost her mother and her brother in a cholera epidemic. She nursed her tubercular father until his tragic death and working and lived on a farm in Minnesota where many Indian raids threatened their safety. Anna questioned, “Where was God when my family and I were suffering?” (pg. 16 well with my soul) In following weeks, Spafford diligently explained her position, challenged her reasoning and guided her to a lasting faith in God. After they married in 1861, they had four gorgeous daughters whom they loved very much. In 1861, Horatio married the love of his life, Anna.

When were their four daughters born? Anna, who was the first child, was born in 1862. In 1864, their second child, Maggie was born. Their third child Bessie can in 1866. Happily their youngest child Tanetta, as beautiful as a princess, was born in 1871. They loved and adored their girls with all their hearts.

Horatio Gates Spafford was born in 1828. Happily, he became a great and honorable Christian lawyer. In addition to becoming a lawyer, he married the love of his life in 1861. A year after their marriage, his wife, Anna, delivered four beautiful and wonderful daughters. Their lives were to change too soon. What event affected their family?

Trying Situations

Friends are important. Sometimes it brings joys and other times friendships bring difficult decisions. One of my friends, who was not a Christian, sent me through a hard time. At the beginning of the friendship, everything was fine. She and her grandma understood where I stood in my beliefs. Later on in our friendship things started getting worse. In a matter of speaking, the truth about her was coming out from behind the disguise. One night we had a sleepover at her house and we stayed up very late. That night I would have to say something I wish I did not have to make. Being downstairs, we were trying to discuss what we should do. "I know! Let's do witchcraft." Words I did not want to hear. "This was discused at the beginning of our friendship. I said it was wrong, I didn't believe in it, I wasn't going to do it and I won't start now." I reminded her. She told me it would not hurt this one time I told her that I could not, that I believe it is wrong, God does not like it and because of that, I will not do it. She was very persistent in her temptation. Finally, I had to voice, "I have told you my stands on it and I am not going to sin when I know I am not supposed to. If you keep doing this I will have to stop coming over her. I think it best if I don't stay the rest of the night." I called my mom and she came and picked me up. I prayed about what had just taken place.
The next day I went back to her house to give it another chance and things seemed fine until the afternoon came. We got into a fight because i was holding her hamster, who she said does not bite, when he bit me and I tossed him back into his cage gently and she said I threw him. I defended myself and then things were fine again until later. Witchcraft was the subject again. Sadly, i had to tell her, "I am sorry but because of you trying to get me to do something I have told you countless times that I WILL NOT do it; I have to break our friendship. God has told me in the Bible that sinning is wrong and 'the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.' I do not want to spend eternity in a place that is dark and that burns eternally. I want to be in a place where I can always be with God, and not in a place I will burn. I don't want to see you there either," (I had tried to witness to her many times) "but you won't give your life to Christ and I have. I don't want to do this, but, I can't be your friend anymore." Then I left her house. I sadly only saw and talked to her one more time and tried to witness to her again but she would not listen. Sadly, I never saw her again.
Friends can be inspiring but the can also have bad influences on you to where you have to stop it before it gets too far. Sometimes when you witness to them, they will give their life to Christ and other times they will not listen but just because they do not listen, does not mean you give up or are still not kind to them. Be kind and keep praying for them and who knows, maybe God will do great things. Stand for what you believe in even when a different and broader path seems easier. The difference is the straight and narrow path will have a better ending result than the broad path heading for a place that burns with fire. Trust in God and He will take care of you in trying situations.