Soul Music

GodReflection:Is It Well with My Soul?

My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul (Psalms 108:1).

gary-portraitKing David, was the man God found who reflected His own heart. He more than anyone else in God’s story was God’s instrument to give us soul music. Just after our introduction to the shepherd boy we see God place him in the palace to calm Saul’s soul with music.

sic1To read about David’s life is to see he fed his soul with music. With harp and pen he composed a hymnal that has nurtured countless souls of God’s people for the past three thousand years.

In contrast to King David I’ve never written a song nor can I play even a note on a harp or any other instrument. To feed from music I have to depend upon David and other musicians and poets who have followed through the centuries.

In spite of this deficit in talent and training I was born into a musical church. Like David, music15music for the soul was God’s assignment for Theron Jay a gifted tenor who drew the rest of us into his passion. Anytime there might be a three-minute void in a worship service Theron stood ready to fill it with a song. Through music he brought celebration to the soul at weddings and comfort to the soul at funerals.

In the tradition of King David, he taught us music to praise the Father and to feed the soul. Through words of rhyme and rhythm came profound instruction and expression of God implanted inner thoughts and feelings that served as formative food for my soul. I doubt it crossed my mind that I was being given a tool for soul nutrition. I’m sure I failed to realize the formative nature of the various hymnals used by our church over my eighteen years of youth.

music13Yet, I stand amazed at how often one of the old songs drops into my mind for a visit. It is as if they come by to feed my soul.

This year I’ve begun a strange project (get ready to roll your eyes). I pulled from my bookshelf the hymnal Songs of Faith and Praise. The book contains one thousand twenty-nine songs. The idea is to read each of them this calendar year.

Already I find myself humming as I read. Some are old friends while others are new acquaintances. I suspect I will ingest a healthy number of veggies along the way.

Among the instructions from Paul the apostle to the churches are the following two verses on the benefit of music to soul health.

music7Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord . . . (Ephesians 5:19) and Let the word of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit with gratitude in your hearts to God (Colossians 3:16).

To read slowly these two verses is to hear the power of soul music. It is a gift we can give each other and a resource we can possess to breathe life into our own soul. It lets God know our hearts beat with His.

Is it well with my soul? A portion of the answer just might be found in soul music.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Soul Music

Soul Talk

GodReflection:Is It Well with My Soul?

“I heard Your voice from on high. “I am the food of the fully grown. Grow and you will feed on me. And you will not change Me into you, like the food of flesh eats. But you will be changed into Me.” – Augustine of Hippo, Confessions
gary-portraitGrandpa seem to enjoy the company of his own self. It was in a good way. He made art from what is a rarity of our current century. He was a classic piddlier. Grandpa was never bored—he piddled. To piddle was to be busy regardless of the lack of importance attached to the task at hand. As he piddled he mumbled to himself.

On the back of his lot and adjacent to the alley he had a little wood framed shop/storage room—think really little.  It wasn’t uncommon to come upon him with his back bent over his junk bench as he talked himself through his current project. Perhaps soultalk2he was oiling his fishing reel or looking for a lid to fit a jar.

Now in my reflective years I find that I’m often astonished to the degree that I mimic Grandpa. When I am alone my own spoken words come forth to reprimand, praise and accompany myself through my daily duties.

In my last post I identified four tags I use to find food for my soul. I mentioned Soul Showers and Soul Walk. The third tag I’ve found for soul food is Soul Talk.

Grandpa may have been onto something. Perhaps I too should talk out loud and direct one-sided conversation to my soul. Maybe Soul Talk can be vital to a healthy soul.

soultalk14With each new day I want to use increased care with the words that speak to my soul. I want to be careful to not speak negativity into my soul. I want to remind my soul to seek what is good and right.

I asked in a former post for input on how others go about the task to feed their soul. One lifelong friend wrote: one of the things I have done intentionally is to control what I allow into my mind—what I watch, what I listen to, what I read, what I hear around me. And that has helped me to focus on my spiritual walk with Jesus.

Quickly I identified. By control of what I watch, read and hear I monitor what speaks into my soul. My mind regulates Soul Talk. As I bend over my life’s work bench I talk myself through cluttered junk. “Ok Gary what are you going to do with that piece of information? . . . Boy, I blew it that time, Lord help me to depend upon you more fully the next time a similar situation comes up.”

soultalk4When I declare to myself, “I need to read that book or this is the best use of my time,” it is an act of talk that feeds my soul.

With each sunrise I see with greater clarity the finish line of my earth walk. As a new day dawns may I remember to find times to utter to myself (with full awareness the Holy overhears) something akin to the words of the old church father, “I heard Your voice from on high. “I am the food of the fully grown. Grow and you will feed on me. And you will not change Me into you, like the food of flesh eats. But you will be changed into Me.” I think God might just like to see that kind of Soul Talk. What do you think?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Soul Talk

Quantum healing through Reconciliation

20161004_150844 (2)

The LORD is compassionate and merciful,

slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.

He will not constantly accuse us,

nor remain angry forever.

He does not punish us for all our sins;

he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.

For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is

as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.

He has removed our sins

as far from us as the east is from the west

– Psalm 103:8-12

Jesus is our bond, the glue, the comforter and peace. His aim is to tighten our souls more to our Creator that we might do His bidding. And His bidding is that every human become more like their Spiritual Big Brother, Jesus, loving and forgiving. Patient as we live and tell our stories as well as hearing the stories of others.

This is the day for forgiveness and reconciliation that Christ may reign more in this world. Who do I need to reach out to more to tell them I love them or get right with? I may be the offender, or the hurt one, but in either case, Christ calls me to reconcile and let the Holy Spirit be the third party closer. When this happens, oh happy day! Two can worship more unhindered, live and sleep better and love more freely.

Jesus is the reconciler of all things past, present and things to come, bringing quantum healing through reconciliation. May we, His people be known for swift forgiveness, forget-ness, good humor and wisdom that all may want to spend eternity with Christ.


For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more. – Hebrews 8:12


Abba Father’s Love

20161004_150844 (2)Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” – Galatians 4:6

I met a six-year-old recently who let me play doubles on his ping pong team. He was a confident young lad.

At one point, I asked someone who knew him who his parents were. She let me know his parent’s names. They little boy came up about that time and protested!

“My Mom and Dad’s name is Mom & Dad!” He said with confidence.

The Holy Spirit within us cries out Abba Father; Dad! That’s my Father’s name!

There’s a lot I don’t understand about the evolution of languages, yet it is fascinating how language holds in its DNA the history of nations.

After a head-spinning yet exciting reading into where the word “Abba” comes from, it boils down to this. It is used three times in the New Testament as a Greek word (Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6), followed by the term “Father,” a term of endearment for God Himself.

The first use of the word is Jesus only use of “Abba” in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The next time it is used is in the book of Galatians, dated sometime around A.D 40 – A.D. 55. I imagine the Holy Spirit conversing with my spirit, which is Christ my lawyer at work on my behalf speaking to God Himself not only reverently, but as a child reaching out for Father God’s affections and absolution when needed.

Father is protection, love, direction, wisdom, comfort, provision and so much more.

The final use of the word is in Romans, dated later than Galatians, yet trekking along the same path. As Christians, we are under God’s parenthood by adoption (interpretation mine) where we can call him Abba Father anytime.

I don’t know of another god that claims the same. The gods of this world all have one goal; to grab and proselytize their next convert through fear.

But the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 1:7), and when I need wisdom, I call out to my Heavenly Father anytime, and He gives more wisdom (James 1:5). In fact, James say that God gives wisdom to “all liberally and without reproach,” and that excludes no one, believer and non-believer alike.

What joy to know that the brotherhood of man is a real deal. That all humanity can consider themselves God’s.

I personally believe I should not draw lines where God has not. He rewards His own with His name, so that more may want to come into the Family of Light, afterall, He is the Father of Lights, who never changes and desires all humanity to come to Him.

I love being in His Family, am grateful for His acceptance and love, and stand with Him as Father as He enlarges the circle of spiritual family, teaching me to love all without partiality.


Soul Food

GodReflection:Is It Well with My Soul?

“I heard Your voice from on high. “I am the food of the fully grown. Grow and you will feed on me. And you will not change Me into you, like the food of flesh eats. But you will be changed into Me.”  – Augustine of Hippo, Confessions

gary-portraitOld Augustine caught my attention on this one. Is it possible a time will come when I am fully grown to the stature of God’s complete expectation for me? Is it possible to feed so thoroughly on the Holy that all my inner most being—my soul—becomes totally saturated and transformed into holy? This early disciple of Father, Son and Spirit had a great insight.

What sort of soul food would it require for such transformation to happen? Here is my best shot at what I think I’ve found thus far during my walk through the second half of the twentieth century and on into the first two decades of the twenty-first.  In an attempt to identify food for my soul I’ve found four tags to be helpful.

food2The first is Soul Showers. As a resident of the state of Texas it is not difficult to conjure up an image of a hot day with sun so intense that I swelter under unbearable heat. Outside is not a desired destination.

There are all too rare days when atmospheric conditions are just right for showers that result in a refreshing twenty-degree drop in the temperature.

I see rain showers as an analogy for God’s Holy Scripture. For it is in a consistent walk with God’s story that I find showers to refresh my soul. Unlike Texas rain Soul Showers are available from God’s book. I only have to open its pages as I open my heart.

food4Among the gems of King Solomon’s proverbs is this one: Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones (Proverbs 16:24). Within my Bible are countless precious stones inscribed with gracious words direct from the heart of Holy God. Those inscriptions leap from God’s jewelry box as primary nourishment for my soul. They come as refreshing Soul Showers.

In addition to Soul Showers I must feed my soul through efforts to Soul Walk. To learn to Soul Walk is a process. Jesus calls us like he did Simon Peter to step out of the boat onto the rough water. To keep our eyes on him is to keep our soul from the plunge into the dark deep that snuffs out God’s light.

food6It is in this act when I step into the heart and trust of Jesus that he can minister through me to others. In ways I fail to understand—as my soul walks into the waves of others to reflect a bit of Jesus’ peace something happens to me. My soul is nourished because I attempted to nourish.

To submit my heart to Jesus and let him minister to others through my daily walk feeds my soul. To Soul Walk the Jesus path is to find food for my soul.

I still have two major soul food sources to share and I see that I’ve let my word count get out of control. So it looks as if Soul Food just morphed into two posts.

See you next time. By the way, I’ve received great input from readers as to where others have discovered soul food. Some of which will be reflected in the next post. I would love to hear from you. It will enrich this series.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Soul Food

Soul Care Assures Soul Health

GodReflection:Is It Well with My Soul?

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come (1 Timothy 4:8).

gary-portraitThe exercise market is booming without my participation. I haven’t read any statistics yet I notice gym parking lots overflow on Sunday mornings. Big box gymnasiums with lap pools and all types of exercise machine known to mankind leave only room enough for trainers and the committed to fill each square foot of floor space with their worshipful presence.

Faithfully, Sunday congregants fellowship at these mega sites and throughout the week health8in their neighborhood strip mall locations. For daily devotion time homes provide space for treadmills and bounce balls. Likewise, marathons, sports fields and courts vie for calendar space.

Should the old apostle who wrote to Timothy pop into our twenty first century I suspect even he would step back in amazement at my culture’s emphasis on physical training.

Physical training is not the only industry that competes for our attention. Trillions of monetary, physical and intellectual resources pour into efforts to feed, heal, shelter, health16transport and cloth our bodies. Market specialist invade every conscious moment to increase our relentless appetites.

In stark contrast my mailbox, television and news feeds aren’t saturated with the Creator’s tips on how to nurture my soul. The old adage “out of sight out of mind” describes the challenge to maintain soul health.

I have come to recognize two insights important to my souls’ fitness. First, my soul seems to be hardwired by God to gravitate toward Him. I read in the Psalms:  As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God (Psalms 42:1-2), Truly my soul finds rest in God (Psalms 62:1) and My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God (Psalms 84:2).

However, even with a ‘God-draw’ implanted within I find it far too easy to experience soul malnutrition. That brings me to my second AHA: soul care requires intentionality.

health15Here is my concern: resources for my physical body shout for my attention.  It is as if the care for my body is in default mode while soul care doesn’t receive the same billing. I have to be more purposeful in the search for soul nutrients.

Maybe I need to explore a variety of avenues to assure my soul is refreshed. I want to look at ways to feed my soul. In my next post I will look at soul food. Some of the ideas I propose to examine are how soul nutrition comes through Scripture, through submission of my heart to Jesus, through my daily walk and through soul music and soul talk.

At this point in my life I see no way around what seems to be the fact that soul care assures soul health.

Will you share with me ways you have discovered to nurture your ‘inner you’ and to keep your own soul healthy? What works for you to be more intentional with your soul care?

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Soul Care Assures Soul Health

Lovely words

20161004_150844 (2)The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts. –Proverbs 18:8

Why have I used a negative verse as my entry? Because I want to use the same principle to bless. What if instead of gossip, we glowed with lovely words? They too go down like choice morsels into our innermost parts, and will have the added benefits of blessing.

Our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, so I picture our mind as the outer courts, and our heart, the Holy of Holies where the Holy Spirit dwells. Our words emanate from our personal Holy of Holies.

These are the days to gather together and encourage each other with our hugs and lovely words.

May the words every day of my life be words of life and love.

I want to depart and talk about funny words that can bless and lift up always. My mother my aunt have been some of the funniest ladies I have known the last half century! From day one, they have laughed and enjoyed each other. We spent some time recently with my aunt and uncle and my cousins, and it was not only uplifting spiritually, but soothed the soul, and comforted the body and mind.

Lovely words do just that! They lift up all around them. A caveat: Even the lovely have tough times and need times of renewal and grieving. But when the grieving is over, the lovely have even lovelier words to share.

I am amazed at God’s economy, giving us a range of emotions and experiences to share with our lovely words. May my words go down like delicious bits to feed and sweeten the soul, like Jesus did. May I not worry about the adversary or adversarial situations, but learn to turn difficulties into blessings.

Thank you Jesus for showing us how to use our words, make corrections, give the grace we’ve been given, and receive the mercy we don’t deserve that we may show mercy to others. And in it all, may our hearts be filled with the Holy Spirit more deeply each day, the maker of Lovely Words!