Yes, It Is Well with My Soul

GodReflection:Is It Well with My Soul?

gary-2015Thank you for reading over my shoulder as I’ve attempted to reach a more comprehensive understanding of my soul. My trust-confidence level has increased through multiple circles around a complex subject.

Yes, my soul is me. It is designed by God for God. Powered by the Holy Spirit, my soul mates of body, mind and heart move through life’s dark valleys and celestial peaks toward perfect wholeness with Father, Son and Spirit.

As I bring this series of posts to a close I’m drawn to a rich hymn of soul affirmation given to the church in the late nineteenth century. The back story of both lyrics and music connect to deep soul pain. Horatio Spafford penned the lyrics after the death of his four daughters in a shipwreck.

well2Three years later in 1876, Philip Bliss wrote the music and gave it the name of the fatal ship, the Ville du Havre,  that took the lives of the four little girls. One month after the hymn was first sung in public worship, Bliss and his wife died in a tragic train accident after it plunged into an icy river in the state of Ohio.

Yet, in the face of death and destruction their hymn stands as a monument to the indestructibility of the soul that is placed in the care of the Holy.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,well4
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

well6But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

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

My prayer for all who read this blog is that we can join together and sing with complete confidence; It is well with my soul.

Will you join with me?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Yes, It Is Well with My Soul

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.


The Secret Deliverer

GodReflection: God Shares His Secret

He (Christ the Messiah) was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 1 Peter 1:20

garyguarujaWe humans want to think of deliverance in military and political terms. From the base of power the value of freedom is promised. At the end of the day deliverance and freedom are never fully supplied.

Our expectations come from our shallow experience and from the failure to understand the nature of misguided expectations. My wrong hopes come when I fail to see God’s bigger picture.

Both patriarchs and prophets spoke of promised land and freedom. The Prophets told of a future time when God would send Messiah to deliver and set right all wrongs.

God’s people interpreted those promises through the lens of their own experiences. messiah16Reasoning from the political  resulted in misguided expectation.

For them Messiah was to come in the linage of King David as the God sent conqueror and liberator of the people.

The Hebrew nation would know when the deliverer arrived. They would know him by the actions of his sword and shield. He would be their conquering and liberating king.

As history evolved and Rome came to power Messiah’s arrival could not come too soon. There was one problem. Their expectation was misdirected. Their version of Messiah was not God’s version.

messiah1Their Messiah was tied to palaces not pastures.  They did not see God’s big picture. It was still God’s secret knowledge within the Holy Trinity.

Thus, the true identity and methodology of Messiah was covered behind a secret cloud.

Only the Godhead knew.

We people types had to wait until a baby was born in a hillside cave where livestock was sheltered and fed.

The infant Jesus grew to manhood and took the veil from Messiah to revealed his identity. The secret was out.  Messiah in human flesh was Christ the deliverer. This Christ man personified sonship, grace, love, justice, life, light, body, unity. He was a walking portrait of humility and service. He reflected the way I am to live while on this globe.

Yet, the religious missed him. He did not align with their daily rituals of Temple church messiah13nor with their unshakable belief in the way they defined religion.

Here’s my danger.

I have lived my entire life within a highly structured religious system. With good hearts my church tribe has always desired to follow God.

Like all humans, we have a tendency to institutionalize into a religious form beliefs created by previous generations along with our own conclusions. Often, we see only our closely focused picture rather than the secret God’s unveiled on our behalf.

I must be careful not to miss the revealed Jesus because I am obsessed with right religion rather than Messiah recognition.

As the veil drops I learn:

messiah9He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.

This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,  but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Timothy 1:9-10).

The ultimate secret shared by God through the Christ child’s birth is I am the benefactor of a God’s secret Deliverer, Jesus the Messiah.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on The Secret Deliverer

Holy Formed

GodReflection: Power Word Wednesday

garyguarujaFormation should be among my life’s primary objectives.

Tied to God, I can make a case for formation as His primary objective.

God formed body and soul through the act of birth. My first breathe of inhaled air activated a living soul.

Without even a hint of doubt, I rest assured that God formed who I know as me. The prophet Isaiah provides an insight. God calls me by His name and created me for His glory, He formed and made me. (Isaiah 43:7)

formed1Scripture describes a second form. This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name. (Jeremiah 33:2)

I walk upon dirt formed by God, Son, and Spirit. I worship the Godhead who formed celestial bodies, sky, rivers, plants, and all life that walks, flies, and swims.

There is yet a third form described by the Holy.

Once I sign on with Jesus I discover my power to walk in his company comes from the Holy Spirit that lives within. He dwells in me. My primary task upon the face of the earth now becomes to allow Christ to form in me. (Galatians 4:19)

formed7That brings forth another exclamation of wow.

This is what I think that means for me.

Each day I increasingly notice my role is not to do but rather to submit. That means for this Baby Boomer—who is so adept at the creation of To Do Lists—submission is my only task so that Christ can form in me.

Think of the implications.

To the degree that I whittle away my control gene, I allow submission to escape into the heart of Jesus.

formed5Jesus takes my submission gift and forms himself to occupy a greater space within me.

From the Christ whose formation in me increases, there results an increased flow of the living Jesus flowing from within me onto the path of my walk.

I think of yet a fourth powerful formation. At the same time Jesus is forming an increased presence in me, he is also forming his body—those who follow the way. Over the centuries, the word church came to describe his body.

Paul seems to like the body analogy. He writes

So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others . . . Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ . . . For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

The Holy generates formation. It is Christ’s church.

Once again, I find my role in the process to be submission.

I function along with others as a body member. However, the body is the body of Jesus. He is the head.  My place isn’t to judge the claim of a fellow traveler who honors Jesus and claims membership in the body. I don’t form the body. That is Jesus’ role. It is his church.

formed8The power word for today is my realization that the Holy generates formation and my response is nothing more than contrite submission. 

If I would be consistent in this one concept then more room for the Holy would result in my own walk, don’t you think?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – A GodReflection on God’s Power of Formation.

Jesus and My Tribe

GodReflection: It’s Jesus Friday

A tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea. For millions of years, humans have joined tribes, be they religious, ethnic, political, or even musical . . . . It’s our nature. – Seth Godin

garyguarujaBefore looking at Jesus and my tribe I want to set the direction I hope to follow in 2015.

God Breaks In Mondays will reflect on times past, present, and future, when the Holy visits earth. What are those implications for me?

On Power Word Wednesdays, my intent is to reflect further on the power words that shape my walk on earth. I remain intrigued at the power behind a God driven vocabulary. Followers of the Holy guide their lives by a dictionary of the Holy.

Today is the first post on Its Jesus Fridays. Since Jesus walked the earth to show me the heart and face of God, I wonder why he is not the first place I look for my clues on how to live and worship rather than to the rules and traditions set by past and current generations.

tribe2Its Jesus Friday so here I go reflecting on Jesus and my tribe.

Religious folks call their tribe a congregation or a church.

As one who has lived in, among, and around churches my entire life, and even planted a few, I’ve come to think the concept of tribe fits rather well.

Tribes know who is in and who is out. You follow the rules and you are in. You break the rules and you are out. Most of us attribute our rules to God. That gives us the needed authority for the definition of our tribal boundaries.

tribe6Here’s the problem I see. Too many of us focus on tribal definitions as we walk the boundary lines digging them deep into the soil. In the process, we unwittingly assign Jesus a lesser role.

I stand amazed and ashamed at the ease with which I move the focus away from Jesus.

I join with those throughout the ages who have felt pushed by “right rules,” rather than drawn to the Righteous Son.

In 2012, I was acutely aware when I initiated the GodReflection blog of the limited time I have on earth based upon the number of my birthday celebrations—I’ve had three more since.

My stated purpose is to spend my remaining walk on earth to come to know better the Triune God.

tribe10I am far from where I want to be but I am making progress in my attempt to peel away a few of the unwanted barnacles attached to the hull of  my ship as it moves toward the horizon.

I am beginning to see that to know Jesus is to know God.

I’ve learned that Jesus’ church is perfect. It needs neither reformation nor restoration. Who is in constant need of reform and restoration is I. I need to become more like Jesus.

tribe16During 2015 as I explore It’s Jesus Friday, I am determine to declare It’s Jesus.

It will be my purpose to spend more time in the glow of Jesus’ life and teachings. I want to take care not to make rules that weigh down the Jesus walk of others.

It is my aim to draw from those ahead of me in their allegiance to Jesus as Savior as they place him at the center of their walk.

It’s Jesus.

I want to increase the intensity of the flame so that the impurities of religion can be removed leaving Jesus as the pure gold nugget I hold in my hand.

tribe21Will I meet the goal I set forth? Not a chance.

However, I trust the Holy Spirit of God will move me farther along the path.

I invite you to reflect along with me each Friday as together we shout, It’s Jesus.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – A GodReflection on It’s Jesus.

Path Words to the Holy: Prayer

GodReflection: Power Words

garyguarujaI place myself among the multitude of Christ followers who feel inadequate in the realm of prayer. I am no Martin Luther who wrote, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”

While I struggle in my own prayer world, I see others who God seems to grace with the gift of prayer. The Prayer Pathway is their primary means of walking close to the Father.

The first time I noticed it was in college. I encountered a friend who was normal in every way—except one.  What caught my attention was the way he prayed. He was among those who pray without pretence.

He drew me into his public prayers. I readily walked with him syllable by syllable. I felt no need to glance at my watch when he led in prayer.

My college friend was not alone. He represents a worn pathway of many Christ followers.

prayer12Their public prayer is merely an extension of their private prayer life.They walk the Prayer Pathway.

Those on the prayer trail pursue the alignment of their own will with the will of the Father.

I thank God for their role in the kingdom. Their time on the Prayer Pathway in conversation with God directly affects my walk. They cover a lot of territory with God focused words. I yearn to be on their agenda when they approach the Father.

Here is what I think.

prayer16I want to hold in grateful esteem those who walk with such effortless ease the Prayer Pathway.

At the same time, I must refrain from discouragement with my own plodding prayer trek.

God gave me the language I use to converse with Him. He did not wire me to walk with ease the pathway of prayer. I suspect He smiles in appreciation as I struggle in my communication with Him. I don’t speak fluent God.

I praise God that in His gracious kindness He wired me to walk other pathways with Him where I am more at ease. They are more natural to our relationship.

Father God,

I thank you for those who find meaningful relationship with the Holy on the Prayer Pathway.

I want to imitate their priority of will alignment with the Godhead.prayer6

In my distinct wiring may I approach my own pathways with the same priority—to align my will with that of the Holy.

Whatever the assigned walk— as an artist, a builder, a thinker, a caregiver, an expressive, the intellectual, or the nature lover— may, the purpose along the trail be step-by-step will alignment with Father, Son, and Spirit.

It is in the name of the Godhead I pray,


Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – A GodReflection on Prayer as a Holy Path of Power.

Path Words to the Holy: Caregiver

GodReflection: Power Words

garyguarujaGod used special “feeling” strands to wire Caregivers. It is a unique gift. I know because I’m married to one.

I probably wouldn’t take note should the moon stop shinning. Life under my rock blocks many awareness signals.

In contrast, God designed caregivers with special antennas. Not only caregiver8can they sense the need for care, they feel closes to God when they step into the pathway of caring. For it is in the act of caring that they find themselves most in communion with God.

caregiver11They constantly shop for cards that carry just the right message.

They write notes and make telephone calls to those on their radar screen.

I like to think of them as equipped in unique fashion with the gift of helps.

Their ranks are high among nurses. It is easy to spot nurses in hospitals who are caregivers as opposed to those doing a job for a paycheck.

Caregivers get little press. Others may wrongly judge communion with God in the act of care giving, as inferior to the prayer warrior or to the enthusiast who worships God with abandon expression. I suspect God smiles to see them serve as his hands, feet, and heart.

How neat is it to have wiring with the propensity to act like Jesus!

Jesus—who showed to us the face of God—set the bar as the ultimate caregiver. He blazed the trail as he hurt with the poor, lame, blind, and sick. He cared at times of death and distress. I can imagine he picked up and held more than one child with a skinned knee.

He cared for his mother. He cared for lost people. He cared for his disciples.

caregiver1The caregiver leans into the promise the apostle Peter gave to the churches; Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Surely, those wired as caregivers receive an extra jolt of power from the knowledge they imitate the Savior.

Holy God,

Thank you for allowing your church to walk in the company of our brothers and sisters wired to walk well the pathway of caregiver.

May we honor their service and quietly rejoice with them as they follow their pathway. Grant each one with contentment of knowing they feel your smile as they walk a sacred pathway conducive to their design.

May the rest of us encourage them as they follow your wiring and move along the caregiver pathway into proximity of the Holy.

I pray through the name of the one they imitate—Jesus of Nazareth,


Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – A GodReflection on Caregiver as a Holy Path Word of Power.