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Peter & John — 2 Peter 1:1-2

2 Peter 1:1-2 NIV
[1] Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: [2] Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Dear God, I just finished 1 Peter yesterday talking about how he was wishing them peace, and now I see that he leads off this letter wishing them grace and peace. I know that the idea of unearned grace is unique to Christianity. I wonder how much the offering of peace is unique to it as well.

While I was talking about peace yesterday, I started thinking about the songs and hymns that I could think of that reference peace. Two came to mind instantly. The first is called “The Peace That Passes Understanding” (written by Claire Cloninger and Wayne Watson and performed by Wayne Watson). Here are the lyrics.

“The Peace That Passes Understanding”

Seasons of my soul
They come and go
But as they slip away
I know something else remains
That will not change

Places in my heart
Are torn apart
But in my brokenness, I find
That something stays behind
That will not change

The peace that passes understanding
Is a blessing that will never fade away
The peace that passes understanding
Is here to stay
The peace that passes understanding
Never passes away

Lord, in times of old
My heart had known
With quiet words of your tender love
And your gentle touch
That changes me

Even through the storm
I’m safe and I’m warm
Lord, You have comforted me
With grace in Your hiding place
I am at peace
Peace comes like the dawn
Peace that the world
Can’t understand
You take my hand and I stand
The waters may fall

The peace that passes understanding
Is a blessing that will never fade away
The peace that passes understanding
Is here to stay
The peace that passes understanding
Never passes away
Oh oh, oh oh

The peace that passes understanding
Is a blessing that will never fade away
The peace that passes understanding
Is here to stay
The peace that passes understanding
Never passes away

The other song is a hymn I’ve journaled about before, “It Is Well With My Soul,” written by Horatio Spafford after the tragic loss of his children at sea. Here are the lyrics. They start with “peace.”

“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

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

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

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with 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

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

Father, storms will come. I will be pressed, but I can have peace in you. And even if I am ultimately crushed and my earthly life ends, I will be with you and it will be well with my soul. Thank you for offering this to all of us through your son.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
 

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Emails to God – “It is Well with My Soul”

We are going to work with “It is Well with My Soul” tonight. But before you read the lyrics you need to start with what the writer was experiencing in his life at the time he wrote it. Here is the tale as told by our friends at Wikipedia (so it must be true):

“It Is Well with My Soul” is a very influential hymn penned by hymnist Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss.

This hymn was written after several traumatic events in Spafford’s life. The first was the death of his only son in 1871 at the age of four, shortly followed by the great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sailing ship, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford’s daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, “Saved alone . . .”. Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.

Bliss called his tune Ville du Havre, from the name of the stricken vessel.

The Spaffords later had three more children, one of whom (a son) died in infancy. In 1881 the Spaffords, including baby Bertha and newborn Grace, set sail for Israel. The Spaffords moved to Jerusalem and helped found a group called the American Colony; its mission was to serve the poor. The colony later became the subject of the Nobel prize winning Jerusalem, by Swedish novelist Selma Lagerlöf.

Amazing story. It reminds me that I don’t know what it means to suffer. The heart of a man capable of writing the following lyrics in the midst of so much pain explains why he was later able to start a ministry in Jerusalem in the 1800’s.

When peace like a river attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know, (remember what the story said about “say” and “know” here)

“It is well, It is well with my soul”

 

Though Satan should buffet, tho’ trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

 

My sin–O, the bliss of this glorious thought,

My sin–not in part but in whole,

Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more,

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O 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.

Wow. Here is my summary of the verses.

  1.  Straight up confessing his sorrow and telling God that he trusts Him through it.
  2. He knows that Satan attacks him, but recognizes Jesus’ provision for the attacks.
  3. He recognizes his sin and claims his freedom from it through Jesus.
  4. He looks to the day when the faith he is proclaiming, and sometimes doubts, becomes sight.

Knowing the background of this hymn, it has to be in anyone’s top-five.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2012 in Hymns and Songs

 

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