Blog Archive

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Time to Press "Pause"

The post for this day was explanation for a sudden halt to blogging. The halt was temporary, and the post with comments have been put in storage. I thank everyone who supported me in a difficult time.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sharp Two-edged Sword

"Most people are bothered by those passages in Scripture that they cannot understand; but as for me, I always noticed that the passages in Scripture that trouble me most are those that I do understand."
~ Mark Twain

Sharp Two-edged Sword

These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:
"I know your works ... And you hold fast to My name ... But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught ... to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality... Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth."
~ Revelation 2:12-16 (NKJV)

"And that servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required ..."
~ Luke 12:47-48 (NKJV)

To the church at Pergamos Jesus portrays Himself with a sword. The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. The Word alone was powerful enough to create the universe. When He was tempted Jesus used Scripture to defeat the devil. Jesus is named both Bread of Life and Word of God.

He is prepared to use this sword against whom? Those in the church with bad doctrine, who give a nod to what is immoral.

Good and bad religion will be addressed in the next post from Revelation, in examining Jesus' words to the church in Thyatira. For now it's sufficient to point out the words of Jesus from Luke. While knowing His will and disregarding it shall certainly be dealt with, even failing to heed His will out of ignorance brings consequences.

Before thinking "unfair," consider that God gives us consciences. His moral law is written on hearts that can remain ignorant of His Word and still be guilty. How much more so might He expect those of us with abundant access to the Bible to understand our Master's will and do it?

Our most wealthy nation's greatest treasure are the Bibles available everywhere. We are stewards not only of the material riches entrusted to us, but especially of God's Word.

Bread of Life, we live not on bread alone but upon every word from Your mouth. You give our souls the sustenance of eternal life. Please increase our desire for and understand of the Bible that we might learn it, love it, and live it.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Endures Forever

"Blessed is any weight ... that God has been so good
as to fasten with His own hand upon our shoulders."
~ Frederick W. Faber

Endures Forever

These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life:
"I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich) ... Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."
~ Revelation 2:8-10 (NKJV)

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever...
to the One who remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies,
His love endures forever...
Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.
~ Psalms 136:1-3,23-24,26 (NIV)

As He speaks to Smyrna, Jesus calls Himself "the First and the Last, who died and came to life again." He reminds of His eternal perspective, and that He has tasted death.

Death around us has a way of sucking away the life within us. Suffering, testing and tribulation have a way of narrowing our perspective to "right now" in a way that seems to endure forever.

Psalm 136 declares 26 times that it is the Lord's love which endures forever. Throughout Scripture we see that suffering, testing, tribulation last for a set time—and no more.

The above image hangs above my writing desk, and above that is a single word: ENDURANCE. Whatever we are going through, however long it lasts, we can endure. When Jesus tells us to take up a cross daily and walk uphill, He is asking us to simply follow Him.

Father in Heaven, surely we become weary in well-doing because we do not gain strength from You as we should. You have promised we shall not be tested beyond our ability to endure. Please take us into Your arms and carry us when we become weak. Please give us Your perspective of the eternal and the temporal.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Artwork "Road to the Cross" by Brian Jekel © DaySpring and published by the
MasterPeace collection

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


"Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies."


These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:
"I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you ... have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love."
~ Revelation 2:1-4 (NKJV)

Rejoice with the wife of your youth.
As a loving deer and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
And always be enraptured with her love.
~ Proverbs 5:18-19 (NKJV)

"And it shall be, in that day,"
Says the LORD,
"That you will call Me 'My Husband,'
And no longer call Me 'My Master,'
Hosea 2:16 (NKJV)

Song of Solomon is not the only place in the Bible that describes romantic love with striking language, nor is marriage mere allegory of the relationship between God and His people. Over and over, throughout Old and New Testaments, marriage and romantic love model the relationship we are to have with our Lord—our "Husband."

Jesus walks among the lampstands—His churches—and we see ourselves through His eyes. The first church mentioned, Ephesus, is like the older brother of the prodigal son, like Martha critical of Mary: doing all the right things, but missing entirely what the Lord most desires: our attentive love. And our Husband is not satisfied with the tired, stick-out-what's-been-started love, but asks for the first love a man has for the wife of his youth, and she for him.

I didn't anticipate doing Revelation when I wrote "First Love" on January 3rd. That piece posted on a Sunday, when blog traffic is light, so I'll repeat here some of what was said there:

First love is consuming. It takes over all thought, feeling, word, action.

First love is driven. It will go around or through and beyond any obstacle.

First love is empowering. There is nothing it will not do for its object.

First love is not extinguished by time, but by the indifference of familiarity and the distraction of intrusion.

If love is one soul inhabiting two bodies, then His Holy Spirit is surely put in us to unite the soul of His church to the soul of our divine Husband.

Lord Jesus, help us to remember first love, and to pour it out lavishly upon You.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Keys of Hades and Death

"The proof of how real Jesus knew hell to be
is that He came to earth to save us from it."
Peter Marshall

Keys of Hades and Death

And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death."
~ Revelation 1:17-18 (NKJV)

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
~ John 14:6 (NKJV)

Thoughts on Jesus and His possession of the Keys of Hades and Death.

It seems interesting that in the same place Jesus tells His beloved apostle "do not be afraid," Jesus also reminds John that He holds the keys of Hades and Death. It might be compared to the judge in a human court declaring, "I hold the keys to the prison." To one being held in jail who has just been judged innocent, this is good news and relieves fear. To one who was walking free and has just been judged guilty, this is very bad news and induces fear.

Jesus taught that the devil is the
father of lies and that He Himself is truth. He says He is the only way to the Father and life, holding the keys of Hades and Death. Therefore truth trumps lies, life trumps death, and Jesus trumps the devil. If this seems too obvious to be worthy of note, consider how often we evade truth with a lie, fear death while we possess life, or allow the devil's words to counter the Lord's.

The Person Who holds the keys of Hades and Death admits He was once subjected to Death, and Scripture indicates He
visited Hades. Thus our Lord gained those keys by facing those enemies and wresting away their power. He can rightfully declare, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die." (John 11:25-26) If we need not fear Death, what lesser power on earth should be able to intimidate us?

Lord Jesus Christ, Author of peace, let us ever remember that You hold the keys to the power we might most fear. As we face the massive numbers of deaths in Haiti, as we face the deaths of loved ones, keep us mindful that which side of the door we stand on makes all the difference between joy and sorrow.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Humility in Suffering, Humility in Praise

"Humility is not an ideal.
It is the unconscious result
of the life being rightly related to God."
~ Oswald Chambers

Humility in Suffering, Humility in Praise

To the Chief Musician.
A Psalm of David The Servant of the LORD,
Who Spoke to the LORD The Words of This Song
on the Day that the LORD Delivered Him
from the Hand of All His Enemies
and from the Hand of Saul.
And He Said:
I will love You, O LORD, my strength.
~ Psalms 18:1 (NKJV)

Thus says the LORD: "... your house and your kingdom ... [and] your throne shall be established forever." ... Then King David went in and sat before the LORD; and he said: "Who am I, O Lord GOD? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?"
~ 2 Samuel 7:5,16,18 (NKJV)

Though Saul dedicated his life to murdering David, David not only refused to retaliate, but excluded Saul from his enemies when penning his final psalm forty years after Saul's death.

Such humility marked David's life. He did not see himself worthy of marrying Saul's daughter, nor later, of the messianic covenant from the Lord. He thoroughly and immediately repented when confronted with his adultery and murder, and again later after an unrighteous census. He showed compassion to women such as Abigail when she was rich and he was poor and to Rizpah when she was forlorn and he was king.

When we think of examples of patience amid suffering, we think of Job, whose suffering was intense—but short lived. David's suffering marked most of his life—persecution by his son Absalom when he was old, by King Saul when he was young, and by many brethren who hated him while he suffered unrighteously as a destitute fugitive. Physical affliction is also mentioned throughout David's psalms.

Presenting suffering next to a good God, with the exhortation "rejoice always," is a distinct challenge for this writer to do credibly. My inspiration is the suffering David, whose humility enabled his enduring praise to God.

In that final psalm of his, David affirmed amid the suffering of infirmity: The Lord is our strength, and we declare to Him, "I will love You!"

Lord, You bless and take away, and always bless amid the taking away. By Your grace and strength, my heart will forever choose to say, "Lord, blessed be Your name."

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Saturday, January 16, 2010


"Ask yourself what makes you come alive.
And then go and do that."
~ Harold Whitman


Your word has given me life.
~ Psalms 119:50 (NKJV)

How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth! ...
Your word is very pure;
Therefore Your servant loves it...
I rejoice at Your word
As one who finds great treasure.
~ Psalms 119:103,140,162 (NKJV)

If there's something that makes me come alive, it's expressing my passion for the Bible.

I can't help but see all of life through the lens of Scripture, because I see Scripture has already focused upon all of life.

If there's only one thing I know and write, love and breathe, it's the Bible and its Author. Counting today, I've now done it for 699 posts.

Fewer people are here on Saturday. To you, I pose a question:

What do you think I should write about, or what might you like me to write about, for post number 700 tomorrow?

My Lord, thank You for the opportunity You've given me to share You here. Please enable and bless my words. May they ever be no more and no less than what You'd have said. For each and every person who stops here, even if only by accident, please bless them and draw them closer to You.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Freelance: S.A.D.D.

"Don't despair. Only the mediocre person is always at his best."
~ W. Somerset Maugham

Friday Freelance: S.A.D.D.

It's January in Michigan. The longitude on the Eastern time zone's western edge brings dawn around 8 a.m. Latitude near the 45th parallel means absurdly few hours of meaningful daylight. Center the two between three Great Lakes, and oppressive cloud cover robs the land of sunlight. Supposedly mild temperatures hover around freezing, but they conspire with the damp and darkness to preserve the snow and S.A.D.D. (Seasonal Affective Depression Disorder).

S.A.D.D. has not dogged me since the early 90's, just after I moved to Michigan. But I'm encountering a surprising number of people with it this year, and it seems to be contagious. If I'm honest, my problem is not a lack of sunshine but of Sonshine. When I was in my groove, prayer closet time was a prominent priority, I was energized for a long day after minimal sleep, and had time to accomplish all the things God put on my heart. Low levels of sunshine were easily dismissed.

I've been operating on reserve strength while prayer closet time has been slowly shrinking, my energy has been diminishing, my sleep has been increasing. I'm left with fewer, frustrated hours to try to accomplish the same as before. Add to that January in Michigan and unprecedented personal challenges, and I've got the formula for a full blown case of S.A.D.D.

But only if I let it take hold.

A merry heart does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones.
~ Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)

My typical outlook is not just "cup-half-full," but "my cup runneth over." I like long and frequent visits to the stream of Living Waters, letting it fill me and flow through me to others. I'd like to think of myself as liquid Colorado sunshine bottled up in a pint-sized vessel of Holy Spirit, spilling out all over the drab Michigan landscape.

My heart holds a yearning ache for the day I stand in full Sonshine. It is countered by the desire to arrive on that day with arms full of tribute to present before my King. I labor neither from sense of duty, nor to prove myself, nor even for promised reward. Duty pales next to love, my status is secure in the blood of Jesus Christ, and the only reward I seek is to kneel before the feet that were pierced for me and be permitted to kiss them.

I labor as a debtor to grace. Gratitude to my Lord gives me full rest but no leisure. The day will soon enough arrive when eternity stretches before me—without the opportunity I have now.

Here, now, I can do for my Lord on the earth what He will no longer need in Heaven. I can spill out love and life and Light in the dark world that will one day pass from existence.

When a tickle in my throat hints of an impending cold, I attack the germs mercilessly, because I don't have time to get sick. By the grace of God, I've not had a cold in two or three winters.

Lately, I've felt the tickle of S.A.D.D. trying to take hold. Life is too short to spend it weakened by such an affliction. I've started forfeiting some time visiting Facebook, blogs, and Twitter for prayer closet time, until those germs are put down, and I again have more hours in my day.

By the grace of God, I'll not succumb to S.A.D.D.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

In Awe

"Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel?
Will I dance for You, Jesus, or in awe of You be still?
Will I stand in Your presence, or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing 'Hallelu Yah'—will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine."
~ Mercy Me*

In Awe

Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, and those who pierced Him... "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "He who is and He who was and He who is to come, The Almighty." ... And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as if dead. But He put His right hand on me, saying, "Do not fear ..."
~ Revelation 1:7-8,17 (EMTV)

Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
~ 1 Peter 2:17 (NKJV)

awe: noun> a feeling of great respect mixed with fear; fearful veneration or respect
awesome: adj> inspiring awe; slang remarkable, outstanding

We picture Jesus as the Baby in the manger. The beloved Rabbi healing the sick and raising the dead. The gentle Shepherd welcoming children. The loving Savior pierced on the cross.

Jesus Christ is foremost the divine Son of God.

Lest we think "fear of the Lord" is only an Old Testament concept for those not yet cleansed by the blood of Christ or filled with His Spirit, consider the example of two prominent apostles.

Here is Peter, the foremost apostle of the early church, who once beheld with fear the transfigured Jesus. He writes to followers and instructs us to "fear God."

Here is John, the apostle whom Jesus loved, beholding his Lord. He is in awe, fallen on his face in abject fear of Lord God Almighty in all His glory.

The slang exclamation of "awesome" has come to mean "cool," "outstanding," or perhaps "wow!" Our awesome God is all these lesser things. But if Jesus Christ inspired terror in Peter and John, His closest earthly friends, might we consider that our own response to Him would include being in awe—fearful, righteous awe?

Might we consider the privilege of entering His presence at all?

Lord Jesus, how is it that You, our awesome and almighty God, should love us so powerfully and show us such immense grace? Please increase our fear that we might heed You. Please perfect our love in anticipation of the day when perfect love drives out all fear.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Image from album "Face Down" by Matt Redman,
*Lyrics of "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me © 1999 Simpleville Music

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Know Jesus, Love Jesus

"I love people. I know things.
But the love of Christ is a love that feels like knowing
and a knowing that feels like love."
~ Gwen Stewart

Know Jesus, Love Jesus

From Jesus Christ,
the trustworthy witness,
the firstborn from the dead, and
the ruler over the kings of the earth.
To Him who
loved us and
washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has
made us kings and priests to His God and Father,
to Him be
glory and
forever and ever.
~ Revelation 1:5-6 (NKJV)

I love spotting symmetry, especially in the Scriptures.

The number three represents entirety or wholeness. Father, Son, Spirit. Beginning, End, Middle. Was, is, and is to come. In these verses I see three three’s.

The Person of Jesus is described here as the Trustworthy Witness, in Whom we put faith. He is the Firstborn of the dead, in whom we have life. He is Ruler, Prince, and (literally) Primary over all other authorities, before Whom every knee will bend, either freely in this life or under compulsion on a day to come.

The Presents of Jesus to His people are His love, the greatest fulfillment for the human soul. He washes us from sin, that we may have peace with God, fellow man, and ourselves. He then bestows to us this high honor, that we are not merely royalty, but kings; not merely servants, but priests.

The Power of Jesus is His matchless glory, the beauty of purest Light. His dominion is unrivaled, and can be contested by no other power in the heavens, on the earth, or under the earth. His power is eis toús aīonas ton aionōn, "unto the ages of the ages," undiminished by passage of time.

Behold your God. Let your pride be diminished before the Person, Presents, and Power of the Lord Jesus Christ. Love Him well.

Father in Heaven, much dissatisfies us in this world. Forgive us for believing we need more than what You are to us, bestow to us, and reveal to us. Remind of us often of the great honor You’ve shown us. Increase our capacity to love You.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Photo from

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Confront Lust

The theme for the Blog Carnival hosted today by Bridget Chumbley is lust. (More articles on "Lust" are here.)

The first gentle piece I wrote for today was rather wimpy so I tossed it. And since it was in a Twitter discussion that Mike Ellis suggested this theme and I responded with the dare for constructive confrontation of lust, I thought it only fair of me to meet that challenge head-on with these more forthright words.


"The average girl would rather have beauty than brains because she knows the average man can see better than he can think."
~ Anonymous

Confront Lust

"I have made a covenant with my eyes;
Why then should I look upon a young woman?"
~ Job 31:1 (NKJV)

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
~ Proverbs 31:30 (NKJV)

Because they are less discreet, men are seen as the gender with a lust problem. Before addressing female lust, shall we acknowledge that women help perpetuate male lust with the way they present themselves?

I’m not proud to admit it, but I remember what it was like a couple of decades back to measure all my attire, adornment and mannerisms by their affect on the opposite sex. Shame on me and the women who have tried to manipulate a man’s attention with subtle (or not so subtle) yet open seduction. And it is seduction, even if a woman says she doesn’t mean it that way.

Gentlemen, surely you are not so weak and stupid that you cannot see such female behavior for the snare it is. If you don’t want to be a woman’s prey, I suggest you keep your attention on her from the neck up, and keep your contact with her clean. I know this can be a challenge, because my own eyes have difficulty from straying to attention grabbers on women—and hardly because I'm attracted to it. But if a painfully attractive, bronzed and bare-chested construction worker can stand three feet from me while I keep my eyes above his neck, keep my hormones in check, and keep my attention on the roof work being discussed, then I know it’s possible for you to do likewise with women.

Ladies, do you reduce yourselves to a pretty piece of hairdo and flesh? If you do get a man to drool over the outward, how difficult will it be to re-divert his attention to the inward? Women were created not as advertisements, but to radiate beauty—the beauty of the Lord's light.

Furthermore, ladies, can we acknowledge that our lust may be as pervasive as men's? If we don't struggle with keeping our eyes above a man's neck, it's because that's where our primary lust lies. Regardless of any interest in his body, we're more interested in his attention.

What do little girls dream of? The Prince Charming who will marry the maiden and shower her with his love so that they live happily ever after. But either Prince Charming fails to marry us, and leaves us with broken hearts; or, he marries us, we discover that Prince Charming has other things on his mind besides us, and we decide he's not so perfect.

So we're inclined to lust after potential Prince Charmings: the co-worker who's such a gentleman; the man at church who treats his wife in a manner we wish a man might treat us; the kind and handsome sir who frequently crosses our path too briefly. The fact that female lust is more emotional than physical doesn't mean it isn't lust, and doesn't make it less dangerous to either present or future marriage.

We women forget that no man is perfect, and no man can meet all of our emotional needs. Admit it ladies: if you were married to the Lord Jesus Himself you'd complain that He gives work all His attention and is on the road too much.

If you're a single woman, be careful about where you let your heart wander. You'll miss out on blessings of what is if you're too caught up dreaming of what might be.

If you're a married woman and have serious marital issues, address them respectfully. But remember that you're not perfect, and no matter how your husband might change he still wouldn't be perfect. Resolve not to day dream about other men, make your marriage the very best it can be, and give your husband the respect, attention and passion that belong to him, both in the bedroom and elsewhere.

Men, if you feel your wife fails to give you all this, do you fantasize or lust over women who might? If your wife isn't generous enough with physical affection, do you feel you're being denied your marital rights? Do you deny her the affection and attention which warm her—which constitute her marital rights? The Bible says, "Husbands, love your wives." Do you love your wife and put her needs above your own, as Paul instructs? Or do you turn the attention that belongs to her elsewhere? (Just some suggested thoughts from a woman's point of view.)

There's plenty more I might say. I'll simply leave men and women alike with a recommendation for "bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." Trying to push away temptation doesn't tend to be effective, because the resulting void creates a vacuum into which the temptation returns.

More effective is filling your mind and heart with something more valuable than the object of temptation.

I say then: Walk in the Spirit,
and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
~ Galatians 5:16 (NKJV)

A postscript: Wives, husbands, remember to pray for each other. Even if you're single, you can pray now for the man or woman the Lord might one day make your spouse.

Father in Heaven, please use Your Holy Spirit to speak to each of us how You'd fill us with something better than whatever we might lust after. Please increase our desire for such blessing. Please give us all the needed strength to direct our hearts and minds toward You.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Monday, January 11, 2010

The Necessity of Beauty, Part Two

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,
we must carry it with us or find it not."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Necessity of Beauty,
Part Two

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
~ Ephesians 5:25-27 (NKJV)

Today is an interlude between a look at Psalms and returning to the New Testament.

My rotation has been to follow Psalms with a Gospel. But since I've now blogged on all four Gospels, I thought I'd look at Jesus through the book titled "The Revelation of Jesus Christ."

The last book of the Bible is seen primarily as a prophecy of end times. My intent is to look less at the plans and promises of the Lord for His second coming, but at His Person. Every book of the Bible reveals the Lord Jesus. How much more so the book with such a title?

The Lord's second coming is not only to receive a throne, but to receive a bride.

For the ancient Israelite wedding, the bridegroom made all the preparations for both the couple's home and the wedding feast. The bride gave her full attention to preparing only herself. She did all within her means to make herself beautiful for her husband. He might even give her garments as betrothal gifts, perhaps as an indication of his preferences.

In looking at the Lord Jesus Himself, might we also discover what He looks for in His bride—His preferences? What might garments of righteousness which He gives to us look like?

Last Monday's
Necessity of Beauty was a look at Christ's church as His witness to the world. We'll look again at the necessity of beauty, not for the world's sake, but in anticipation of pleasing our Beloved Bridegroom.

Since tomorrow's post will be on the topic of Lust for the Blog Carnival, I'll plan to open the book of Revelation on Wednesday.

Lord Jesus Christ, You are King of kings, Lord of lords, and most especially our Beloved Bridegroom. Please give Your Holy Spirit as our valet, to open our eyes to what most pleases You, that we might make ready for Your coming.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Church Withdrawal

"Those who are drawn to God
are also drawn toward each other."
~ Unknown

Church Withdrawal

I was glad when they said to me,
"Let us go into the house of the LORD."
~ Psalms 122:1 (NKJV)

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
~Hebrews 10:24-25

If all goes as planned, I'm having brunch with family this morning. Instead of being at my church, my soul is being nourished with a different kind of fellowship.

And if today is like any other Sunday on which I miss church, I'll be suffering church withdrawal, restless for my fix.

I understand that some people attend church because they believe doing so earns grace (not so), or that it's how to get to Heaven (it is not).

Perhaps people think going to church is a good thing for a Christian to do. That it is—but this is not why I go.

I go to church because I love the Lord, and I love celebrating the Lord with His people, and I love loving His people. I go there to be exhorted and to exhort others and to have a taste of Heaven.

My church also meets on Sunday evening (Praise the Lord!), and I plan to be there so symptoms of withdrawal don't become severe.

Thank You, Lord, for Yourself, with Whom we might ask for no one else. Thank You for Your people. Please knit our hearts together as one. Oh my God, please, I ask You, make our love for You stronger in our love for one another.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Photo of Pastor Dean Stewart courtesy of Joshua Nathaniel Hinds

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Anointed and Empowered

"Nearly all men can stand adversity,
but if you want to test a man's character,
give him power."
- Abraham Lincoln

Anointed and Empowered

Isaiah 61 prophesies of the Messiah and describes the ministry for which His Father anointed and empowered Him.

If you'll read it carefully, I do not think you'll find anything here that does not describe the ministry for which we are also anointed and empowered with the Spirit of the Lord.

Father in Heaven, thank You for the anointing with Your Spirit. Thank You for the power entrusted to us. Please quicken our own spirits and strengthen our souls to understand and to do all You will through us.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Freelance: FIRE

I breathe
I eat
I dance
I die
And yet I never live

You can feel me
But cannot touch me
Although your heart may hold me

Nothing with life survives without me
And nothing of heaven and earth will survive me

I am Fire

Friday Freelance: FIRE

Few things please and fascinate me as does fire.

Dancing flames soothe my soul as might crashing waves or gently babbling brook or wind whispering in pines. I'd rather stare at a fire than T.V. any time. Add one of my daughters at the piano or violin, a glass of Riesling, an open Bible—you might just convince me that I've died and gone to Heaven.

A most captivating mystery of fire is that I stuff log after log into a stove that utterly destroys the wood, returns beauty and warmth, and leaves behind bits of ashes. My mind knows there's some scientific equation about matter and energy that explains this. My soul cares not a whit.

Perhaps most fascinating to me is that the Holy Spirit of Almighty God is represented by fire. Though He is also represented as water and air (and even as a dove), His representation as the fire taken into our bosoms which does not burn us deeply resonates with me. Whatever mighty transformation the Lord may achieve by the power of water or air, nothing can completely alter matter as can fire.

"Who can endure the day of His coming?
And who can stand when He appears?
For He, like a purifying fire ...
Will be enthroned to refine and purify His wealth,
Will purify His priestly sons ...
That they may rightly bring offerings to YHWH."
~ Malachi 3:2-3 (author paraphrase)

I've said before that when I surrendered to the Holy Spirit, He did an "extreme makeover—soul edition." The woman who was baptized on December 4, 1988 is still alive, but she bears little resemblance to the person I am now. Fire has completely altered what once existed.

The last two months have been a study of Psalms 101 thru 125, which I introduced as "thoughts on praise and suffering." The Psalms are valued for their words of praise. They say nearly as much about suffering.

I do not think the two can be separated. Suffering is the fire that purifies the offering—the sacrifice—of praise.

Suffering is the matter taken by the Spirit's fire and transformed into the currency of ashes which the Lord exchanges for His beauty.

"Christ-followers have more at their disposal
to handle pain & suffering than anyone else on earth.
One might even argue that we were designed for it."
~Sarah Markley

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
"I am Fire" poem by Anne Lang Bundy
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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Desire and Pleasure

"Never give up on something
that you can't go a day without thinking about."
~ Unknown

Desire and Pleasure

Do what is well and pleasing, O LORD,
To the good, and to the upright in their heart.
~ Psalms 125:4 (author)

Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
~ Psalms 37:3-4 (NKJV)

"But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
~ Luke 12:31-32 (NKJV)

The Lord is the Creator of healthy desire, and of the good things which satisfy it. Sensual pleasure comes free of guilt when indulged in innocent objects such as the fragrance of a flower, the penetrating heat of springtime sun, a symphony of meadow larks, or a million other wonders of creation. Delights such as marital intimacy, food, and sleep are likewise intended for our enjoyment when given their proper place.

Can you imagine that the Creator created something better than Himself? Is there anything in which we might find pleasure that exceeds God?

Christians would never admit that greater satisfaction exists than what is found in God. But too many believers nod their heads in assent, and then turn back to everyday life in search for satisfaction elsewhere.

Today I challenge you. Consider for a moment where you find most pleasure. What is it that you cannot go a day without thinking about? What is it that never ceases to catch your attention, brings you to open your wallet, finds room on your calendar?

Now imagine that the Lord really does fulfill a deeper desire than whatever that is.

Would you allow that no matter how much of Him has already satisfied you, there is more pleasure to be had for the desire?

Your Father can’t go a day without thinking about you. He doesn’t give up on you.

And He fulfills His desire in satisfying the pleasure you find in Him.

Lord, You are the treasure that I seek. You fill my cup. I bless Your name. You are my all in all. My highest privilege, greatest pleasure, and deepest passion are satisfied in You.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Artwork: "I Will Not Fail Thee" by Derek Hegsted, from

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Test or Temptation?

"Many fail in battle because they wait until the hour of battle...
Anticipate your battles; fight them on your knees
before temptation comes."
~ R.A. Torrey

Test or Temptation?

"If it had not been the LORD who was on our side ...
Then the waters would have overwhelmed us,
The stream would have gone over our soul;
Then the swollen waters
Would have gone over our soul."
~ Psalms 124:2,4-5 (NKJV)

"And lead us not into temptation ... "
~ Matthew 6:13 (KJV)

Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
~ James 1:13 (NKJV)

If anything is Greek to me, it's understanding the distinction between the related words peirazo, peira, peirasmos, peirazo as they are translated tempt[ation], try/trial, and test.

I also admit that Jesus instructing us to ask the Father "lead us not into temptation" presents an odd contrast with the Scripture which says God does not tempt. Of little help is the explanation I've heard that temptation is from the devil trying to make us fall and testing is from God trying to make us strong. When I'm going through it, temptation, trial and testing have little differentiation, and I seem as likely to stumble upon all three.

Perhaps the day will come when I can successfully discern between temptation, trial and testing, and more clearly see the best response. For now, I look at all three as a test allowed by God to make me more Christlike.

For now, I simply accept Jesus' instruction, and regularly offer this prayer:

Lord, when temptation comes, please use it to make us more holy, like You. Please use it to wash us not drown us, refine us not burn us. Please draw us to walk closely at the side of You, our Shepherd, and to acknowledge You in all our ways, so that we will follow You safely leading us around or above or even through temptation, but never into it, until we are beyond it.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

False Sense of Security

"A false sense of security is the only kind there is."
~ Michael Meade

False Sense of Security

Our soul is exceedingly filled
With the scorn of those who are at ease,
With the contempt of the proud.
~ Psalms 123:4 (NKJV)

"But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.' "
~ Luke 16:25 (NKJV)

A recurrent lament in the Psalms is that while the righteous suffer, the unrighteous are at ease. Their prosperity and success seems, well, just not right. True enough that Jesus said in this world we'd have tribulation and trial. But in the face of their ease, must our trials be so ... trying?

Many of those who do not fear God have a cavalier journey through this world. They permit themselves a bit of disquiet (if that) at suffering and infirmity, perhaps spout off glib solutions like population control and euthanasia, and carry on a life at ease. If they harbor nagging doubts about their final destination, they nonetheless live each day as one step closer to a triumphant end where they plan to sing, "I did it 'My Way'."

Those who respect the Lord do not live at ease. We are disturbed by the unrighteousness which brings misery and are often scorned for standing against it. We sacrifice ourselves to make the world a better place but might as well try to hold back the tide. We are continually tempted to use this world's methods of "success." We strive all our lives to understand His Way, then kick ourselves for failing to live up to it.

People of this world are correct to say, "A false sense of security is the only kind there is."

Children of God endure because our security lies in no man or institution of this world, but in the Prince of Peace—King of the kingdom to come—Who reigns even now in our lives.

We may not live at ease. We have something better. We may live at peace.

Father in Heaven, our lives are in Your hands. Please increase our faith in Your Way. Please direct our every step. When we look at this world, please quiet our hearts with the peace which passes understanding.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Monday, January 4, 2010

The Necessity of Beauty

"The greatest truths
are wronged
if not linked with
and they win their way
most surely
and deeply
into the soul
when arrayed
in this
their natural and fit attire."
~ William Ellery Channing

The Necessity of Beauty

Jerusalem is built to be a city
where the people are united...
"May there be peace inside your walls
and prosperity in your palaces."
~ Psalms 122:3,7 (GW)

Thus says the Lord GOD to Jerusalem ... "Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you."
~ Ezekiel 16:3,14 (NKJV)

Do not let your adornment be merely outward ... rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
~ 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NKJV)

Oh, Jerusalem! For three millennia, the city named "Headwaters of Peace" has proven to be anything but. Yet she remains God's jewel.

Jerusalem represents the church, Christ's bride. He sees both of them with the eyes of a Lover—adoring beauty despite the imperfections.

The Holy Spirit is the bride's valet, making her lovely for her Bridegroom. He clothes the church with the beauty of holiness—the fruit of love, joy, peace and such—to attract not only our Beloved Lord, but also to attract those people He is calling to be part of the church.

Self-righteousness is neither holy nor beautiful, and appeals to no one but itself.

If we attempt to lure converts with worldly means, the church plays a seductress who cannot sustain a meaningful relationship.

Fear might intimidate a soul to profess allegiance to Christ, but manipulation undermines trust.

Surrender to Jesus is gently compelled by truth clothed in holiness. The necessity of beauty for the church is its pure, accurate and irresistible portrayal of all He means to make of those who are His bride.

And beauty's crown is the unity exemplified by love.

Lord Jesus, how easily distracted and divided we are by worldly veneers. Please forgive us. Please open our eyes to see all You would have us be. Please draw us to the beauty of holiness found in Your Spirit's fruit. Please clothe us with such beauty, and crown us with unity.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved. #churchunity
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Sunday, January 3, 2010

First Love

"We are not held back by the love we didn't receive in the past,
but by the love we're not extending in the present."
~ Marianne Williamson

First Love

"I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil... and you have persevered ... Nevertheless I have this against you,
that you have left your first love."
~ Revelation 2:2-4 (NKJV)

Love never fails.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:8 (NKJV)

First love is consuming. It takes over all thought, feeling, word, action.

First love is driven. It will go around or through and beyond any obstacle.

First love is empowering. There is nothing it will not do for its object.

First love is not extinguished by time, but by the indifference of familiarity and the distraction of intrusion. Jesus gave two instructions to those He admonished for loss of first love:
remember and repent.

Many churches celebrate the Lord's Table today. It is a time to examine how we might repent, and remember our Lord's love. It is a time to celebrate the commUnion we share with one another. It is a time to celebrate all that is to come.

Especially as we begin a new year, the Lord's Table is an opportunity to renew first love.

Lord Jesus, Your love for us has stopped at nothing on our behalf. You've given us Yourself, Your Spirit, Your Father. You desire only our fully-surrendered love. Please help us repent of all distraction. Please return our hearts to the highest place our love for You has ever been, and push it higher.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Heavens Shaken

"I like to think that the moon is there
even if I am not looking at it."
~ Albert Einstein

Heavens Shaken

My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth...
He who keeps you will not slumber...
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve you from all evil ...
The LORD shall preserve
your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.
~ Psalms 121:2-3,6-8 (NKJV)

"... the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory."
~ Mark 13:24-26 (NKJV)

Though taking out the ash bucket isn't my chore, necessity required it of me a few nights ago. I was grateful for a clear night's full moon by which I could watch for coyotes. Then I reached the back of our yard, and was astounded by the glory of gorgeous moonlight shimmering off a field of fresh snow. The unpleasant task became the Lord's opportunity to sneak up on me.

The blessing's Part Two was a night later in a vivid dream. I usually sleep too deeply to even know if I dream. In this dream I saw a brilliant full moon. A hand appeared in the sky and palmed the moon, then took it away. I immediately awakened with a heart of peace. I was not alarmed to see the Lord remove the moon. I had joy to have seen His hand.

The hand of God is terrifying only to those who stand to oppose Him. For those who stand with Him, His hand preserves us from all evil—evil of the day and evil of the night, from this time forth, and forevermore.

Jesus said we'd know the signs of the end times. End times aren't coming. End times are here. They are no cause of fear to those who walk with Him called the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. For us, His coming is a cause of joy.

Father in Heaven, thank You for the great peace You make available to Your people at all times. Please speak peace and guidance to our hearts in these last days. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Friday, January 1, 2010

Friday Freelance: SONSHINE

"And I said to the one who stood at the gate of the year, 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the Unknown.' And he replied, 'Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.' "
~ Minnie Haskins

Friday Freelance: SONSHINE

Few green things tolerate my care. The pictured aloe is mine. Its survival mystifies me. Even a desert plant needs some moisture, and this southwestern wayfarer does well to be watered once a month. Yet it inexplicably sustains life from that trace H2O, its soil, the air, and the pathetic excuse for sunshine Michigan offers. And I know my aloe likes the sun. I can turn this plant any direction, and it stretches pitifully, achingly toward whatever sunlight penetrates clouds and walls.

Colorado is blessed with 300 days per year of sunshine. For 27 years I knew no other life, and took the sun for granted. My first Michigan winter offered five weeks straight of no sunlight. (Like the ancient tradition to stop at 39 lashes lest 40 prove too severe, we were spared a 40th overcast day.) Daylight does occur here—relative to nighttime—but sunlight is always a gift. More than once, I've had a native Michigander point to a momentarily visible patch of blue sky and say, "Sunshine!" I can only shake my head and choke back a sob.

That aloe defies death, speaks empathy to a sister transplant—and shows no ill-effect in sacrifice. I've discovered that fresh aloe generously applied to moderate burns will immediately and permanently remove the sting. A burn at my house means an aloe appendage is partially severed that a human may be healed and comforted. The gaping wound to the aloe soon closes. No matter how many times we cut it, my aloe thrives, continually producing new shoots.

The only evidence of its many sacrifices is the absence of bottom branches and the scars where once they grew. Lacking those longest branches for support, the aloe no longer leans gently toward the sun, but is now bent completely in the direction of light.

"Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
~ Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV)

2009 was a year of many cuts upon me. Each gaping wound closed, though scars remain in my heart. My body has yet to recover from the effects and reminds me daily of what's been sustained. Continued healing occurs as I bend myself low, stretching toward the Light. The Lord heals even as He uses me to accomplish healing where another has been burned.

I held a quiet pity party recently, inviting only me, myself and I. Of course, the devil loves a pity party, so one of his minions snuck in—unrecognized, unseen, but not unheard.

It's no fun to have such a small party. So I asked the Lord if I might include someone else. God is good. He sent me someone. Someone with real problems. Someone with good cause to have a pity party, who didn't succumb to that temptation, but simply called upon a friend.

At once I came to my senses, kicked the enemy out, and spoke words of Light. Guess what? The Sonshine appeared. Pity parties take place only in spiritual darkness, so my own party was done. The adage proves consistently true: If you want to cheer up yourself, set about cheering up someone else.

We walk in a dark world. We hold Light within us. The two will co-exist until Jesus establishes His reign. Darkness overtakes only if we do not actively choose to display Light. We must resolve: "When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say, 'Blessed be the name of the Lord!' "

Press on toward what lies ahead. May Sonshine fill your life throughout 2010.

Rejoice always,
pray without ceasing,
in everything give thanks;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved. #encouragement