Blog Archive

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bought the Farm

image source: Military Websites


I recently watched a presentation in which the expression "bought the farm" was used to describe that someone has sunk everything they have into what they believe. Having rarely heard the idiom, I did a little research.

Evidently the Brits used the expression "bought the plot" as a euphemism for death well before WWII, which is when Americans began saying of a warrior killed in battle that he'd "bought the farm." Among various explanations is the suggestion that a the mortgage on a soldier's farm back home would be paid off with his death benefit. My favorite synonymous definition offered in explanation of "bought the farm" is this one:

His war is over.



For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
~ 2 Corinthians 10:4 (ESV)


Is there a more apt metaphor for this Christian life than war?

The good soldier understands the need for immediate compliance without question, complaint or argument. He maintains good communication with his authority. He does not hesitate to use initiative when the situation calls for it. While called to serve in a land where he is not a citizen, he remembers the place of his citizenship and represents it with honor. Though he may be taxed to the limits of his strength and skill, he will find a way to push forward and endure.

The soldier's hours include times of rest when duty is fulfilled, and times to train or do battle. He must receive one as well as the other. For whether he lays down the right to his life as his own during his years of service, or lays down his life in the ultimate sacrifice, the life once his has been voluntarily committed to a greater good.



... the time of my release is here. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith... the crown of righteousness is laid up for me ...
~ 2 Timothy 4:6-8 (LITV)


Each Christian will have bought the farm on a last day of service, when his or her war is over in this foreign world and we receive a crown for battles waged between good and evil.

Perhaps the most significant battle we face each day is the decision to reenlist, sinking all we are and have into the King's service, our lives committed to following Him wherever He leads in attainment of something greater than ourselves.


I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.
~ Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)


Lord, please inspire and enable us to live in such a way that each day's end brings the peace a good soldier knows when his or her war is over.

: : :

This post is part of a blog carnival hosted by Peter Pollock. You're invited to visit his site and see what others are saying about today's theme: FARM.

Your comments, questions, and respectful disagreement are most appreciated. Reply to BuildingHisBody.com comments, or e-mail buildingHisbody [plus] @gmail.com

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Remembrance

"From those who pledge to uphold it,
Freedom requires a sacrifice the protected do not know."
~ Unknown


Do your remember ...


In your enjoyment of the holiday weekend,
may you remember the cost to celebrate it.


My days are like a shadow that lengthens,
And I wither away like grass.
But You, O LORD, shall endure forever,
And the remembrance of Your name to all generations.
~ Psalms 102:11-12 (NKJV)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Question of the Week:
How do I Enter the Kingdom of God?



What is the Kingdom of God, how do I get there, and how do I know it when I see it?
Russell Holloway, blog host


Last week described what God's kingdom is. This week will address how to enter His eternal kingdom—now.

Jesus provides an answer that is both specific and an apparent mystery.


"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again ... unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
~ John 3:3-6 (NKJV)


The remainder of my answer appears at Bullets & Butterflies.

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What questions do you have about Christianity or the Bible? You're invited to leave them in the comments below (anonymous questions welcome), or email buildingHisbody [plus] @ gmail.com.

© 2011 Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Riding out a Storm

"Peace is not the absence of storm
but the presence of calm within a storm."
~ Unknown


"Master, Master, we are perishing!" (Luke 8:24)
"Lord, save us! We are perishing!" (Matthew 8:25)
"Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" (Mark 4:38)


One of my favorite ways to study Scripture is to look at the same scene through the eyes of different Bible passages. As I well learned from police work, more witnesses, with contrasting details, provides a more complete picture.

You gotta love Mark, whose descriptions often include extra details and rougher edges. In recording Jesus' calming of the storm, Mark starts with Jesus sleeping "in the stern, on a pillow." The very human Master didn't simply doze off, but planned to get His rest. Matthew and Luke show the disciples awakening Jesus to call for His help. Mark depicts utter desperation.

"Do You not care that we are perishing?"

These aren't the words a person uses with an initial plea. Do you get the impression that Jesus hadn't responded immediately? Were some of them simply looking for two more hands to bail out water? How many understood, as Matthew implies, that Jesus had power to save, even if they weren't anticipating the magnitude of His power?


And other little boats were also with Him.
~ Mark 4:36 (NKJV)


This other detail from Mark makes me wonder—couldn't the disciples who actually had Jesus in their boat sense their advantage by comparison? The storm might take out those guys, but we have the Holy One of God with us, who has raised the dead. At least we'll survive.

Do You not care that I am perishing?

Have you ever reached the place of utter desperation which prays like this? Do you know what it is to exhaust your own efforts and the capability of others, and turned to God knowing that He is all you need anyway?

Do you remember that some people nearby don't have Jesus and sense your advantage?


"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
~ Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV)


Being yoked together with Jesus means you are bound to Him. Whether He chooses to calm the storm or He rides it out with you, you will not perish.

He has told us that in being attached to Him, we will find rest for our souls. Will He not be true to His word?

Lord Jesus, when we face the kind of tests that cause us to believe we cannot endure even one more day, please increase our faith to believe that You do indeed care, and You offer us rest in You.

Your comments, questions, and respectful disagreement are most appreciated. Reply to BuildingHisBody.com comments, or e-mail buildingHisbody [plus] @gmail.com
Copyright 2010, 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Soul Cares

Image source: Missionary Help

This week's posts are based on Jesus' words of Luke 21:34-35, taken from the Literal Translation, with the original Greek amplified:

"But take heed [pay attention; as a nautical term, to hold a ship in a direction, to sail towards] to yourselves that your hearts not be loaded down [heavily burdened, oppressed, dull, stupid] with headaches [hangover; disgust following intemperance], and drinking [intoxication], and anxieties [distraction; see below] of life, and that day [Isaiah 24:17] come suddenly upon you as a snare [spring on you like a trap], for it will come in on all those sitting on the face of all the earth."

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Anxiety, worry, fear, solicitude, concern, cares—there are a number of ways to translate the the Greek word merimna in the above passage. From a root word meaning "division," merimna captures the idea "division of mind."

This is what soul cares or anxiety does—it cuts our mind into portions. Bad enough that we lose a sizable measure of brain and heart power which apportions itself to fruitless worry and fear. But the brain and heart capability left behind to face a challenge may struggle to operate effectively without doing more damage to the situation. Like the motor or electrical component which strains to function under brownout conditions until it burns out, it might be better to just shut down and wait until adequate power is available.


And [Jesus] said to them, "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.
~ Mark 6:31 (NKJV)


It's often difficult to simply rest and wait, even under duress. There's too much to be done. We have commitments.

But if too many thoughts are coming and going, and they are bringing anxiety, it really is time to drop out of the action in order to feed on the bread of God's Word and drink from the living waters of God's Spirit. Truth supplies power to heart and mind when it restores unity with with the heart and mind of our Father.

From experience, I know the reality of life doesn't always allow a physical time-out from commitments. I also know that there are times when activity can function on autopilot while mind and heart seek the Lord.

: : :

Monday: Soul Hangover
Yesterday: Soul Intoxication
Tomorrow's Conclusion: Riding out a Storm


Your comments, questions, and respectful disagreement are most appreciated. Reply to BuildingHisBody.com comments, or e-mail buildingHisbody [plus] @gmail.com
Copyright 2010, 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Soul Intoxication

image source: pattinsonintoxication


This week's posts are based on Jesus' words of Luke 21:34-35, taken from the Literal Translation, with the original Greek amplified:

"But take heed [pay attention; as a nautical term, to hold a ship in a direction, to sail towards] to yourselves that your hearts not be loaded down [heavily burdened, oppressed, dull, stupid] with headaches [hangover; disgust following intemperance], and drinking [intoxication—see below], and anxieties [distraction; a mind divided by worry and cares] of life, and that day [Isaiah 24:17] come suddenly upon you as a snare [spring on you like a trap], for it will come in on all those sitting on the face of all the earth."

: : :

At some point in our Christian walk, we come to understand that idolatry is far more than the ancient practice of kneeling before a statue or offering sacrifice to it. Idolatry is exalting even the best things in our life—spouse, family, liberty—as more sacred than God. Idolatry is being willing to sacrifice for these things what we will not sacrifice for the one true Lord of Heaven and Earth.

If I'm stretching the following metaphor too far, I don't mind someone pointing out my error. But I'm also inclined to see intoxication as immersing ourselves in pleasure to the extent that our senses are dulled to the things of God. I have the perspective that we (put my name at the top of the list) are far too inclined to excess where things such as these are concerned:

Food
Work / Hobbies
Sleep
Sex
Exercise / Athletics
Study
Novels
Television / Movies
Video Games
Puzzles (crossword, Sudoku, etc.)
Media / Social Networking
__________ (fill in the blank)

These things have a good and useful place in our lives (albeit some items on that list minimally so). To use them to the point of excess, or to dull our senses to the Holy Spirit with them, is soul intoxication.


And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
~ Ephesians 5:18-19 (NKJV)


Yesterday: Soul Hangover
Tomorrow: Soul Cares


Your comments, questions, and respectful disagreement are most appreciated. Reply to BuildingHisBody.com comments, or e-mail buildingHisbody [plus] @gmail.com
Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Soul Hangover



Last Thursday's post about "The End" (prognosticated for Saturday) received this comment:

"Everyone wants to know 'when' [Jesus will] come. But I just want to be ready ..."

It's easy for Christians to think that readiness came with a decision to "accept Jesus." But the Bible describes being "in Christ" as an ongoing relationship of abiding in Jesus and His words. Jesus also teaches that if we don't pay attention, our hearts can be loaded down and distracted to the point that we are unprepared for His return.

Here are Jesus' words of Luke 21:34-35, taken from the Literal Translation, with the original Greek amplified:

"But take heed [pay attention; as a nautical term, to hold a ship in a direction, to sail towards] to yourselves that your hearts not be loaded down [heavily burdened, oppressed, dull, stupid] with headaches [see below], and drinking [intoxication], and anxieties [distraction; a mind divided by worry and cares] of life, and that day [Isaiah 24:17] come suddenly upon you as a snare [spring on you like a trap], for it will come in on all those sitting on the face of all the earth."

The Greek word translated here as "headaches" (and in the King James as "surfeiting") is kraipalē. It is a headache, a hangover, a shooting pain or a confusion in the head from an overindulgence in alcohol, as well as in gluttony and carousing. It can be applied to the disgust and loathing experienced after excess in general.

The Christian who has sinned may experience a spiritual hangover in the pain which follows our lack of self-control. While such discomfort is helpful when it breeds disgust and loathing for our sin, Jesus admonishes us to pay attention lest our hearts be loaded down with it after its purpose has been served.

Tomorrow: Soul Intoxication
Wednesday: Soul Cares


Your comments, questions, and respectful disagreement are most appreciated. Reply to BuildingHisBody.com comments, or e-mail buildingHisbody [plus] @gmail.com
Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Parting Words

Image source: blog.nau.com.


The bus left with two of my children and without me—not my original plan.

My plan was that my violinist, Elizabeth, would tour with her philharmonic orchestra in Indianapolis, and I would accompany as a group chaperone. But other parents with more experience as chaperones were selected.

The option remained for me to pay full price and accompany the group. But then the orchestra needed a pianist, and so the cost of a second ticket went to my daughter Michaelle.

Two daughters plus luggage were delivered to the bus. I hugged and kissed them goodbye a couple-three times. One said something about it being time for Mom to start crying.

Many moms shed tears the first time they put their babies on a bus and wave them away—though usually when the kids are age 5. (Life is often different for us homeschoolers.) My little girls are 15 and 17, and are only skipping a few hundred miles across the state line, not traversing the globe to a third world country for a missions trip. No tears came.

I returned to my car to wait until the bus left, like in the old days when you stayed in the airport terminal until the plane took off. I recalled my parting words to stay together and look out for each other. That's when the tears came. The day came when I started getting along without my mom, but I've never stopped relying on my sisters, not even now that they're thousands of miles and two time zones away.

The oldest in a family of eight children, I once felt eager to have some space from them. Now it hurts horribly that I'm the only one not in the Denver area. We've stayed tight enough that some of our children seem more like siblings than cousins. I never fully appreciated the value of family until I moved away and I left some huge portion of my heart in Colorado—including the part that knows how much I still need my mom, and how grateful I am that she's still alive.

So I watched the bus through misty eyes and I prayed. I asked God that in being away from me, my daughters would strengthen their bond to each another. I prayed that they'd miss home enough to appreciate it a little more now, in this time of their lives, and not later like I did.


Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me!
~ Isaiah 8:18 (NKJV)


My five darlings have never really been mine. From the day I conceived them, they've been a stewardship in my care on behalf of the Lord.

Which is the basis for my other parting words at the bus, and my foremost prayer on their behalf, said day after day.

Lord, please bring them to live up to and remember always their purpose to glorify You and honor Your name, wherever they go, whatever they do.

Your comments, questions, and respectful disagreement are most appreciated. Reply to BuildingHisBody.com comments, or e-mail buildingHisbody [plus] @gmail.com
Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Question of the Week:
What is the Kingdom of God?

Image source: turnbacktoGod.com


What is the Kingdom of God, how do I get there, and how do I know it when I see it?
Russell Holloway


The work 'kingdom' designates a realm under the domain of its sovereign.

This week will outline the Bible's description of the Lord's dominion, which might be divided into five phases.

The remainder of my answer appears at Bullets & Butterflies.

: : :

Next week: How to enter the Kingdom now.

What questions do you have about Christianity or the Bible? You're invited to leave them in the comments below (anonymous questions welcome), or email buildingHisbody [plus] @ gmail.com.

© 2011 Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The End


Even if—by some ironic stroke of God's humor—the rapture did occur day after tomorrow, the end doesn't follow the rapture by five months. We've got an entire millennium of Jesus' peaceful reign as King on planet Earth before the end.

But you can plan on disaster. Whether it's the increasing frequency and intensity of earthquakes the Bible prophesies, the solar flare super storm scientists forecast for May 2013, or the meltdown of a key relationship in your life, Jesus told us to expect tribulation.

He also told us to have peace in the face of it (John 16:33).


A good man ... will guide his affairs with discretion.
Surely he will never be shaken;
The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.
He will not be afraid of evil tidings;
His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
~ Psalms 112:5-7 (NKJV)


It is not possible to carry enough insurance or make enough preparations to ward of the end of life as you know it.

It is also not possible to exhaust the Lord's ability to provide for all your need—body, mind, heart, and soul—in any disaster.

All that is necessary is to establish our love for Him and remember to call upon Him.


"Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him."
~ Psalms 91:14-15 (NKJV)


Your comments, questions, and respectful disagreement are most appreciated. Reply to BuildingHisBody.com comments, or e-mail buildingHisbody [plus] @gmail.com
Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Road to Entitlement

Image source: sanitationupdates


"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."
~ Declaration of Independence of the United States of America


If there is a line to be drawn between justly affirming unalienable rights and selfishly demanding perceived rights, it might be summed up in the phrase entitlement mentality.

Entitlement mentality goes beyond, "I have a right to a comfortable wage, full coverage health care, and paid time off." It might also say:

I am entitled to live free of suffering / inconvenience / annoyance.

I am entitled to the honor of my children / love of my husband / respect of my wife.

I have accepted Jesus and am entitled to God's mercy.

I have obeyed God and have a right to His blessing.

I am entitled to what I want at another's expense.


Saints are not immune to the entitlement mentality which tends to assert itself as sin.

David—the man after God's own heart—saw himself as entitled to both intimacy with another man's wife and a reputation free of adultery. Moses—more humble "than all men"—resisted God's calling more than once, and argued that he shouldn't be burdened with responsibility for the Israelites. Job—"blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil"—nonetheless insisted that God owed him an explanation for his suffering.

These men and others of the Bible had happy endings once they shed their entitlement mentality. Jonah's story ends less happily because he clung to it. What bitter irony that in asserting what more we should have, we're never satisfied with what we've got.


"Amazing grace
(how sweet the sound!)
that saved a wretch like me ..."
~ John Newton


Is there a happier place than to be repulsed by one's sin, comprehend the condemnation sin has earned, and then receive the gift of God Himself and eternal life?

How do we detour from this path of joy and find ourselves on the broad road which both takes salvation for granted and believes we are entitled to something more?


Now godliness with contentment is great gain... And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
~ 1 Timothy 6:6-8 (NKJV)


Powerful testimonies come from Christians who experience extreme suffering, who lack even adequate food and clothing, or who endure horrific persecution—and maintain the joy of their salvation.

Does being utterly destitute of everything except God make Him enough?


Restore to me the joy of Your salvation ...
~ Psalms 51:12 (NKJV)


If compelled to explain why I am entitled to anything more than the lowest caste Indian, who lives in a squatters' village built on a garbage dump, would asserting my U.S. nativity suffice?

If I wish to be restored to the joy of my salvation, perhaps the place to start is by exiting the road to entitlement and getting back on the path of believing I am a wretch who deserves nothing. Walking that road keeps me happily grateful for Him who is my All in All.


"I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant."
~ Genesis 32:10 (NKJV)


: : :

This post is part of a blog carnival hosted by Peter Pollock. You're invited to visit his site and see what others are saying about today's theme: ROAD.

Your comments, questions, and respectful disagreement are most appreciated. Reply to BuildingHisBody.com comments, or e-mail buildingHisbody [plus] @gmail.com
Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Day



It has been a day.

I went to bed last night around 11:30 to the lullaby of thunder and torrential rain. A couple of weeks ago, after an exceptionally heavy rain, our basement had water seep through the walls and floor for the first time. I dozed off wondering if it could happen again. About midnight I was awakened by a deafening crack of thunder.

I love the voice of God in thunder.

This thunder felt personal, as if God awakened me for a specific reason. So I drug myself down to the basement. Sure enough, water was seeping in again.

Let opening notes of furniture moving commence and the tune of mopping begin. Add the accompaniment of mental ranting about how much stuff is in my way that we do NOT need. Insert some interludes of near meltdown about what it might cost to fix the problem and how much work lies ahead to deal with all our *@%$# JUNK. Sometime after 3am, bring to mind the Mississippi River floods and shift to a key of waxing philosophical which reaches resolution.

Okay, Lord. It's Your house, Your basement, Your stuff, Your rain. My schedule belongs to You. You can do with it all as You please.

The rain diminished and I went to sleep around 3:30, thinking on the verses we'd read just before bedtime:


Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits ...
The LORD is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy...
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
~ Psalms 103:2,8,10 (NKJV)


At 6am I did a little more mopping before heading out to a 7:30 job fair for my oldest daughter which required my attendance. I grabbed a cat nap at noon before taking daughter #2 to an audition. Once back home, I decided the day was cold enough for a fire, to help dry out the aforementioned basement.

I've kindled about a gazillion fires in the upstairs stove, but could not get a good draft going in our basement stove. When the smoke got thick enough to sting my eyes and elicit complaints from upstairs, I shut the whole thing down and began venting the basement with a fan that was no way going to counter the stiff breeze blowing in.

I opened all the windows in the house to cooperate with the wind. About the time everyone's teeth were chattering, my thoughts had turned to all the rain ahead this summer and the demands on my desk vying for attention. That's when God interrupted imminent meltdown with a phone call from my sister.

I'd say "God bless Him" for that, but ... how would that work?


Man goes out to his work
And to his labor until the evening...
The earth is full of Your possessions ...
You open Your hand, they are filled with good.
You hide Your face, they are troubled ...
You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the earth.
~ Psalms 104:23-24,28-30 (NKJV)


That was tonight's passage, read just before bedtime prayers. Then the child who always begins with "thank You for a good day today" instead said "thank You for a day today."

I couldn't help laughing out loud. She responded, "After all, the world didn't end." Which is when another of my darlings replied, "Well that would have actually been better."

More laughter before we finish prayers and I tuck in each darling with a kiss and a song.

Though I'm ready to drop, I simply couldn't end the day before I shared this testimony, and one last verse from those precious Psalms.


Blessed be the Lord,
Who daily loads us with benefits,
The God of our salvation!
Selah
~ Psalms 68:19 (NKJV)


And now I'm off to sleep, as I listen to the gentle sound of rain.

Your comments, questions, and respectful disagreement are most appreciated. Reply to BuildingHisBody.com comments, or e-mail buildingHisbody [plus] @gmail.com
Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Question of the Week:
What Purpose Earth?

Artwork: "Stairway to Heaven" by Jonathan Allen Cummings


Once we are saved from Hell and know about the joy waiting in Heaven, why would we want to remain on Earth?
~ follow up to last two posts on how a Christian never dies and what happens to us after death (April 29 and May 6)


To those with relatively trouble-free lives here on Earth, the above question may sound ridiculous—the knowledge that Heaven awaits is no reason to hasten our departure. Young people seem particularly un-impatient for the rapture, hoping to first experience this life's promise.

But those who have seen trouble aplenty are more likely to struggle with a reason to engage in this world's life rather than endure it. The Bible has numerous examples of suffering saints who questioned a reason to live.

The answer comes by asking a more difficult question, of whether we are self-centered or God-centered in defining our purpose. It's not a question of whether or not we love God, but if we love Him enough to live for Him rather than for ourselves—both now and in the next life.

The remainder of my answer appears at Bullets & Butterflies.

: : :

Beginning next week: What is the Kingdom of God, how do I get there, and how do I know it when I see it?

What questions do you have about Christianity or the Bible? You're invited to leave them in the comments below (anonymous questions welcome), or email buildingHisbody [plus] @ gmail.com.

© 2011 Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Across the Threshold


Artwork, "Into the Most Holy Place" by Rebecca Brogan


The humble heart might be content to be a doorkeeper who waits upon the threshold of God's house (Tuesday's post). And yet such humble hearts—who recognize their desperate need for our Lord and call upon Him—are invited across the threshold.

Therefore, brothers, having boldness to enter into the Holy of Holies by the blood of Jesus ... let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies having been washed with pure water.
~ Hebrews 10:19-22 (MKJV)


Two thousand years ago, Gentiles had limited temple access, permitted in only the outermost court. A ritually clean Jewish woman could enter the next court, and her husband the innermost court. Priests alone entered the temple itself.

For those of us redeemed with the blood of Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords carries us across the threshold, passing beyond His courts and through His sanctuary. He has ripped down the veil that once set Him apart from His people and receives us in His inner chamber, the Most Holy Place.

Why then, when our access to the very presence of God was purchased at such high price, do we either hesitate to do so or find other places of greater interest?

What might prevent you from drawing near?

Lord, I confess that I allow myself to become too busy and too distracted. Please forgive me. Please put in us all a heart of repentance for all that offends You, and impress us the great honor of being drawn close to You, in Your most holy and intimate place.

Your comments, questions, and respectful disagreement are most appreciated. Reply to BuildingHisBody.com comments, or e-mail buildingHisbody [plus] @gmail.com
Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Waiting at the Threshold


Image source: timothyrmason.org


My soul longs, yea, even faints
For the courts of the LORD;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God...
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather wait at the threshold in the house of my God
Than be at rest in the abodes of iniquity.
~ Psalms 84:2,10


Most translations of Psalm 84:10 read "I would rather be a doorkeeper" instead of "wait at the threshold." The Hebrew s√Ęphaph has a literal meaning of standing or waiting at a threshold—a rather low and inconspicuous position, removed from anything of significance or interest.

The Christian life might occasionally seem like waiting long, our good deeds mired in obscurity, while we miss out on the rest that might be had if we didn't continually stand against a tide of popular opinion.

Who signs up for a position of simply waiting, unable to take pleasure in either eminence or leisure?

Those who are content to merely be in proximity to the King, considering themselves worthy of nothing more.

Precious Lord, we fail to do even as we are commanded. Anything we have done is no more than our duty. Fill us with gratitude for the favor You show unprofitable servants who yearn, yea, even faint for Your presnce.

Your comments, questions, and respectful disagreement are most appreciated. Reply to BuildingHisBody.com comments, or e-mail buildingHisbody [plus] @gmail.com
Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

How Many?

The oldest among nine children, I planned to have none of my own after more or less raising my siblings, but had five anyway. My surviving brain cells have these random thoughts on children, and still recall a few words from others. (This repeat post is my gift to mothers for their day tomorrow.)


My husband said he wanted two kids, I said three, and God gave both of us our way by sending five.

The day came when I didn't care so much whether I had one child or ten, I just didn't want to miss knowing the ones God had planned for us.

Owning an 11-passenger van wonderfully allows us to come home from church with extra kids to enjoy for a day. You haven't lived until you've danced the car down the road singing the Veggie Tales "Belly Button Song" in three-part harmony.

Once you figure out that most of the bad things kids do are an expression of something they see in their parents, it really motivates you to be a better person.

About the time you think you're completely failing as a parent, your kids will do something exceptionally good that they learned from you so you don't lose heart.

Whatever the hour, I don't mind being awakened by a child who needs to crawl into bed to be comforted after a bad dream or snuggle for no reason other than being awake. It's important that they understand from me that God is always available.

I'm not Amish but I subscribe to their philosophy: Until age six children require more than they return; between six and twelve you break even; after age twelve they should contribute more to the family than what they take.

My husband looks forward to collecting retirement pay (at least until foreign T-bill holders foreclose on the U.S. economy). My retirement plan is our kids and I see it as far more secure.

I don't mind having a "cozy" house and a thin bank account as long as what we do have is being invested in our kids and their future.

Children give a person reason to persevere. When life looks bleak, we'll do for them what we might not otherwise have courage to do for ourselves.

My husband John says kids are smarter than you give them credit for—and it often works against you.

My sister Mary says that once there's three kids in the house, you don't really notice having more visit until you reach about a dozen.

My friend Carrie has thirteen children. When she got tired of people asking "Haven't you figured out what causes that?" she started answering, "Yeah, and we like it."

The Bible counts children among the Lord's greatest blessings. The patriarch Abraham had riches but saw them as pointless without an heir. Hannah had the kind of love from a man coveted by women everywhere, but was unfulfilled without a child.

To be without money is less sad than to be without children somewhere in your life. For those saddened that the Lord has not blessed you with children, I pray that He will open your eyes to the plan of blessing He does have for you, and that He fulfills you most richly in that perspective.

Your comments, questions, and respectful disagreement are most appreciated. Reply to BuildingHisBody.com comments, or e-mail buildingHisbody [plus] @gmail.com
Copyright 2010, 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Image by Hicks Portraits

Friday, May 6, 2011

Question of the Week:
Where Do We Go After Death?

Photo credit: Oscar Burriel


How can we have eternal life and die? (I know some believe that when they die they go into the ground until Christ's return.)
~ Anonymous


This is an excerpt from the answer posted at Bullets & Butterflies.

Innumerable people have reported credible experiences of dying and leaving their bodies, briefly glimpsing the spiritual world, and then being revived. Among the common elements many people describe is visiting a place of inexplicable beauty and profound peace, where they meet angels and / or loved ones who have already died.

A few people report a place not of beauty and loved ones, but of great torment. Jesus likewise describes such a place when He tells of Lazarus and the rich man. (Unlike other stories Jesus told, this account in Luke 16:19-31 is not called a parable, and appears to be an actual event.)

For the condemned soul, the Bible mentions the following places of torment in spiritual realms ...

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What questions do you have about Christianity or the Bible? You're invited to leave them in the comments below (anonymous questions welcome), or email buildingHisbody [plus] @ gmail.com.

Next week: Pursue this world or the next?

© 2011 Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Remember Me, Act III

Reminder: Today is the National Day of Prayer

Image source: mattstone.blogs


I will remember the works of YAH ...
You are the mighty God who does wonders ...
You have with Your arm redeemed Your people ...
Your way was in the sea,
Your path in the great waters,
And Your footsteps were not known.
~ from Psalm 77:10-20


The name Yah makes its biblical debut just after the Red Sea crossing. The Israelites sang Scripture's first recorded song to celebrate deliverance from bondage and imminent annihilation. In successive times of trial, God often asked His people "Remember Me" by bringing them back to this event and name.

Our deliverance from bondage of sin took place at Calvary. When we struggle against sin's chains or face spiritual attack, God says "remember Me" and brings us back to the cross, where He accomplished victory over death. We are reminded that no lesser enemy poses true threat.

But we often pray with at least a general (if not specific) expectation of how we want God to answer.

Who might have expected the Red Sea to part for Israelites and fall upon Egyptians? Who could have seen sin as greater enemy than Roman domination, or anticipated death to be defeated through crucifixion?

God's footsteps are unknown to us. He always brings His people deliverance, albeit in unexpected ways and timing. If we are to have answers to our prayers, we must expect the unexpected. Even when an enemy breathes down our neck—enemies of physical, emotional or worldly pressures—we have every reason to put trust in the itinerary of Yah.

While waiting, we have every reason to say "Halle-lu Yah!"


He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
~ Romans 8:32 (NKJV)


* [Halle means praise, and implies boasting: "Praise ye the LORD!" "Make your boast in YAH!"]

Comments, questions, and respectful disagreement are welcome. Reply to BuildingHisBody.com comments, or e-mail buildingHisbody [plus] @gmail.com
Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Remember Me, Act II

Reminder: This Thursday, May 5 is National Day of Prayer

Image source: loveliveandlaugh.com


I am so troubled that I cannot speak...
I call to remembrance my song in the night;
I meditate within my heart,
And my spirit makes diligent search.
Will Adonai ... be favorable no more? ...
Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies?
~ from Psalm 77:4-9


When the soul is so overwhelmed that words falter, or one cannot find strength to speak, the Christian has an omnipotent Intercessor fluent in a language of groanings not unlike song, which transcends thought and feeling, time and distance, man and God.

Jesus calls His Spirit "Paraclete." The name is translated Helper, Comforter, or Advocate. Because the Greek paraklētos denotes a personal proponent similar to an attorney, I like "Counselor." The Spirit understands ways of Heaven's court which are unknown to me, sees the best interest of both me and the court, and works toward perfect reconciliation of the two.

If it seems that the prayers of our lips and soul have not obtained God's intervention, we have the option to fall silent before our Lord, and cease from expressing our will to Him.

Once we call to remembrance for the Spirit's comforting song language within our hearts, and make "diligent search" for His favor and "tender mercies," we are in a better place to ask what our Lord's will might be.


Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
~ Romans 8:26 (NKJV)


Tomorrow from Psalm 77, Remember Me, Act III:
What answer might be expected to the Spirit's prayer?


Comments, questions, and respectful disagreement are welcome. Reply to BuildingHisBody.com comments, or e-mail buildingHisbody [plus] @gmail.com
Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Remember Me, Act I

Reminder: This Thursday, May 5 is National Day of Prayer

Photo credit for Dubai Tennis Court: David Cannon


I cried out to Elohim with my voice ...
And He gave ear to me.
In the day of my trouble I sought Adonai ...
My soul refused to be comforted.
I remembered Elohim, and was troubled;
I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed.
~ from Psalm 77:1-3


The Psalmist appears to be doing everything right. He cries out, with faith that God hears. In time of trouble he turns to the Lord. He remembers the Creator Who shapes both people and circumstances.

Yet his soul is not comforted in the Lord. In remembrance of the One Who breathes life into man, his spirit finds trouble rather than revival. In his prayer, the psalmist finds not release from complaint, but that he is overwhelmed.

Does prayer sometimes feel this way, even when it is earnest and faith-filled, even when we remember to turn upward rather than inward for relief?

Whether we turn to God infrequently—in time of trouble or need—or we practice prayer often, perhaps we come to think of prayer the way we might think of a game, with well-defined rules of engagement and scoring. Whether consciously or unintentionally, we may think we need only put the ball in God's court and anticipate His reaction.

Tomorrow from Psalm 77: Remember Me, Act II –
What elusive element is needed when prayer seems to fail?


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This post is linked to a blog carnival hosted by Peter Pollock. You're invited to visit his site and see what others are saying about today's theme: GAMES.


Comments, questions, and respectful disagreement are welcome. Reply to BuildingHisBody.com comments, or e-mail buildingHisbody [plus] @gmail.com
Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Burden

"Jeremiah" by Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel

There are instances when I read God's Word and am overcome, to the point that I simply shut my Bible.

One occasion is infrequent, found in reading Song of Solomon. If I happen upon the book's eight short chapters, I typically take in both the one-time romance and allegory of eternal romance with a few sighs and smile. Then every now and again, the love words of our Beloved Bridegroom become too much while He is away with His Father:


O my love, you are as beautiful as Tirzah,
Lovely as Jerusalem ...
Turn your eyes away from me,
For they have overcome me.
~ Song of Solomon 6:4-5 (NKJV)


The other occasion is encountered frequently, and that is reading the prophets (Job thru Malachi and Revelation). These books carry oracles which their authors often described with the word maśśâ'. The Hebrew word is used by the prophets 38 times, carrying the connotation of "heavy." In the NKJV it is translated as "oracle" or "utterance" ten times, and once as "desire." But the other 27 occurrences receive the more literal translation: "burden."

The burden which the prophet Habakkuk saw.
~ Habakkuk 1:1 (NKJV)


I don't need to see the word "burden" to feel in their words the great heaviness borne by these men of God in His revelations to them. The same Spirit which spoke to them whispers to me. He lives in me. And I feel that His great heaviness, which He once shared with the ancients, has yet to leave Him.

How can I not make it my own?


For when I spoke, I cried out;
I shouted, "Violence and plunder!"
Because the word of the LORD was made to me
A reproach and a derision daily.
Then I said, "I will not make mention of Him,
Nor speak anymore in His name."
But His word was in my heart like a burning fire
Shut up in my bones;
I was weary of holding it back,
And I could not.
~ Jeremiah 20:8-9 (NKJV)


Jeremiah was certainly not the only "weeping prophet." What did Isaiah and David feel when they prophesied of Jesus' sufferings? What did any of the prophets feel when they saw the destruction their loved ones would suffer, and told them of the comfort they might have in repentance, all to no avail?

If my Bible is sometimes shut upon the prophets, it is not because I cannot bear another word about the suffering of people.

It is because I am overwhelmed with the burden of my Lord's suffering.

Comments, questions, and respectful disagreement are welcome. Reply to BuildingHisBody.com comments, or e-mail buildingHisbody [plus] @gmail.com
Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.