Blog Archive

Sunday, November 30, 2008

You Shall Not Covet

Jesus answered ... "You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.' " (Mark 10:18-19 NIV)

"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of captivity.
You shall have no other gods before me.
You shall not make for yourself an idol or worship them ...
You shall not misuse the name of your God ...
Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it sacred ... on it you shall not work
... nor those who serve you, so that they may rest, as you do...
Honor your father and your mother ... that it may go well with you ...
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not deceive others.
You shall not desire your neighbor's spouse ...
and you shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor."
(Deuteronomy 5:6-21, author's paraphrase)

I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known lust [is sin] unless the law had said, "You shall not covet." (Romans 7:7 EMTV amplified)

Mark quotes Jesus using a rather strong word to forbid coveting. Translated "defraud," the Greek apostereo means "to deprive by fraud." The Old Testament commandment "you shall not covet" actually used two different Hebrew words, forbidding us to chamad ("delight in") another's spouse, or to avah ("wish for") any thing else another owns.

Dishonor, murder, adultery, stealing and lying indeed deprive another's right to respect, life, marital privilege, ownership, or the truth. Sin begins in my heart by coveting. And my wrong desire first steals from me. It will not go well with me. I suffer hatred. My spouse loses my affection. I fail to enjoy what God has given me. I yield to the "father of lies."

The world says, "Feelings aren't right or wrong, they just are." The Bible soundly rejects that notion. We are told that "though we walk in the flesh ... [we wage war with spiritual weapons] ... bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

This is not impossible. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)

Lord of Eminence, who looks at the heart, how gracious You were to look beyond our wicked thoughts and see our potential for love. Thank You for deliverance. Thank You for creating us anew. Please help us rely on You, and walk away from the sin that no longer holds us captive.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Prayer and Fasting

And when [Jesus] had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, "Why could we not cast [the demon] out?" So He said to them, "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting." (Mark 9:28-29 NKJV)

"You fast ... this day, To make your voice heard on high.
Is it a fast that I have chosen,
A day for a man to afflict his soul?
Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush,
And to spread out sackcloth and ashes?
Would you call this a fast,
And an acceptable day to the LORD?
Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?"
(Isaiah 58:4-6 NKJV)

I wept and chastened my soul with fasting.
(Psalms 69:10 NKJV)

The discipline of prayer and fasting is a tragic anomaly in American Christianity. Even when we attempt it, I suspect few of us are able to fully shed our obligations and dedicate ourselves to the kind of fasting the Bible describes—weeping, afflicting ourselves, immersed in prayer. Fasting done well apparently builds fellowship with God and imparts sensitivity to what grieves Him.

I confess that I rarely manage more than what amounts to a 24-hour hunger strike. The flesh may be slightly subdued for a time (a good thing), but the spirit experiences little of the humbling, brokenness, and sorrow that build spiritual muscle and bend the Lord's ear.

The Bible never addresses prayer and fasting as an "if you fast" matter, but always takes it for granted as a "when you fast ..." matter. It is evident that Jesus was quite familiar with fasting. If we are His disciples, we'd do well to imitate Him, despite full schedules and busy lives.

King of the Universe and Eternity, how is it that You call us "friends"? Is it barely possible that You long for the same fellowship, affection and love that we do? Do You indeed seek out hearts with whom You might share Your deepest feelings? Please teach us how to be faithful friends.

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Follow Me

When [Jesus] had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it." (Mark 8:34-35 NKJV)

"And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it ... So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:27-28,33 NKJV)

My soul follows close behind You.
(Psalms 63:8 NKJV)

Jesus has called fishermen, a tax collector, and every other disciple with the same words: "Follow Me." The imperative voice is not obligatory. Jesus uses no force or threat to compel compliance. He leaves the decision with the hearer, and He moves on with His work.

"Follow Me" and deny your Self—your dreams, your personality, your will. "Follow Me" and forsake all—count nothing your own, everything His, to do with it as He wishes. "Follow Me" and take up your cross—drink of the covenant cup, agonize at Gethsemane, receive affliction, and lay down your life. Daily. Live no longer for Self but for Him who bought you with His blood.

Count the cost. Make no mistake, but know that when Jesus says, "Follow Me," He calls you to walk with Him through the shadow of death, that you too may be resurrected.

The cost is high. The reward is far greater, both now and in eternity.

Lord Jesus, I love You. Some days I let go of Your hand for a bit and stumble. Please don't let me wander before You come after me. Help me to let go of things I once released and picked back up. Your life is worth so much more to me than my own. I don't want to go somewhere if I know that You're not there.

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Friday Freelance: FAVOR

I am truly grateful to God for miraculously abundant material blessings. But even more, I am thankful for God's favor this year amid difficulties.

I made a professional connection hoping to gain a business relationship. The business relationship has yet to materialize, but I've gained a supportive friendship money can't buy.

Praise is too important to express only privately, and our family sought a church where the Lord is praised corporately. He led us to a church with a full orchestra, choir, and an exuberant music director, and I found contentment. The surprise God had waiting was a dance team and drama team I didn't know about, where I can "Praise the Lord!" with my own full exuberance.

I immersed myself in the Scriptures to understand how a critical spirit among Christians breeds spiritual barrenness. I discovered that God is the author of human romance, and thereby makes manifest His romance with us, that we might be "fruitful and multiply" spiritually.

In that discovery lay a novel I'd have never thought to write. I set out on a path I thought might lead to publication, to reach many with a single message of love's power. It instead led to writing a daily blog filled with many messages of God's love and power.

I forfeited a position coordinating National Day of Prayer with community leaders to take up a role ministering to women in jail. Yesterday, the faces covered with tears after a Thanksgiving service there filled my soul more than a turkey dinner would have filled my belly.

In every situation, I fully released to the Lord of my life how to fulfill my desires. He gave me far more than I might have thought to ask.

"I am not worthy of th eleast of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant." ~

This week many of us bloggers have devoted a special post in which we are sharing our personal testimonies of the Lord's work in our lives and/or that of our families. Our collective prayer is that this sharing of our testimonies will not only encourage each other and give glory to our Lord, but also show the love of Christ to those who happen upon our blogs. To enjoy many more testimonies like the one you've just read please visit us at Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Time to Speak

[Jesus] said to [the multitude], "Hear Me, everyone, and understand: There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man... For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.
(Mark 7:14-15,21-22 NKJV)

"Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known." (Luke 12:1-2 NKJV)

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven...
A time to tear, And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
A time to love, And a time to hate;
A time of war, And a time of peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1,7-8 NKJV)

A few thoughts on speaking and silence.

How many times do our words reveal far more of our hearts that we might have liked exposed? Though wisdom preaches, "Let your words be few," simply holding one's tongue doesn't clean out the bad stuff in the heart.

The art of silence has begun to grow on me, albeit ever so slowly. Among the benefits are the volumes gained by listening, and knowing more clearly when a time to speak is at hand. And when a time to speak arrives, perhaps a voice is better heard if it has not become a drone.

Today is a time to speak sincere words of thanks from a grateful heart. A discontent heart will not be hidden, especially if words of thanks are countered with words of complaining and covetousness.

Almighty God, You are the Creator of our tongues and our hearts. Please forgive us for all the times they shame You rather than bring You glory. Thank you for the multitude of blessings You shower upon us. Please make our hearts pure, that out of their abundance Your words might be spoken.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Before Daylight

And [Jesus] said to [His disciples], "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)

Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, [Jesus] went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. (Mark 1:35 NKJV)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.
(Psalms 23:1-3 NKJV)

We workaholics are a tenacious lot. A precious brother in the Lord once suffered a nervous breakdown, but wouldn't quit. When I gently asked why, he asserted, "Because I was taught that it's better to burn out for the Lord than to rust out for the Lord."

Neither is the Lord's will. To destroy life or body of another or myself violates the command, "You shall not murder." I confess it is possible I stand condemned by my words where my body is concerned. But by God's grace and daily renewal, my soul is filled with life ready to be poured out to others.

The dark quiet of early morning before daylight is the best place to meet the Lord, receiving from Him the supply of grace and mercy, faith and love that I wish to flow from me in strength. It is a place of being led in righteousness, of still waters, and of restored soul.

Good Shepherd, You know our every need. You give us only what is good, and lead only where You intend to bless. Make our hearts tender toward Yourself. Awaken us with eager hearts while it is yet early enough to hear You, before the day's noise competes for our attention.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

To Die is Gain

And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you." (Mark 5:18-19 NKJV)

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. (Philippians 1:21-24 NKJV)

Precious in the sight of the LORD
Is the death of His saints.
(Psalms 116:15 NKJV)

The man healed of his demons desired to remain with Jesus, who had set him free. Paul likewise earnestly desired to depart and be with Christ. Both remained behind as messengers of the Gospel, willingly, for Paul said to live is Christ. He counted his existence as no more and no less than the manifestation of the Lord Jesus.

This man beaten, imprisoned, stoned, shipwrecked, who labored "in weariness and toil," with sleeplessness, hunger and thirst, had good reason to desire death. He knew to die is gain—the receiving of his reward, and the commendation, "well done, good and faithful servant." Yet his great love for others commissioned him to a life of suffering which he did not resist.

In heaven, we will know the glorious presence of Christ. On earth, we have the privilege to be the presence of Christ. It is a worthy reason to wait patiently for the day we look upon Him.

Lord Jesus, how heaven can beckon when You draw us close! One of these days, surrounded by Your glory, when we finally see the hands which took our nails, and touch the face of You who made us, what will our hearts feel? Give us strong hearts, to make Your presence known until that day.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Monday, November 24, 2008

Seed of God

And [Jesus] said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how."
(Mark 4:26-27 NKJV)

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 NKJV)

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
(Isaiah 55:11 NKJV)

Whether the seed of a tomato or the seed of a man, the unassuming appearance of a seed belies the incomprehensible volume of information wrapped in its DNA. The humble seed holds the very miracle of life. It need only be planted in the right place to sprout and grow, seemingly unassisted, with uncanny precision, marvelously mysterious.

The seed of Jesus' parable is the Word of God. Like any seed, the Word's ability to produce new life defies explanation. Scientists' microscopic images of cell-reproduction make that process more understandable. Likewise, Bible expositors may trace the growth of spiritual life, but life itself is held in the Word.

Bibles are so familiar that even we who count them dear fail to behold them with awe each time we open them. Yet the unassuming seed of God's word carries potential reaching into eternity.

My Lord, how I love Your Word! It is more nourishing than bread, sweeter than honey, more precious than gold. It is Wisdom personified. It is the Water to wash me clean. It is the sharp Sword to defeat enemies of my soul. It is kisses from the Lover of my soul. Thank You for Your wonder-filled Word.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Sunday, November 23, 2008

God's Will

Jesus replied, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" Then he looked at those around him and said, "These are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother." (Mark 3:33-35 NLT)

And do not follow the customs of the present age, but be transformed by the entire renewal of your minds, so that you may learn by experience what God's will is—that will which is good and beautiful and perfect. (Romans 12:2 WNT)

Trust in the LORD, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness [truth].
Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
(Psalms 37:3-5 NKJV, amplified)

The Bible draws a distinction between God's children and the world's children, between brother or sister and neighbor. Jesus identifies His family members as those who do God's will.

What God will do is a mystery, but God's will need not be a mystery. If we truly wish to know God's will, He reveals it to those who seek it. Shaking off our own will is the hardest step. Prayer is not the way to obtain our will, but the act of giving God our will in exchange for His.

The Lord plainly explains how to obtain the heart's desires. Trust that God's will is good and beautiful and perfect. Do the good He directs. Dwell in His kingdom rather than follow the ways of this world. Feed on the truth of the Bible. Then make Him your delight, so that His deepest desire for you becomes your own. It is the key to the King's heart and treasure.

Oh Lord, how great is Your goodness, laid up for those who trust in You! Whom have we in heaven but You? To whom shall we go for words of eternal life but You? Earth's greatest delight is to do Your will. Please lead us purposefully to Yourself, and be the deepest desire of our hearts.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Being Grieved

So [the Pharisees] watched [Jesus] closely, whether He would heal ... on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him... Then He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they kept silent... [He] looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts. (Mark 3:1-6 NKJV)

He raises the poor out of the dust,
And lifts the needy out of the ash heap,
That He may seat him with princes.
(Psalms 113:7-8 NKJV)

These six things the LORD hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look, A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.
(Proverbs 6:16-19 NKJV)

You couldn't pay me to be a parent. The hours stink. Expenses know no limits. The job taxes sanity, wisdom and patience beyond any reasonable level. It can only be done for love. And love means the agony of seeing children you'd give your life for treat one another spitefully.

"Why does she get to" and "it's not fair that" and "he's touching / breathing on / staring at me" eat up joy and peace. I have seven siblings I love beyond life itself and I can't imagine tearing down their lives like this. Yet it must be in my blood for it's in the blood of my brood.

The Father is being grieved to see His own children—united in Christ's blood!— display pride, truth-twisting, failure to help the hurting, manipulation, power struggles, gossip, discord. We tear down the lives of one another and may not even recognize our selfish, petty agendas.

If we would build up ourselves, we must build up His body, and not tear down those in it.

Lord, You are not just my Father but our Father. You taught us to pray with one another in mind, yet we are more selfish than we're able to see. Please give each of us a glimpse this day if You are being grieved by the way we affect Your body, and empower us to change.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Freelance: FED AND FAMISHED

"Ours was the first country to establish a holiday for giving thanks." So says Linus to Charlie Brown.

Not so, Linus.

Over three thousand years ago, God established three holidays for thanksgiving. Israelite men traveled to the house of God for three feasts: Unleavened Bread, Harvest, and Ingathering. These coincided, respectively, with the spring barley harvest, the summer wheat harvest, and the autumn harvest.

Between October and April, two periods of rain fell, followed by the long dry summer of only heavy dews. Insufficient "former" and "latter" rains meant insufficient spring, summer or autumn harvest.

To put this in perspective, what if payday came three times a year? What if each time we collected a check, we then traveled several days to a somewhat central place—say, Chicago—and had a big celebration to give thanks? What if there was no paycheck between October and April, and next year's paychecks were contingent upon staying in touch year-round with the head of payroll?

In ancient Israel, the three feasts were special occasions to give thanks to the sustenance Provider, and a reminder to depend upon Him.

In modern America, Thanksgiving is the aisle with turkey-decorated platters and potholders between large Halloween and Christmas sections. Thanksgiving is the binge before either The Game or a long weekend of 5AM til midnight SALES. Thanksgiving is the mark after which we stop complaining about how early Christmas carols and decorations are out.

We may suffer malnutrition from too many boxed meals, but few among even our poor suffer starvation. Amid recession, we are well fed. We are completely unfamiliar with a concept owned by people of other times and other nations, but certainly not Americans: Famine.

Ironically, what leads to famine is being so well fed that we forget to be famished for God.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. (Psalms 42:1 NIV)

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Be Cleansed

Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, "If You are willing, You can make me clean." Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed." (Mark 1:40-41 NKJV)

Peter said to Him, "You shall never wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!" Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean." (John 13:8-10 NKJV)

Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart,
O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
(Psalms 51:9-12 NKJV)

The cleansing we receive when we first turn ourselves over to Christ is the most pivotal moment in our lives. The depth of that commitment defines all we have been and all we will be. As one songwriter says, "When you believe He's all you need, that will be your defining moment."

If only we never stumbled after that wondrous moment, and never again walked in the mire of sin, needing our feet washed. But if the life of faith was only about reaching heaven, God could arrange for us to arrive there as soon as we believe in Him. The Christian life is faithfully walking the course He sets before us. When our feet slip, we need only ask Him to be cleansed.

If our relationship with the Lord becomes stale, we need to truly enter His presence. There, we may ask Him for a clean heart and the renewal of a steadfast spirit—and rediscover the joy of His salvation.

Lord Jesus, we ought to know when we've walked in the mire but don't always notice. Please show us ourselves as You see us—loved and uncondemned, and needing our feet washed like little children unaware of their dirty faces. Please draw us to You and all You wish to do in us.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Hard Thing

Now John was clothed with camel's hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, "There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized [immersed] you with water, but He will baptize [immerse] you with the Holy Spirit." (Mark 1:6-8 NKJV, amplified)

And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?" Elisha said, "Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me." So he said, "You have asked a hard thing." (2 Kings 2:9-10 NKJV)

"For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required ... I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! ... Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division." (Luke 12:48-49,51 NKJV)

The Christian life is a big, wonderful praise party—in heaven. In this world, we have praise parties punctuated by tribulation, trials, trouble, temptation. In Jesus, we also have peace, and the promise that we will not be tried beyond our ability.

Of course, with increased ability we can also expect increased tribulation, trials, trouble, temptation. An anointing of the Spirit brings the fire's touch; an immersion with the Spirit brings us to the furnace of refinement for purity. Yet however searing the heat, we can be confident that in Christ, it is never beyond our ability to stand.

The Holy Spirit is the seal of eternal life—and a hard thing. The more we yield to the Spirit, the more fully He fills us, and the more He asks of us. And the more He fills us yet again. The valleys wouldn't be so deep if the mountain tops weren't so high.

Lord Jesus, thank You for not leaving us orphans. Thank You for promising to never forsake us—as You were forsaken for our sin. Thank You for promising that we can do all things through You and Your strength. Enable us to yield to and receive Your Spirit ever more fully.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Cup

We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks!
For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near...
But God is the Judge: He puts down one,
And exalts another.
For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup,
And the wine is red; It is fully mixed, and He pours it out;
Surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth
Drain and drink down.
But I will declare forever,
I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
(Psalms 75:1,7-9 NKJV)

And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:41-44 NKJV)

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46 NKJV)

Learned scholars debate the nature of "forsaken" when Jesus declared it of Himself, arguing Trinity unity prohibits separation. Indeed, it could mean no full, final separation when the Son was by the Father forsaken.

Yet in marriage—God's picture of being united in heart, soul, mind and body—there are painful moments of separation. Not the finality of divorce, but agonizing rejection when one spouse embodies a concept the other finds abhorrent, and unity is impossible until a change occurs.

The wicked must not sip but drain a cup filled by sin with separation from God. It was not merely crucifixion's suffering, but the separation from which Jesus drew back when the Father presented that cup in Gethsemane. To embody our sin meant Jesus became abhorrent to the Father just long enough to accept our death penalty.

For whatever else we give thanks, let it often be that God is near, and we need not drink of the cup from which the very Son of God three times begged His Abba to be delivered.

Lord Jesus, thank You for drinking from the cup that belonged to us. Thank You for receiving the agony we will never know. Thank You for taking upon Yourself the sin so utterly abhorrent to both You and the Father. Please enable us to accept from Your hand whatever You offer us.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Who Knows How Long

We do not see our signs;
There is no longer any prophet;
Nor is there any among us who knows how long.
O God, how long will the adversary reproach? ...
Remember this, that the enemy has reproached, O LORD,
And that a foolish people has blasphemed Your name.
Oh, do not deliver the life of Your turtledove to the wild beast! ...
God is my King from of old,
Working salvation in the midst of the earth.
(Psalms 74:9-10,18-19,12 NKJV)

"And you will be hated by all for My name's sake... These are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled... Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near." (Luke 21:17,22,28 NKJV)

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty...
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler...
"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 91:1,4,14-15 NKJV)

Many Christians express anxiety about eroding freedom and morality. Indeed, the fabric of our nation's strength lies in the power of Judeo-Christian faith which gave rise to a document named The Constitution. Increasingly, the Constitution is a piece of paper to be flushed away with its stench of faith, or burned like a flag stained red with blood which bought liberty.

Is this the beginning of the end? God alone is He who knows how long til the end, and if the USA's demise means the collapse of all religious liberty which will mark ascent to power of the beast. But when the end does come, will it look much different from the current state of affairs?

Whether foreboding clouds on the horizon dispel or gather into a storm, they cannot overshadow those who dwell in the shadow of the Almighty, who set their love upon Him, who know and call upon His name—whom He is with "in trouble" and promises to answer, deliver and honor.

Oh God, my King from of old, no ruler of this world can stand against You. Your truth is our shield. Let our loving confidence be set upon You alone. Surely deliverance always comes by bloodshed. Please give us courage to not count our blood precious in the days of Your final deliverance.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Monday, November 17, 2008

Almost Stumbled

But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
My steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the boastful,
When I saw the prosperity of the wicked...
I went into the sanctuary of God;
Then I understood their end...
Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalms 73:2-3,17,25-26 NKJV)

Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."
(1 Corinthians 15:33 NKJV)

So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.
(Romans 14:12-13 NKJV)

In the movie The Razor's Edge, Bill Murray's character seeks out a mountain guru and is told, "It's easy to be a holy man on a mountain." Indeed, even the first man to sin asserted he did so because of the company God gave him.

We might more easily avoid certain sin if not for provocation by the boastful, proud and wicked. But in the end, when we each give an account to God, we can blame nothing on another. Each one answers for self. If provoked, we must immediately turn to God and seek the strength of His Spirit to respond.

He is also the Supreme Justice of the highest court in the universe. If injustice prevails here and now, we can rest in the assurance that the Judge of all the Earth is in control of the outcome, both in immediate future and in eternity, whether we or another has done wickedly.

Oh El Elyon—God Most High—what are we without You? You clothe us with Your righteousness so we may stand in Your presence. You grant both deliverance-salvation and freedom-salvation from sin. Please keep us from stumbling, and from provoking anyone else to stumble.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Poor and Needy

He will spare the poor and needy,
And will save the souls of the needy.
He will redeem their life from oppression.
(Psalms 72:13-14 NKJV)

And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things. (Mark 6:34 NKJV)

"Then the King will say, '... Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' " (Matthew 25:34,40 NKJV)

Jesus looked upon the poor and needy and responded to their hunger. He occasionally fed people with bread. More often, He fed them with words of life. The needs of the human soul exceed those of the human body.

We encounter most often not the poverty-stricken but the poor and needy—people we identify as social outcasts due to unattractive appearance or behavior. Accustomed to being invisible, they rarely make eye contact. If seen at all, it is not their faces but their exterior (whether nerdy or promiscuous, gang-banger or vulnerable) which is noticed.

The only handout many of them need is validation as a human being. It takes brief seconds of eye contact and a smile as they pass. A kind word. A pleasant demeanor in an unpleasant situation. It costs nothing, and gives much.

Lord Jesus, in Your goodness You have given to us more than we might have ever asked, and You love us without restraint. Please enable us to see the image of the Creator in the face of each person. Please speak to our hearts and show us how to extend Your love to anyone.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Creating a Word of Art

My mouth shall declare Your righteousness,
And Your deliverance salvation,
Though I know not how to recount them.
(Psalm 71:15 author)

The Spirit also helps us in our weakness; for we do not know what prayers to offer nor in what way to offer them. But the Spirit Himself pleads for us in yearnings [sighs] that can find no words.
(Romans 8:26 WNT, amplified)

And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. (John 21:25 NKJV)

The artist gazes upon something others have looked up so often that they no longer regard it. He or she feels something others do not perceive, and a yearning wells up in the soul to freshly depict the world, utilizing mediums of color, light, sculpture, film, music, spice, fabric.

The medium used by author or speaker is words, however simple, humorous, eloquent. A concept seizes the word artist, and we are driven to make it fresh and profound, and infuse it with new life. We understand that many who we touch will dismiss us with, "not interested," "whatever!"—or "uh-huh, knew that."

I cannot bear to regard my Creator, Light, Savior, Rock, Fire, Bread, Shepherd, Friend, Lord and King, and know that others perceive Him as irrelevant, hostile—or merely familiar. I paint Him with words, and wonder if anyone catches in them a glimpse of what I see and feel. The words are never exhausted, yet a point comes when they and I are inadequate to the Subject.

And I am left with an inexpressible, yearning sigh.

My God, I look upon You and bow in awe. My heart cannot contain You.
I beg You to permit me an audience with which to share You, however small or large, that I might raise the humble and bend the lofty’s knee, with whatever words stir souls to love You as You deserve.

"The love of God is greater far than pen or tongue can ever tell."
~ Frederick M. Lehman

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Freelance: SOWING AND REAPING

I’m going to conduct an experiment, and challenge my readers to do likewise.

Galatians 6:7-8 teaches that a man reaps what he sows. Though obviously being applied to spiritual matters, the principle is stated with as much certainty for life as for farming.

In my marriage, I’ve been sowing seeds of the love language I crave. And guess what I’ve begun to reap? So I’m wondering if this principle works when applied intentionally.

Confession: I’m motivated by the desire to receive blessing, and that could be seen as selfishness. I'm also motivated by desire to please God, but when pure motives fail me, the desire to receive blessing can kick in and push me to do as I should rather than as I’m inclined.

Since this is evidently human nature in all of us, God’s Word admonishes us to apply the principle of sowing and reaping, so that we can at least capitalize upon our "selfishness" to motivate us where goodness does not. (That’s how I read it anyway.)

So here’s the experiment. I’m going to select a blessing I’d like to receive. I’m going to start intentionally sowing seeds of that conduct in the lives of others. (I won’t identify what, so it isn’t obvious.) Then I’m going to watch and see if I reap the same blessing—realizing that some seeds take many years to produce fruit.

I’m going to concentrate on my behavior for six weeks, the length of time statistics show it takes to establish a habit. (Doesn’t the Bible also emphasize frequently a period of forty days?)

Assuming I’ve managed to make that conduct a habit by New Year’s Day, I’ll move on to another.

Most certainly, I must walk in the Spirit, or I will fail miserably. Selfishness cannot be encouraged, but must be subdued. Regardless of the experiment's outcome, I hope to weed out and not feed any genuine selfishness.

Any others willing to give this a try? Comment or e-mail me if you’re so inclined.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

So Great a Salvation

Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
And let those who love Your salvation say continually,
"Let God be magnified!"
(Psalms 70:4 NKJV)

Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away... How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation ... ? (Hebrews 2:1-3 NKJV)

Then [Jesus] turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little." (Luke 7:44-47 NKJV)

Many Christians grew up attending a church where God's Word was esteemed, decided at a young age to walk with Jesus, and have never strayed far from the straight and narrow. A good many others waded miserably in the mire of sin before gratefully receiving so great a salvation.

The second group knows the shame of many sins. But no Christian has been forgiven little. The manifestations may have been different, but all have fallen into anger, lust, and especially pride.

All must earnestly heed the Bible, lest we neglect so great a salvation. All must remain vigilant that Self does not dethrone the Lord, even momentarily. All those who seek God out are compelled to love much.

If we love so great a salvation, let us say continually, "Let God be magnified!" in our lives. He will show us how to do so and enable us.

Lord, You paid the highest possible price for our salvation, because You love much. Please let each of us understand how great a salvation we have received. Please let us value so great a salvation not upon a limited perception of sin, but upon its great cost to You. Please enable each of us to love You much and to show it.

O to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;
here's my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.
~ Robert Robinson, 1735-1790, Come Thou Fount

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Broken Heart

A Psalm of David.
Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire, Where there is no standing;
I have come into deep waters,
Where the floods overflow me.
I am weary with my crying;
My throat is dry;
My eyes fail while I wait for my God.
(Psalms 69:1-3 NKJV)

The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
(Psalms 34:18 NKJV)

[The Lord] may bring us sorrow, but his love for us is sure and strong.
He takes no pleasure in causing us grief or pain.
(Lamentations 3:32-33 GNB)

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16 NKJV)

No child ever understands the parent who inflicts corporal punishment with the words, "this hurts me more than it hurts you." Truth be told, the spirit with which it is appropriate for parents to administer a spanking is when they don't want to inflict pain, because love is in control.

Our children don't think we understand them, though we do know what it's like to be a child. Jesus knows exactly what it is to suffer pain, weakness and temptation as a human. He knows what it feels like to be punished for sin. His heart was broken for sin as no other human heart could be.

We often regret sin outwardly to avoid unwelcome consequences, or mentally to think of ourselves as good, or in apology with guilt for the pain sin causes another. But only the heart truly broken for sin can really repent of it, initiating an end to the pain and death sin causes.

A broken heart is good.

Father, we cause You so much grief, first with our sin, and then when You afflict us for it. Thank You for loving us enough to suffer so much more pain for our sin than we do. Thank You for loving us enough not to allow us to sin comfortably. Thank you for understanding our misery.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Presence of God

Let God arise, Let His enemies be scattered;
Let those also who hate Him flee before Him.
As smoke is driven away, So drive them away;
As wax melts before the fire,
So let the wicked perish at the presence of God.
But let the righteous be glad;
Let them rejoice before God;
Yes, let them rejoice exceedingly.
Sing to God, sing praises to His name;
Extol Him who rides on the clouds,
By His name YAH, And rejoice before Him.
(Psalms 68:1-4 NKJV)

David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who bore the ark, the singers, and Chenaniah the music master with the singers. David also wore a linen ephod. Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the horn [shofar], with trumpets and with cymbals, making music with stringed instruments and harps. And it happened, as the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the City of David, that Michal, Saul's daughter, looked through a window and saw King David whirling and playing music [leaping and whirling before the LORD]; and she despised him in her heart. (1 Chronicles 15:27-29 NKJV, amplified)

For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? (2 Corinthians 2:15-16 NKJV)

When the presence of God in His Holy Spirit enters the person who worships Jesus Christ as Lord and God, the worship will look as unique as the individual. We may be compelled to dance. Or to put face on the ground. Or to shout and clap. Or to use whatever instrument we play, including electric keyboard, whether connected to an amplifier or blog or unpublished .docx file.

Whether or not witnessed by others and understood by them, our worship is before the Lord. He alone determines the worship quality, and God does not judge it by outward appearance—as man does—but by the heart.

One day, every tribe and tongue will worship together with diversity before the presence of God as He enters Jerusalem, His bride. In the meantime, God is drawn to the fragrance of His own Son, present in those who worship in spirit and truth, and He is enthroned in our praise.

Oh Lord our God, You put in our hearts a love song birthed of gratitude that defies full expression within the limits of earth. Reign in us. Even if we flinch with the burning, please fill us with Your Holy fire, to make our hearts and our worship pure and pleasing to You.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hallowed Be Your Name

God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us...
That Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.
God shall bless us,
And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.
(Psalms 67:1-2,7 NKJV)

"I do not [act] for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations ... and the nations shall know that I am the LORD," says the Lord GOD, "when I am hallowed in you before their eyes."
(Ezekiel 36:22-23 NKJV)

Jesus said to them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified... Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again!"
(John 12:23,28 ISV)

The Lord is my Shepherd, who restores my soul and gives peace. He also leads in paths of righteousness, for His name's sake. When His people forget to hallow His name by which they are called, and give others an excuse to speak against Him, we provoke His anger.

God is merciful to us and blesses us and causes His face to shine upon us because of His great love for us. But He is also motivated by faithfulness to His name and character. He desires to make Himself known among the nations. If we show Him to be less than He is by our behavior, and misrepresent Him, we provoke Him to counter our actions, for His name's sake.

If we claim to be Christians, then whatever we do in word or deed, good or bad, is done in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Jesus teaches us to pray, the first priority of business is, "Hallowed be Your name."

Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be Your name by us. Please put in us the fear of Your name which turns us from sin. Please empower us to worship Your name in spirit and truth as pleases You. Please cause us to so greatly love Your name that we readily surrender ourselves to You and receive Your fullest blessing.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Monday, November 10, 2008

Desire for Beauty

Oh, bless our God, you peoples!
And make the voice of His praise to be heard,
Who keeps our soul among the living,
And does not allow our feet to be moved.
For You, O God, have tested us;
You have refined us as silver is refined.
You brought us into the net;
You laid affliction on our backs.
You have caused men to ride over our heads;
We went through fire and through water;
But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.
(Psalms 66:8-12 NKJV)

Listen, O daughter, Consider and incline your ear;
Forget your own people also, and your father's house;
So the King will greatly desire your beauty;
Because He is your Lord, worship Him.
(Psalms 45:10-11 NKJV)

Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—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. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves. (1 Peter 3:3-5 NKJV)

In the book Your Captivating Heart, Stasi Eldredge draws her readers to "unveil the beauty, romance, and adventure of a woman's soul." She wonderfully describes that our Creator designed women to be beautiful, men to appreciate beauty, and beauty's many forms.

Women go to ridiculous and even painful lengths to enhance their physical beauty, desiring admiration. Our nature to do so is put there by a God who wants to look upon a beautiful bride, and wants His church to spare no effort to make herself attractive with the beauty of holiness.

Holiness is simply freedom from sin in every form, and being clothed with love in every form. God goes to even painful lengths to cleanse us from the sin and pride which hurts us and mars our beauty, clothing us with His own garment of righteousness. Our desire for beauty compels our cooperation. The goal is to look like Christ.

Oh Lord, there is no greater contentment than to bask in Your love and beauty. Our hearts gladly praise and worship You in return. Give us a longing to be beautiful for You. Make us so beautiful that You can no longer restrain Yourself from returning to us.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Sunday, November 9, 2008

You Who

You who hear prayer, To You all flesh will come...
O God of our salvation,
You who are the confidence of all the ends of the earth ...
Being clothed with power;
You who still the noise of the seas ...
And the tumult of the peoples...
You crown the year with Your goodness,
And Your paths drip with abundance...
Blessed is the man You choose,
And cause to approach You.
(Psalms 65:2,5-7,11,4 NKJV)

"Bear with me a little, and I will show you
That there are yet words to speak on God's behalf...
I will ascribe righteousness to my Maker."
(Job 36:2-3 NKJV)

Now also when I am old and grayheaded,
O God, do not forsake me,
Until I declare Your strength to this generation ...
You who have done great things;
O God, who is like You?
You, who have shown me great and severe troubles,
Shall revive me again,
And bring me up again from the depths of the earth.
(Psalms 71:18-20 NKJV)

Today my mother celebrates her 70th birthday. I can't be at the party, nor can her dearest friend, who died late Thursday. Before he came into her life, she used to say she was ready to be with the Lord. Now that her friend is with God, I suspect this world will hold even less appeal.

She often speaks of God's goodness to the three generations she has birthed. Through many heavy trials, I've heard her sometimes wonder why, but never heard her accuse God of unfairness. Like the psalmists, even amid tears, she ascribes to the Lord only goodness.

Unlike suffering people around us, we do not rage at God, "You who fails to ...!" with bitterness. God has caused us to approach Him, so we know blessing amid suffering, and can declare in the hearing of others, "O God, who is like You? You who ..." The list of His blessings is endless.

Only pleasure awaits us before His throne. But earth cannot hear our praises once we leave.

Lord YHWH, my inadequate words fall upon too few ears when I declare Your goodness. You are salvation, confidence, strength, revival, goodness, abundance. You are clothed in power and light. You still the noise of men's souls and the tumult of the peoples with Your peace.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tongue Like a Sword

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
Hear my voice, O God, in my meditation;
Preserve my life from fear of the enemy.
Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,
From the rebellion of the workers of iniquity,
Who sharpen their tongue like a sword,
And bend their bows to shoot their arrows—bitter words.
(Psalms 64:1-3 NKJV)

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.
(Proverbs 16:24 NKJV)

"For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.... But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matthew 12:34-37 NKJV)

David often feared for his life. Here he asks God to protect his life, not from the enemy from who might strike him with the sword, but from fear. His life was depleted by mere words. He evidently did not believe, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me."

Words carry great power. God created the entire universe using only words. The pen is mightier than the sword not only because words incite men to take up the sword, but also because the sword can only destroy, while words can both give life ("health to the bones") and destroy life ("arrows").

A friend recently quoted these thoughts of mine on her blog. Yet I still need the reminder. When I find myself apologizing, it’s usually for my words rather than actions. And as I look back on my life, my deepest regrets are for times when my words inflicted damage on the life of another.

Father, thank You for paying the great cost to forgive things seemingly unforgivable. I beg You to repair the lives where my words have been arrows. I beg You to use my words now to give life. If I have a tongue like a sword, let it be only because it speaks Your Word in the power of Your Spirit.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Freelance: Find Good

I'll always call the cup half full. It's a running joke at my house—an ongoing dare to find good in this situation.

Good isn't always visible. But I walk by faith, and faith is the "evidence of things unseen."

Consider this story.

Sisters Corrie and Betsie ten Boom were imprisoned in 1944 at Ravensbruck concentration camp for protecting Jews. Betsie thanked God for the fleas there, out of faith in Paul's admonition "Give thanks in all circumstances." Corrie complained, "Betsie, there's no way even God can make me grateful for a flea." Betsie answered, "Fleas are part of this place where God has put us." Then God in His goodness revealed that freedom to share His Word from a contraband Bible existed because guards feared the fleas in the barracks.

And so my children often hear, "If Betsie thanked God for fleas, I can thank God for ..."

I thank God for the election results.

I don't yet see good in them. Our nation has affirmed an unworthy agenda to increase dependence on government. Socialism devastated the Soviet Union and it will fail as miserably here. A nation which contends against a strong military or "legislating morality" invites anarchy. A people which names government provider, protector and principal potentate cannot then demand God step into those roles.

John Adams said, "We have no government armed in power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other."

Examples of impotent government abound. It cannot save from economic collapse, hurricane, terrorism, violence, disease, death, or fear. God saves from all of them. If we must be brought to our knees by utter failure in order to understand this, then failure is good.

That much I can see.

Note: Within an hour of my writing this, my husband phoned from work with news that he received a transfer with a substantial pay cut. I take a deep breath and say, "You are good, God. Thank You for this transfer and the good in it."

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy


A Psalm of David When He Was in the Wilderness of Judah.
O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.
I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
(Psalms 63:1-5 NKJV)

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
(Psalms 100:4 NKJV)

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 MSG)

David's road to the throne was paved with homeless hunger—and that was merely where his problems began. While a refugee, he succumbed at times to fear, deceit, and anger. Yet the man after God's own heart always turned back to praise God in the midst of his circumstances.

David's ability to do so lay in his motive to see the power and glory of God. Having tasted the Lord's lovingkindness, he judged it better than a satisfying life. Circumstances might loom large, but they could only obscure sight of a larger God in the absence of thanksgiving and praise.

Urgent demands and heavy trials easily overwhelm us. Like David, we are anointed with God's Spirit, yet may succumb at times to fear, deceit, and anger. What sets us apart as Christ's is the resolve to turn back and look for satisfaction in God. He is found in the midst of praise, prayer and thanks.

Oh God, You are my God. Call us to seek You in the quiet morning, before life presses in. Call us to seek You in the loud, busy workday, and hear which way You direct. Call us to seek You when trials threaten to defeat us, and know Your presence. Cause us to bless You at all times, Your praise ever upon joyful lips.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Powerful

Mortals are a mere breath, the powerful but an illusion;
On a balance they rise; together they are lighter than air.
(Psalm 62:9 NAB)

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." (Romans 9:17 NIV)

And Jesus said to them, "The kings of the nations exercise dominion over them, and those who exercise control over them are called 'workers of good.' But you shall not behave this way. Rather let the senior among you become like the junior; let the leader act the part of the servant." (Luke 22:25-26, author)

Even the shy ones among us want to be relevant. We want a purpose. We want any recognition we receive to be positive. We want to be validated, and that's not wrong. As long as we humble ourselves under the hand of God, He will indeed exalt us, in due time. (1 Peter 5:6-7)

The path to being rightly exalted is to not seek it. Jesus said the way to become the greatest was to be a humble servant. Whether Pharaoh or president, pastor or parent, good leaders have a servant's heart. Our end is to exalt the name of God. Our means is to take joy in doing so humbly, however high or low our position.

Each of us has an audience of One at all times. He may choose to grant an audience of one more person, or—if your name is Barack Obama—of billions. Every person's appointment is from God, as pleases Him.

Who is God except You, Lord? Your way is perfect, Your Word is proven. You save the humble and bring down the proud. Your gentleness has made us great, for You have made us Your children. You arm us with strength, You make our way perfect, You uphold us in every situation.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Shelter of Your Wings

For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.
(Psalms 61:3-4 NKJV)

So Joab fled to the tabernacle of the LORD, and took hold of the horns of the altar. And King Solomon was told [of it].... Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, "Go, strike him down."
(1 Kings 2:28-29 NKJV)

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem ... How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' " (Matthew 23:37-39 NKJV)

The presence of God dwelt with the ark in the Old Testament tabernacle of YHWH (and later the temple). The shelter of God's wings it represented could not be misappropriated by evil men such as Joab, but only by those truly trusting in the Lord.

"Palm Sunday" is often depicted as a smiling Jesus entering the gates of Jerusalem. But the crowds who declared, "Hosanna [please save us]" and "blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD" were outside the city. When Jesus reached Jerusalem, He was not smiling but in tears (Luke 19:41), for Jerusalem itself rejected Him rather than blessed Him.

Jesus declared Jerusalem desolate, unable to see Him until she received Him on His terms, not hers. The same is true today. If Christ's bride, the church and spiritual Jerusalem, is to truly see Him, each of us must ask: "What in our lives yet brings tears to Your eyes? What gives us a false sense of security? What draws the shelter of Your wings over us?"

Lord, the shadow of Your wings is a place of light. We know no greater peace and security than when You gather us closely to Yourself. We are yet blind to ways in which we distance ourselves from You. Please show us how to bless You and not grieve You. Please let us see You.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Birth Pains

You have made the earth tremble;
You have broken it;
Heal its breaches, for it is shaking.
You have shown Your people hard things;
You have made us drink the wine of confusion.
(Psalms 60:2-3 NKJV)

"And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.... and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains." (Matthew 24:6-8 ESV)

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present [exceeding] help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.
(Psalms 46:1-3 NKJV, amplified)

Neither government bailouts nor "voting for change" are going to rescue our country from the brink of bankruptcy. Our nation's economic condition is merely a symptom of the much more serious moral bankruptcy over which we teeter.

Abortion, homosexuality and violence are abominable. So are pride, fullness of food, abundance of idleness, and failure to strengthen the world's poor and needy (
Ezekiel 16:49). While Christians may avoid condemnation, we are not innocent of these latter evils.

Each rumble in the world signals an ominous storm on the horizon. The bad news is we can expect the birth pains to get way, way worse. The good news is that birth pains do end, and result in great joy. A pregnant woman weary of her fullness welcomes the pain which will set her and her baby free.

How long, Oh Lord, until we reach fullness? When may we get down to the serious business of bringing to birth that for which Your creation has long waited? Even as we fear the pain, Lord, we grow weary in our waiting. Perfect Your work in us, that we might be ready for Your
glorious appearing.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

Monday, November 3, 2008

Real Enemies

To the Chief Musician. Set to "Do Not Destroy."
A Michtam of David When Saul Sent Men,
and They Watched the House in Order to Kill Him.
Deliver me from my enemies, O my God ...
You have been my defense
And refuge in the day of my trouble.
To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises;
For God is my defense, My God of mercy.
(Psalms 59:1;16-17 NKJV)

And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands became heavy ... And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. (Exodus 17:11-13 NKJV)

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9 NKJV)

Psalms passages which speak of enemies didn't used to hold my interest. I rarely encounter people who threaten as enemies and I preferred Psalms of praise. I see now that the very real enemies David and Moses battled present a clear picture of the very real adversary I do face.

The devil knows where we are weak and is a practiced, powerful enemy. But we do not fight the battles we face alone. Our defense is our God—reliance on His strength, preparation for battle with His armor, and support of fellow warriors. Our brothers and sisters fight alongside us, and we must uphold each other in prayer.

The sun will eventually go down on this day of battle. Until then, we sing praise for the God who has already saved us. We sing praise for the warfare which perfects us. We sing praise for the victory at war's end. It is all assured by our Lord's Word and Spirit and blood.

Lord Jesus, You have already vanquished the enemy. You know more than we do the sufferings of warfare. You have felt the weakness of human flesh. Please make us persistent to employ the armor You provide. Please help us remember fellow warriors in the heat of battle. Please give us Your strength to endure.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy