Blog Archive

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Go Against the Flow

"Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see."
~ John W. Whitehead

Go Against the Flow

My sixteen-year-old daughter Michaelle recently joined Facebook. It's been a wonderful glimpse into her world—and an assurance that maybe we haven't totally messed up as parents. I share here a status update and two follow up comments that she wrote on Thursday. (Comments of others aren't included.)

"If you 'be who you are' and 'say what you feel,' then the people who matter WILL mind, and the people who "don't matter" will most likely punch you in the face." ~ me, in contradiction of Dr. Seuss

... If I told someone that they were ugly and fat—and I really thought it true—would you think they "didn't matter" if they became offended? Everything in the world tends towards disorder, and we must go against the flow to make it the way God would want it. It's good to be yourself ... [unless] you will be tearing people down instead of building them up. To act who we are all the time would make this world chaos. We need to be what God would have us be, and not what we want.

... I wasn't saying to bottle everything up, and I wasn't saying to not be the way God made you. I'm talking about human nature, not personality. Originally I was making an observation on the quote by Dr. Seuss—"Be who you are, and say what you feel, because the people who matter don't mind, and the people who mind don't matter." People WILL mind if you treat them that way, no matter if they're Christians or not! :)

A fool vents all his feelings,
But a wise man holds them back.
(Proverbs 29:11 NKJV)

Thank You, Father, that You give me a glimpse of Who You are through my children.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Photo courtesy Michaelle Bundy

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Freelance: FRUITFUL

"March toward the sound of the guns."
~ Military Adage

Friday Freelance: FRUITFUL


The last week has been especially intense. My personal life has hummed along at the typical "hang on by your fingernails" pace—no more or less stressful than usual. But each blog post wrung me out, and numerous invitations to connect with others have pulled me in many directions.

I'm always afraid to make it known when life feels intense, because I don't want anyone to hesitate sharing what's going on with them. Yes, I also get overwhelmed enough at times to cry "Help!" It doesn't happen often, and the Lord is ever faithful to send just the right person, as long I'm staying in touch with Him. (If I've been a little out of touch with my God, and I get to that overwhelmed point, He lets me flail around a bit until I turn to Him.)

Being an intense person (Type AA, workaholic, etc.), I thrive on intense. My blood pressure likely stays low because I see most challenges as opportunities (excepting unruly children—gotta work on that). Life in this world is a spiritual battle, I'm a warrior, and warriors don't train to hang out in the barracks. Warriors belong in the thick of things. Unless I'm at that rare place of feeling truly overwhelmed, I live to run toward where the battle rages hottest.

The difference between this world's wars and spiritual war is that the former always wreaks destruction and death, but the latter brings life and light if we but fight in the strength of the Holy Spirit. He first equips us for battle, and then empowers us. The mission: produce spiritual fruit.

"You did not choose Me, but I chose you
and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit,
and that your fruit should remain,
that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you."
~ John 15:16 (NKJV)

A most fundamental principal of survival is reproduction. After breathing and eating, the urge to reproduce is prominent. Danger is no deterrent. How many species have males which battle for access to the females? How many females will fight to the death to protect their young? The Creator's first command was, "Be fruitful and multiply," and He programmed creation to comply.

I daresay this model echoes the yearning of divinity. The Holy Spirit's compelling drive is to prolifically reproduce the life of Christ in us. Like bull elk clashing antlers against each other, it is the purpose of spiritual warfare.

Comments for yesterday's post ("Identity"), about what marks a Christian, mentioned the characteristic I had foremost in mind: fruitfulness, manifest in love. Galatians 6:22-23 mentions nine components of spiritual fruit, but ultimately, they all come down to love.

Consider the words of Dwight L. Moody:
The fruit of the Spirit begins with love ... [and the] other eight can be put in terms of love.
Joy is love exulting.
Peace is love in repose.
Long-suffering [patience] is love on trial.
Gentleness [kindness] in love in society.
Goodness is love in action.
Faith is love on the battlefield.
Meekness [gentleness] is love at school.
Temperance [self-control] is love in training.
So it is love all the way.
Did you note the last part of the above verse from John 15? Jesus gives a reason to be fruitful: "... that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you."

This is worth fighting for, without constraint, however intense the battle, whatever wounds sustained.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Photo from

Thursday, October 29, 2009


"Salvation is free. Discipleship will cost you your life."
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer


The name of Amram's wife was Jochebed the daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt; and to Amram she bore Aaron and Moses and their sister Miriam.
~ Numbers 26:59 (NKJV)

And God said to Abraham: "... This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised ... and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised ..."
~ Genesis 17:9-12 (NKJV)

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
~ Romans 8:1 (NKJV)

Movies such as "Ten Commandments" and "Prince of Egypt" dramatize how Moses might learn he was Hebrew. My own theory is that his parents made his identity clear.

Moses was nursed by his own mother. Children of biblical times and culture were typically nursed three years—old enough for his mother to make sure he knew who he was. And his father would have circumcised Moses—the unmistakable, irreversible mark of a Hebrew.

Circumcision was not a practice of Egyptians, nor was sufficient privacy among males for Moses' identity to be hidden. For the Hebrews then and for Jews of every era, circumcision is the single common mark of identity among all males.

Christians are usually identified based on things like they go to church, regularly read and know the Bible, uphold certain standards, and affirm belief in Jesus as Savior. While such practices are common to Christians, all of them may also be practiced as mere religion—an outward mark.

My pastor, Dean Stewart, defines that those who truly belong to Jesus are His disciples, and therefore His followers. Pastor Dean says followers will be characterized by things such as:

• Followers are responsive to Christ's voice.
• Followers are recognized by their appetite and passion to be more like Jesus as they learn His mind and practice His ways.
• Followers are worshipers whose eyes have been opened to see a glimpse of our Lord's greatness, glory and holiness.

The classic poser asks, "If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be sufficient evidence to convict you?"

I ask today, what criteria do you think sufficient to positively identity a person as a follower of Christ?

Lord Jesus, I ask You to speak to our hearts, to show each of us if we have honored You in making clear that we follow You, and to show how we might follow You more closely.

NOTE: Please see my comment of 10:08, below, concerning motive in asking this question.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Touch That Never Hurts

"Have a heart that never hardens,
a temper that never tires,
a touch that never hurts."
~ Charles Dickens

A Touch That Never Hurts


"How shall I curse whom God has not cursed?
And how shall I denounce whom the LORD has not denounced?"
~ Numbers 23:8 (NKJV)

Death and life are in the power of the tongue.
~ Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV)

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
~ Romans 12:18 (NKJV)

As soon as I pick up my car keys, I am sure to immediately hear the running footsteps of my eight-year-old Abigail. However much household noise rules or far away she is, that distinctive sound is a magnet for her to hasten to my side and determine where I'm going, how long I'll be gone, and give me at least one 'I love you' kiss good-bye.

She likely got this from me. I do whatever possible to make sure every good-bye and its 'I love you' carries full weight. I most easily lay down pride when it comes time to part company. I am adamant for pleasant farewells, and I sorrow over every disagreeable one.

I do not obsess about death. But between the numerous death aftermaths I've been closely involved with, and my husband's occupation as a police officer—assigned to death investigations—I am acutely aware of how tentative life is. One never knows which words we speak may be the last between us and a loved one.

Another thing of which I'm acutely aware is how inclined my intensity is to take a hard stance, flash a quick temper, use a sharp touch with my tongue. The internet is a place of words offered at keyboard speed, where it is easier to measure each transmission, and double-click the trash can icon on regrets. You who know me only electronically see (as one critic called it) "the kinder and gentler Anne." I try ever so hard to be just as gracious in speech and electronic chats, but am sometimes not. Nearly all of my deepest regrets are of my words.

Is there anyone you've touched with words who has been hurt by them?

With eternity daily in the balance, is there any valid reason to not live peaceably?

Prince of Peace, You've given Your life and blood that we might know peace. I pray that every person who reads these words would know Your peace, and pass it on to as many people as possible, in as many ways possible.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Photo from

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bread of Heaven

"I know what I have given you. I do not know what you have received."
~ Antonio Porchia

Bread of Heaven

Then they journeyed ... and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses: "... There is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread." So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people ...
~ Numbers 21:4-6 (NKJV)

Yet [the Lord] had commanded the clouds above,
And opened the doors of heaven,
Had rained down manna on them to eat,
And given them of the bread of heaven.
Men ate angels’ food;
He sent them food to the full.~ Psalm 78:23-25 (NKJV)

"My Father gives you the true bread from heaven... I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst."
~ John 6:32-36 (NKJV)

The Lord gave His children the bread of Heaven—the food of angels. They called it worthless and complained that the Lord gave them "no food." How could they speak such words?

It began when "the soul of the people became discouraged." Discouragement led them along until they "spoke against God."

The Lord is defined by His compassion. Consider some passages which describe His response when we cry out to Him rather than speak against Him:

Nevertheless He regarded their affliction, When He heard their cry. (Psalms 106:44 NKJV)

And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel. (Judges 10:16 NKJV)

In all their affliction He was afflicted. (Isaiah 63:9 NKJV)

Look! We have a God Who suffers with His people.

The Lord gives followers of Christ bread far better than the food of angels, for our bread of Heaven is Jesus.

When we complain against God, are we not accusing Him of failing to feed us? Are we not calling bread of Heaven insufficient? When we instead cry out, does He not fill us?

Mark the difference between complaining and crying out. The former accuses, the latter appeals.

Lord of Heaven and Earth, You are able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. You supply all our need according to Your riches, not Your leftovers. When we are in distress, please open our eyes to Your goodness and loose our tongues to cry out for it.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Photo from motion picture The Passion of the Christ, © 2004 Twentieth Century Fox

Monday, October 26, 2009

Filled with the Spirit

"Though every believer has the Holy Spirit,
the Holy Spirit does not have every believer."
~ A.W. Tozer

Filled with the Spirit


Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Take the rod ... Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock."
~ Numbers 20:7-8 (NKJV)

All our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.
~ 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 (NKJV)

I use commentaries sparingly, to avoid reliance upon them. But sometimes a commentary nicely affirms or clarifies what I've discerned. On this passage from Numbers 20, I share the following from William MacDonald:

Once before ... the Lord told Moses to strike the rock... The rock smitten in Exodus 17 was a type of Christ, stricken at Calvary. But Christ was only to be struck once. After His death, the Holy Spirit would be given, of which the water is a type.

The Old Testament records two occasions of water given from a rock through Moses, and the New Testament also records two occasions of the Holy Spirit being given. When Jesus appeared to His disciples on the evening of His resurrection—just after being "stricken at Calvary"—He greeted them, then immediately breathed upon them and they received His Holy Spirit (John 20:22). On the day of Pentecost, after His disciples spent ten days speaking to the Lord in prayer, a mighty wind rushed upon His disciples and filled them with the Holy Spirit in power.

To belong to Christ because of His shed blood is to become an heir of eternal life and be sealed with His Holy Spirit. (Think of how much residual air remains in the lungs after exhaling.) But to be a follower of Jesus and abide in relationship with Him—through the Bible, prayer, and His people—results in being filled with the Holy Spirit. (Think of anywhere between drawing a normal breath, and breathing as deeply as possible.)

There is a vast difference between having enough of the Holy Spirit to obediently remain in a hidden upper room praying, and being so full of the Holy Spirit that the world cannot help but take notice and be turned on its head.

Lord Jesus our Rock, You alone provide infallible support and power. Thank You for the assurance of salvation and the certainty of Your Word. Thank You for the eternal life given by the breath of Your Spirit. Please draw us to abide in You and be filled with Your Holy Spirit.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Commentary text quoted from **Believer's Bible Commentary, Thomas Nelson Publishers, © 1995 William MacDonald
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Love's Need

"Immature love says: 'I love you because I need you.'
Mature love says: 'I need you because I love you.' "
~ Dr. Erich Fromm

Love's Need

From afar the LORD appeared unto me.
'Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love.'
~ Jeremiah 31:3 (JPS)

We come to Christ in need of a Savior, and we love the Lord for what He's done for us.

As we better know Him, we cannot help but grow in love for Him simply for Who He is. Our love could reach a point that eternal life is meaningless except that it allows us to be with Him we love.

Jesus, God made man, has a love for us so great it compelled Him to die for us. I assert that such a love needs us and our love.

The more I've thought on this, the more I stand in utter wonder of our God.

The weekend audience for this blog is usually slim. To the handful of people seeing this, I trust you won't mind pondering it again if it reappears some weekday for a wider audience.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

One Body

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten
that we belong to each other."
~ Mother Teresa

One Body

Today's post is reprinted from Shortybear's Place, the blog of my sister in Christ, Denise. She's faithfully followed my blog longer than anyone, has encouraged me when I questioned if I should keep writing it, and she stops in even when she isn't feeling well. Please pray for my sweet friend, who has planned for months to be at a blogger conference this weekend but is home with health problems. I love you, Denise!

Jimmy Durante, one of the truly great entertainers, was asked to do a show for World War II veterans. He told them he was very busy, but if they wouldn't mind his doing one short monologue, and immediately leaving for his next appointment, he'd come. They agreed.

But when Jimmy got on stage he went through the short monologue—then stayed, and stayed. Soon he'd been on stage 15, 20, then 30 minutes. Finally, he took a last bow, and left.

Backstage someone stopped him and said "I thought you had to go after a few minutes. What happened?" Jimmy answered, "You can see for yourself if you look on the front row."

In the front row were two veterans, each of whom had lost an arm in the war. One had lost his right arm, and the other had lost his left. Together, they were able to clap, and that's exactly what they were doing, loudly and cheerfully.

That's a picture of what's supposed to happen in church. To enjoy its benefits, you have to go, and when you get there, you must reach out to others, so that you can know, and be known. Pew-sitting, back-of-the-head fellowship, won't cut it! Someone sitting next to you, has 20/20 vision, where you have blind spots. You need their counsel, correction, comfort and fellowship. And they need yours. When that happens, the church is working like it's supposed to.

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.
~ 1 Corinthians 12:12 (NIV)

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Freelance: FRIVOLITY

"The pursuit of pleasure is not optional. It is essential."
~ John Piper, from the book Desiring God

Friday Freelance: FRIVOLITY

Even Colorado mountains don't stun me as much with their inconceivable vistas as the impossible hues of Michigan autumn I've seen this week. Like a masterpiece in progress, each day's art reveals a new touch of the Creator. This is my season of wonder.

Yet I've been far more astounded by the variety of praise revealed to me in recent years.

Some twenty years ago, I attended a Messianic worship service. For the first time I witnessed worship dance, and was immediately captivated. I had never observed praise expressed with such beauty and reverence. The experience was tucked away in the back of my mind.

I went on to learn many other things about my Jesus. I obsessively read the Bible with which I'd fallen in love. Over two decades, I found many capacities in which to share and serve: teaching, speaking, administrative tasks, prayer, service.

Beyond service and sharing, my soul contained a deep desire to praise my God. I sang from a hymnal on Sundays. I praised privately with prayer, song, and even dance at home. But I yearned to praise using all my heart-soul-mind-strength, joined to others who felt as I did.

Our church forbade such expressions, especially any music with a beat. Thin tolerance was eventually accorded to acoustic guitars. Outside our church, I managed to touch worship dance. I assisted for two semesters with elementary worship dance students. I began to worship with a Messianic congregation when I visited Denver, and a couple of times joined their worship dance impromptu. But within our church, dance was never a consideration. It was taught that the original Hebrew references to dance in the Bible meant "marching," not dance as we know it. I knew such definition was an error, but there were more important hills to risk dying upon.

Such hills split our church in 2002. The Lord finally gave us permission to leave in 2007, by which time I thought my soul might shrivel up with thirst to express exuberant praise. And every time I observed worship dance, my heart would break to see such beauty poured out to God.

Trust in the LORD, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
~ Psalms 37:3-4 (NKJV)

In His goodness, the Lord brought us to a new church where praise is given priority, and excellence marks our choir and orchestra. Dance has also tantalized, but always just outside my reach. In the spring of 2008, I had opportunity to either dance or obtain training in jail ministry. I went with the latter, since I have eternity to dance, but only a few years on earth to minister to others. In fall of 2008 dance for the Christmas presentation was planned but fell through, and I found myself instead on drama team, which proved a match made in Heaven. This last summer, I joined the Sunday evening praise team, and now help lead singing twice a month.

All the while, I've contented myself with the prayer, "Lord, could You just be sure I'm put on Heaven's dance team?" On Earth I'll practice arts such as writing, drama and music, which speak words to edify. The utter frivolity of worship and praise in dance must wait for eternity.

A month ago, I learned that part of the presentation this Christmas is a magnificent piece of music which our orchestra will play, our choir will sing—to which worshipers will dance. I plan to be among them.

It's hard work. My brain doesn't want to remember French words like degagé, demi-pliés and tendu, and my feet don't want to move that way. I stretch and fumble and practice, practice, practice. I concentrate on the music's tempo rather than its majesty.

Then the soloist sings "Holy, holy, holy." My face is pressed into the dust of the floor in worship. I slowly lift my arms in praise and my feet begin to glide through the fluid movements of angels. Every fiber of my being—heart, soul, mind and strength—is given over with abandon to the praise of my King, joined with others of like minds.

I am transported to another realm. Heaven has arrived on Earth.

And I am lost in the frivolity of eternity.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


"Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God."
~ Leon Bloy


Then the LORD said to Aaron: "You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.
~ Numbers 18:20 (NKJV)

O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You maintain my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Yes, I have a good inheritance.
~ Psalms 16:5-6 (NKJV)

I love owning land. When I walk through the fruit trees and under our grape arbor—or I am propelled skyward by my children on our tire swing above our land—I feel an attachment to the section of earth we call ours that reaches my soul.

The Old Testament Levite priests had no portion of land allotted to them. When the lines were drawn, they did not receive a piece of ground to call theirs. Theirs was the inheritance of the Lord Himself. For those who did not love the Lord, it must have seemed they came up short when lots were drawn. For those who did love Him, no lot of land could have compensated.

I do not believe in the theology which says that the church has taken Israel's place in history, and falls heir to all promised to her. I believe the children of Jacob will yet receive their full inheritance. The Lord will do exactly as He's said, and will fulfill His everlasting covenant with Israel's twelve tribes.

But in the meantime ...

Forty years after Jesus' crucifixion, temple sacrifices ended with the destruction of Jerusalem. Multiple New Testament references refer to all who are believers in Christ (and therefore anointed by His Spirit) as priests. Now, we are the ones who offer daily sacrifice of ourselves, and minister to the Lord in our worship, praise, and service.

There's no question in my mind that given the choice between owning a portion of the planet, and having the Lord as my portion and inheritance, I'd gladly choose standing in the presence of God, to lay down whatever else is mine in sacrifice.

There is no more pleasant place in the universe. Yes, I have a good inheritance.

Lord God, how is it that You give us Yourself? How is it possible for You to reside within mortal flesh? How do You call prayers a sweet aroma of incense? How can You be pleased in sacrifice of our miserable lives? How is it that You should exalt us as royal priests? We are unworthy of such inheritance. Thank You for grace. Thank You for love.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Let Go and Let God

"Learn to forgive your enemies,
it will drive them up the wall."
~ Unknown

Let Go and Let God

And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, but they said, "We will not come up! Is it a small thing ... that you should keep acting like a prince over us? ... " Then Moses was very angry, and said to the LORD, "Do not respect their offering. I have not ... hurt one of them." ... And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households.
~ Numbers 16:12-15,32 (NKJV)
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."
~ Romans 12:19-20 (NIV)

Among some three dozen posts offered on the subject of "trust" for yesterday's blog carnival (hosted by Bridget Chumbley), a number mentioned our trust in others being disappointed.

Has someone violated your trust with unrighteous behavior, and you find it difficult to recover?

Have you suffered physical injury or emotional trauma?
Been stolen from or cheated?
Been lied to?
Has an employer or business caused financial loss or overwhelming stress?
Have your rights been violated?
Has government oppressed you?
Have you been betrayed by a friend?
Scorned by a person you've loved?

Moses was slandered and faced open sedition. Much was at stake. He took no action against men who might have caused much harm, but turned the entire matter over to the Lord. The earth literally split open to take the men away.

Release to the Lord whatever harm has been done you. Allow Him to guide your words and actions. Do good to, bless, pray for those who harm you, to put entirely in His hands any necessary retribution.

There are many ways enemies might be destroyed. Perhaps we'll even see the day when we might say, as Abraham Lincoln did, "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"

Lord, thank You for proving Yourself perfect, the only One Who will not disappoint our trust. Thank You for holding our lives and everything in them in Your hands. Please enable our hearts to trust You for restoring to us anything lost through disappointed trust in anyone else.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How Much Salvation Do You Have?

"In Christ the best is always yet to come.
Always. No exceptions. Forever."
~ John Piper

How Much Salvation Do You Have?

And all the children of Israel complained. "... If only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the LORD brought us to this land to fall by the sword...? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?" ...
[But Joshua and Caleb said]: "The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, 'a land which flows with milk and honey.' "
~ Numbers 14:2-3;7-8 (NKJV)

Don't rebel like those people who were tested in the desert... We see that those people did not enter the place of rest because they did not have faith. The promise to enter the place of rest is still good, and we must take care that none of you miss out.
~ Hebrews 3:8,19-4:1 (CEV)

This event from Numbers occurs after the Lord has displayed unquestionable might with the ten plagues and parting of the Red Sea. For sixteen months, the Lord has provided bread, meat and water to the Israelites. Now faced with the Promised Land's prosperity (yesterday's "Goodness of the Grape"), they choose to fear the unknown rather than trust the I AM.

So they declare it preferable to either die in the desert or return to bondage. Doubt in God's power and goodness costs them the pleasures He had waiting for them. The children of Israel have experienced salvation from slavery, but lack of trust prevents them from being fully free.

Christians likewise pass through three places to experience full freedom: bondage, desert, Promised Land.

Two variations of the Hebrew noun for "salvation" are yasha and yeshua. [Yeshua is also the Hebrew name of Jesus.] Yeshua is the act of rescue or deliverance. Yasha is a wide or open space in the condition of safety and freedom. It is the difference between standing next to unshackled chains outside the dark dungeon's door, and dancing barefoot across the beach in glorious sunshine.

Whether Egyptians or Hell's damnation threaten, the prudent person steps out in faith to accept rescue from bondage. But the desert of mere survival is no place to remain. The Lord offers a wide place of rest and abundant life for those willing to trust that He overcomes all we fear.

If the Christian life feels like a confining desert wasteland, freedom isn't found by looking back at bondage as not-so-bad. Moving forward into the Promised Land is a simple matter of saying, "Lord, wherever You lead I'll follow, whatever You ask I'll do"—trusting His goodness and might.

Do you know the abundant life of full surrender?
Do you trust Jesus for both narrow rescue and wide freedom?

Lord Jesus, Adonia Yeshua, thank You for deliverance from bondage. Thank You for leading us to the wide place of freedom in Your new life. Thank You for being utterly worthy of our trust.

"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."
(John 8:36 NKJV)

Much thanks to Bridget Chumbley for hosting today's Blog Carnival on Trust on One Word at a Time.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Prison photo from
Beach photo from

Monday, October 19, 2009

Goodness of the Grape

"The vine said to them,
'Should I cease my new wine,
Which cheers both God and men ...?' "
~ Jotham, Judges 9:13

Goodness of the Grape


Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes. So they went up and spied out the land [of Canaan] ... Then they came to the Valley of Eshcol, and there cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes; they carried it between two of them on a pole... And they returned from spying out the land after forty days.
~ Numbers 13:20-21,23,25 (NKJV)

Praise the LORD, my soul! ...
You make wine to cheer human hearts,
olive oil to make faces shine,
and bread to strengthen human hearts.
~ Psalms 104:1,15 (GW)

Here's a thumbnail history of grapes and wine in ancient Israel.

In Israelite culture, the grape and its wine—its blood—symbolized health and wealth, joy and prosperity. Beer was cheap, intoxicating drink produced from common barley, familiar among Egyptians, Philistines, and other peoples. Wine was produced from grapevines which required careful attention, and took up to ten years to produce good grapes—not possible unless one was peaceably settled in the land for an extended time.

Tiyrosh (fresh grape juice, or "new wine") was available only at late summer grape harvest. Yayin (intoxicating wine) was far more than a beverage. It was important to purify water, cleanse wounds, and aid digestion. It was one of the offerings God required to be presented daily at the temple. And while some covenants might be sealed in the blood of an animal, joyful covenants such as betrothals and weddings were sealed with this blood of grapes.

The Bible has numerous mentions of grape harvest as a joyful celebration which crowned the harvest, perhaps comparable to our Thanksgiving. Treading the grapes was accompanied by dancing and music. To this day, it is not uncommon to find Mediterranean region grapes as big as plums, in clusters up to 45 lbs. Many varieties of grapes begin ripening around the beginning of August (others as late as mid-September), with the harvest lasting about forty days.

While the Bible has numerous examples of harmful overindulgence in wine and warnings against drunkenness, the prevailing image is of the vine and all its fruit being representative of God's highest blessing. When the twelve spies returned from their expedition with an enormous cluster of grapes, they demonstrated that the land was not simply adequate, but contained exceedingly abundantly above all what the Israelites might ask or think.

Tomorrow, more about the spies, and about trust.

Father in Heaven, You created only good in the earth. We long for the day when you will eliminate all the havoc our sin has wrought upon Your creation. Even now, please enable us to see Your exceedingly-abundantly-above-all-we-might-ask-or-think blessings.

On a personal note: This is not intended as an argument for drinking wine. I respect the views of Christians who choose to abstain from alcoholic beverages.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Give God a Hand

"Sometimes I think when things are too quiet up there,
You say to Yourself,
'Let's see. What kind of mischief can I play on My friend Tevye?' "
~ Tevye, speaking to God, movie Fiddler on the Roof

Give God a Hand


Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
~ Philippians 4:4 (NKJV)

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God,
to those who are the called according to His purpose.
~ Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

The Lord's having fun with me this week. I'm wiped out, so I'm resorting to another story today. Back to studying Numbers tomorrow.

My hands take hours to get warm again if I drive bare-handed holding a cold steering wheel. The problem is, I can't keep track of gloves. I put them in my coat pocket, but wind up wearing different coats and don't remember which coat I last wore. I've tried keeping spare gloves in the car, but either they're in the other car (we have two I drive), or I wear gloves into the house, then take them off and stuff them in my coat pocket, then forget which coat I was wearing ...

Last Sunday morning was cold. I reached into my coat pocket, and—no surprise—didn't have my gloves. But aha! I've got an extra pair of gloves I bought last spring on clearance. I grab them, rip the plastic tab off, and head out to the car. The first glove is a lefty, so I slip my left hand in. When I go to put in my right hand, I discover I've got another lefty.

The price tags are long gone, I don't remember where I bought these anyway, and so now I'm stuck with two left gloves. I'm driving to church and telling my family that the Lord's got a great sense of humor. He set me up for this one months ago, just waiting for the right time to spring two lefties on me. I laugh and say God is good. At least He gave me the correct (not "right") side, since I only drive with my left hand anyway (leftover habit from police work and driving a stick).

When I get to church I don't want to look silly walking around with one glove, so I toss it in the car and head in bare-handed. No big deal, the time I really need the glove is when driving.

(Do you see what's coming yet?)

So now, I'm heading into winter, and I've got two left gloves, one in each car, that will always be there because I'll never wear them out of the car where I'll look silly with only one glove.

Is our God great or what?

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Unexpected Love

Do not forget to entertain strangers,
for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.
~ Hebrews 13:2 (NKJV)

Unexpected Love

This is a wee bit longer than the typical Saturday snippet, but I thought you'd enjoy it. Since it might be relevant, I'll preface this true story by mentioning that I wear my hair up, am usually neatly dressed in a skirt, and present a fairly conservative appearance.
~ ~ ~

While sitting alone in the library during my daughter's orchestra practice, I'm proofing my manuscript by reading it aloud from a paper copy. I picked a spot away from other people in a large commons area, and am using a super-soft voice.

An attractive girl with a short blond pony tail approaches me. She's an older teen with a nice appearance and soft look—no attitude showing here. She says, "Excuse me, I need to tell you something."

Curious for sure (and certain I wasn't loud enough to disturb anyone), I put my pen down to give her my attention. She says, "I'm madly in love with you." Her glance darts to someone outside my line of vision.

I'm always up for a good, harmless practical joke. What's more, I subscribe to the philosophy that we're the arms and mouth of Jesus to share His love, and that the more you share the more it's multiplied. So I stand up and say, "Awww. I love you too, Sweetheart." I go up to hug her. She neither laughs nor pulls away, but gives me back a nice, genuine hug.

I follow her eyes to some not-quite-so-clean-cut-looking teens. They're dying—laughing. The XXL one is lying on the carpet and he's rocking back and forth—ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing).

We're the only ones in the area so I call to them, "I guess you picked the wrong person for a joke. Weren't expecting that, were you?"

The girl has already started toward them. She stops to turn and smile warmly, then says, "No, you were exactly the right one."

Her name is Maryanna. I expect I won't forget her.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Freelance: FALL

"I have seen the heavy load God has given
To the children of men with which to humble them:
He has made everything beautiful in His time;
He has also set eternity in their mortal hearts."
~ King Solomon

Friday Freelance: FALL


Any other month of the year, Colorado beats Michigan hands down. Give me sunny over cloudy, mountains over water, and active over sedate.

But not in October. Michigan was made for the season of apple orchards and cider mills, when wood stove fires and flannel sheets appear inside, boots and sweaters outside. And leaves? Michigan has trees the way Colorado has mountains. I scarcely notice the uncomfortable chill in the warmth of autumn color.

Here the Lord lets loose with gold as pure as a refiner's and oranges so florescent they glow. There isn't a shade of red missing, everything between stop-you-in-your-tracks fiery vermilion to deep purple. Throw in a rare day of sunshine with sky of blue flanked by earth of brown and green, and there isn't a color of the rainbow missing from the divine pallette.

Fall is my favorite season—but not for its glory. Now is the time of completion. The new life of spring brings hope after barren winter. After the grimy toil of summer, autumn is hope realized. Small seeds have produced fruit in abundance, and this is therefore the season of giving thanks.

And let us not grow weary while doing good,
for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)

My heart has been heavy all week for my precious friend Jennifer, an Iowa farmer's wife. They've had some difficulties this year, and have yet to reap a harvest. She recently wrote about their hope in God through all of it: "Why We Don't Give Up." She and her husband have inspired me to see this particular autumn in a different light.

Twenty-one years ago this month I told the Lord He could have my life and I'd serve Him. With His strength and leading, I've been sowing, watering, and working the land by putting His Word in my heart, praying without ceasing, and digging up the weeds of sin in my life.

It has seemed summer would never end. I've longed to see fruit in the areas of my life which have commanded my attention. I've fought off weariness, toiling exhaustively. The point came when I, like Jennifer's husband, said simply, "God is in control ... God's got it." I let go.

Without me noticing, I entered a season of harvest. Seeds nearly forgotten now bear fruit. The humble things, from which I expected least, are what is producing most. I scarcely notice the uncomfortable challenges in the warmth of bright color. You see, the Lord has surprised me with glorious and varied hues of praise He's put in my life (next Friday's post).

This season might last another fifty minutes or another fifty years, before autumn also ends and a time of rest comes. If I'd like to continue reaping fruit, I must likewise continue to be faithful in those things which brought me here. And I may yet see fruit where I've sown but not reaped.

Having entered it, I am content to have my life remain in the season of fall.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

As One Dead

"When you judge another person,
you do not define him or her, you define yourself."
- Wayne Dyer

As One Dead

Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses ... "Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?" ... So the anger of the LORD was aroused against them ... suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow... So Aaron said to Moses, "Oh, my lord! Please do not lay this sin on us ... Please do not let her be as one dead."
Numbers 12:1-2,9-12 (NKJV)

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; and she despised him in her heart... Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.
1 Chronicles 15:29; 2 Samuel 6:23 (NKJV)

Where do you see barrenness? Is there a person, a relationship, or a church you know of which lacks spiritual life, as one dead or dying?

Is a critical spirit present?

Here are two biblical examples of a critical spirit leading to quenched life. It is a simple matter of sowing and reaping. Critical words tear people down, robbing them of life. Those who speak them are likewise robbed of life.

Ironically, a common response when recognizing that someone has judgmental and critical spirit is to ... judge and criticize the person. Do you see a problem here? If we want to reap spiritual life, we must consistently sow words of life and love. (I speak as one who's lived on both sides of the problem.)

Perhaps the people who need such words most are the critical and judgmental ones, who need an example of someone gently and lovingly sharing with them where and why things are amiss.

Father, thank You for looking at Your children without condemnation. Please let us see one another through eyes of love first, and then with discernment of how to speak words of healing and peace. Please fill our hearts and mouths and keyboards with words of life.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Complaining or Groaning

"We're human beings, not human doings."
~ Doug Spurling

Complaining or Groaning?

Now when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; for the LORD heard it, and His anger was aroused.
~ Numbers 11:1 (NKJV)

... but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
~ Romans 8:26 (NKJV)

It appears all was going well for the Israelites at this point. No war, no famine—no challenges? Perhaps they took for granted their freedom from harsh bondage, and the Lord’s provision and protection, and started whining about lesser blessings they thought they had coming.

Whatever their circumstances, the people complained without cause, and angered the Lord.

Moses, on the other hand, had a real problem. We aren’t told his tone of voice, but his words seem to complain plenty. (His entire prayer is in Numbers 11:11-15.) He sounds downright accusatory against God:

So Moses said to the LORD, "Why have You afflicted Your servant? ... the burden is too heavy for me. If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now ...!" (Numbers 11:11,15 NKJV)

Yet the Lord responds to Moses' groanings with aid, not rebuke. Moses is so overwhelmed he doesn’t want to go on. And there is something in Moses’ heart which the Lord accepts.

Words do have power. But experts in communication assert that only 7% of what we communicate comes through in words themselves. 38% is in tone of voice, and a whopping 55% is in non-verbal cues such as facial expression and posture.

In prayer, words give substance to our communication—for our sake. God Himself hears the heart. He is not swayed by us saying or doing the right thing. His own heart is moved because we are being in relationship with Him.

Oh Father in Heaven, You know our hearts and understand well that we come to the place of being too spent to pray as we ought. Thank You for sending Your Spirit to bring before Your throne prayers You receive. Please make our hearts one with Your Own.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Monday, October 12, 2009

By Day or By Night

"I do not know what the future holds,
but I know Who holds the future."
~ Unknown

By Day or By Night

So it was always: the cloud covered [the tabernacle] by day, and the appearance of fire by night... Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud was taken up, they would journey. Whether it was two days, a month, or a year ... At the command of the LORD they remained encamped, and at the command of the LORD they journeyed.
~ Numbers 9:16,21-23 (NKJV)

O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself;
It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.
~ Jeremiah 10:23 (NKJV)

I've always enjoyed being spontaneous—as long as an idea sounds fun and I have a choice. I've otherwise planned ahead, with everything neatly in its own organized cubbyhole, necessary resources on hand for contingencies, and the calendar comfortably arranged.

Parenthood happened. I adjusted—mostly. Shortly thereafter I became involved in ministry, and learned how to flex for a slew of situations. Then my husband John (a police investigator) started working on-call hours, and in a moment's notice whatever semblance of order our household precariously maintains may be thrown out the window.

It took me a while, but I finally got it through my head that since God is Lord of my life, He's allowed to arrange my calendar and change my schedule. He may inconveniently disrupt long-planned vacations, important appointments, or simply thoughts of a nap.

The Lord has an exhaustive list of interruptions—among them sickness or injury, emergencies minor or major, relationship crisis—any of them my own or a third party's. Death seems to visit with unusual frequency, whether of family member, friend, or complete stranger who requires the police in attendance.

If I choose to see unwelcome circumstances as random fate, I will pout and be discouraged and maybe even rant a tantrum in my frustration. If I choose to see everything outside my free will to control as within God's predestined control, I can receive it as His plan to work good in my life.

Like the Israelites, I need only be attentive to His presence, ready to move when He says "Go!" and wait when He says "Stay."

Lord, thank You for always planning ahead, and always purposing good in Your perfect timing. Please help all of us to receive from Your hand whatever You give and whatever You take away, ready to bless Your name for it.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Predestination and Free Will

"Now I have a peace
I've never known before
I find myself complete
My heart is spoken for."
~ MercyMe*

Predestination and Free Will

"Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the children of Israel, and the Levites shall be Mine."
~ Numbers 8:14 (NKJV)

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
~ 1 Peter 2:9 (NKJV)

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure ... for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
~ 2 Peter 1:10-11 (NKJV)

"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day."
~ John 6:44 (NKJV)

As the Lord's ever-interesting timing would have it, I write this post while also having a stimulating email discussion with Sarah M. Salter about predestination.

I absolutely believe in predestination. I also absolutely believe God gives us the free-will to refuse the destiny He has offered us.

Here in Numbers, the Lord selected the Levites as His Own, to serve Him. Examples of unfaithful Levites abound. Those who refused their destiny perished because of it.

We did not come to Christ unless the Father chose to draw us. It is our place to accept His offer in faith, and make our call and election sure—or not.

I did include more Scriptures than usual today, and allow them to speak for themselves rather than say more. I invite discussion in the comments.

Father in Heaven, thank You for selecting those You've made Your Son's. Thank You for the ability to accept the gift You offer. If any reading these words have failed to do so, please lead and enable them to be certain with you that their calling has been made sure. Please send Your Spirit to enlighten our understanding and enable our diligence.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
* Lyrics of "Spoken For" © 2002 Simpleville Music

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Heaven on Earth

"In Christ the best is always yet to come.
Always. No exceptions. Forever."
~ John Piper

Heaven on Earth

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, [Jesus] answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you."
~ Luke 17:20-21 (NKJV)

But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.
~ 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (NKJV)

This is a follow-up to yesterday's post
, which asked readers to consider what they would do if given the chance to do absolutely anything humanly possible.

The idea was to evoke thoughts of what Heaven on Earth might be for each of us. I intentionally stated the question without mention of Heaven so that we'd simply think in earthly realms.

So today I ask a follow-up question: How do you think we can presently experience part of Heaven on Earth? How do you experience Christ in a way that the kingdom is within you now?

Precious Abba, the life we have in Your Spirit is so rich and real and it restores us to You. How wonderful the day we stand in Your physical presence! Please open our eyes to see all the ways we live in Your kingdom now.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Seven Saturdays

"Life isn't a journey to the grave, arriving safely ...
but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up and worn out,
loudly proclaiming, 'Wow! What a ride!' "
~ Bill McKenna

Seven Saturdays

My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.
~ Psalms 63:8 (NKJV)

I'd love to hear from you today. (Please?)

If you had a week to drop out of life
with all relationships and obligations happily on hold
to do anything you want (humanly possible)
to go anywhere you want (no time travel allowed)
with money, permission, or skill being no obstacle
(you could ride the space shuttle or perform at Carnegie Hall)
and you can keep only something you've created yourself
(do-it-yourself house remodel is a Yes, Porche is a No)
but there's no guarantee of safety ...

What would you spend your seven Saturdays doing?

And be sure to stop back for tomorrow's follow-up question.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Freelance: FEIGNED

"It ain’t no disgrace for a man to fall, but to lie there and grunt is."
~ Josh Billings

Friday Freelance: FEIGNED

I've got this theme for Fridays—one word titles beginning with the letter 'f'. I usually know what I want to write and figure out what 'f' word dovetails into the theme. This time, the Lord gave me the word first: Feigned.

I didn't want to do a word that means false. If you want to rile me, misrepresent the truth. But that 'f' word kept coming to mind over the last few days when I asked the Lord what to write about this Friday.

Okay. I'll work with it.

A number of people have suggested I make blog posts more personal, because they're more interesting and more applicable that way. So I've been trying that. After recently talking about myself for several posts, though, I feel a little disgusted. Partly because this blog is supposed to be about building up you—Christ's body—not me. Partly because I want to put attention on Jesus, not me. Partly because I want to talk about things good and pleasant, not me.

Now please don't start thinking about all the nice things you're going to put in the comments. I appreciate that a number of people think well of me, even though I have yet to figure out how to handle compliments graciously. That's not what this is about.

Today's post is about the fact that I don't want to continually drag readers through the grime of my life. Yet if you don't know the grime is there, then all of this really does feel feigned.

I love the Lord. I wish I spent more time with Him. I used to consistently spend a two or three hours every morning indulgently reading His Word and praying. I loved it. I want to get back to that place, instead of the less than an hour it's become. Because the more time I spend with the Lord, the more clearly I discern His voice, the more solidly I begin my day with dependence on Him, and the more powerfully I'm equipped with His Spirit for every aspect of life.

Yet I don't quite manage it anymore. When I do, distractions take over far too easily.

The results are more marital conflict. I'm less patient and attentive with my children. I minister to others with canned goods rather than fresh fruit more often than I want to. My words, my actions, and my initiatives have more of me mixed in and less of the Spirit. And my temper? I let myself get riled, and then I'm likely to be anything but gracious.

I still walk in the Spirit. I talk to God and rely on Him throughout the day. But like punching the gas pedal on 4 cylinders and expecting to accelerate smoothly onto the freeway with V-8 horses, I can feel the difference. I may even stall and falter if I push too hard.

I'm human. But I also dislike being in this place. And I wonder how much is lost to me, to you, to everyone else whose life I touch because I'm still learning to walk the walk that I talk. Like sand slipping through my fingers, each day slips into eternity minus what might have been.

This post feels like a bit of a downer to me. I apologize for that.

Whatever else my other posts have been, this one's anything but feigned.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Lord Bless You

The Lord Bless You

"The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace."
~ Numbers 6:23-26 (NKJV)

Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
~ Psalms 103:1-2 (NKJV)

The Aaronic Benediction from Numbers 6 is used to this day by rabbis and Christian pastors alike to bless their congregations. But the Jews also begin their prayers in blessing, with the words "Blessed are You O Lord our God." (Baruch ata Adonai Elohei-nu)

Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God using all within you, and the second greatest to love your neighbor as you love yourself.

It seems many people think the words "I love you" either awkward or overused. So I've made it a habit to bless the Lord and bless people, as an expression of love. I'm as creative as possible, and speak a blessing in the form of a prayer. One of my favorites (I forget where I heard it) is "God bless you real good."

In the movie
Flywheel, a pastor blesses a car salesman with the prayer, "And Lord, I ask that you treat Jay just like he treated me today." Jay knows he just swindled the pastor, and is filled with fear of God answering the prayer. He begins reflecting on his deceitful ways, and ends up turning his life over to the Lord. And thus the pastor's words lead to blessing, just as he originally intended. Funny how blessing might work out.

Would you be willing to speak blessing to someone today?

And by the way, God bless you real good.

Blessed are You, Lord! You've poured out forgiveness, healing, and satisfaction. Thank You. Thank You for sending people to read these words, however they happen to be seeing them. I pray for all these people that You'll bless them in a new way today, and that You'll do it in such a manner that they know it was You.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


"When you live in the past, it costs you the present."
~ Carol Baird


"When a man or woman commits any sin ... he shall make restitution for his trespass in full, plus one-fifth of it, and give it to the one he has wronged. But if the man has no relative to whom restitution may be made for the wrong, the restitution for the wrong must go to the LORD ..."
~ Numbers 5:6-8 (NKJV)

Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold."
~ Luke 19:8 (NKJV)

The Lord’s law given through Moses directed that restitution include additional damages. He also provided not only that restitution be paid to a surviving relative, but that in the absence of one restitution be made to God—for He owns all people and therefore all debt, and God has no statute of limitations after which no restitution is appropriate.

In Jesus we may obtain forgiveness for sin itself. But like Zacchaeus, in our freedom from sin’s debt we realize the desire to also restore others. If restitution for past sin can be made, it is fitting to do so.

When one considers all the trespasses for which one might pay restitution, the past becomes an oppressive burden too heavy to bear. But our compassionate Deliverer makes allowance for restitution which time or distance or resources prevent making. He allows us to pay to Him the restitution which sets us fully free from the past. (And when we forgive others, we are likewise set free from being debt holders by releasing collection to God.)

How is restitution paid to God? Like the hymn author who gratefully recognized the great and amazing grace he’d received, each of us can say, "Oh to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be."

It is a debt paid back in love.

Father God, we thank You for making allowance for ALL the debt of our sin. Thank You for the precious blood of Your Son, for which we cannot too often express our gratitude. Thank You for granting freedom so fully. Thank You for compelling of us our debt of love with Your love.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.