Blog Archive

Monday, May 31, 2010

Lessons on Emptiness from the Movie 300

The theme for today’s blog carnival (hosted by Bridget Chumbley) is “Emptiness.” Visit her site for thoughts from others.

"Freedom isn't free at all.
It comes with the highest of costs—
the cost of blood."
~ Queen Gorgo, 300

Lessons on Emptiness from the Movie 300

It is said that in heat of battle, a soldier fights not for country but for brother soldier. Yet if not for home and freedom, the soldier would not train for battle or go to war in the first place.

I appreciate the war movies which illustrate both, whether with the credibility of We Were Soldiers, or in the fantasy historical 300. In the latter, all of value to the men—sons, land, freedom—is represented in their women. The Persian enemy threatened, “We will make your women, your children our slaves.” Such taunts solidified the Spartans’ resolve to fight.

The queen of Spartan king Leonidas did not go with him to battlefield, but fought for him from her place at home, bolstered by the esteem He’d shown her. She was privy to talks with foreign diplomat—a man slain by Leonidas for insults capped with disdain for his queen. In hour of decision, after consulting others, Leonidas came to her who knew him best, and she articulated the cause in his heart: “Fight not as a king ... fight as a free man.” For his cause she sacrificed her dignity to a traitor yet remained above degradation. She appealed with eloquence to the council authority who could give her king support. Leonidas took courage in death with the words, “My queen, my wife, my love.” When the time came to lay down his life, the message he sent was the simple request, “Remember me.”

Call me a na├»ve romantic or out of date for my perspective. In this world, a woman’s foremost purpose is still as champion of the men in her life—be they father, son, brother, husband—empowering them with respect, sacrificial action, worthy words. A man’s foremost purpose is esteeming the love of his life and everything of value she represents with the laying down of his life, whether with his blood or in day to day sacrifice. Neither death nor degradation should threaten our resolve.

Is it possible that we live with emptiness in our souls because we seek to fulfill ourselves in lesser purposes?

"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
~ Ephesians 5:31-33 (NKJV)

There is a far greater reason for the soul’s emptiness—its God-shaped void.

Temporal romance awakens us to the divine romance. This love story is of the mighty Prince Who creates a magnificent home for the love of His life. He patiently woos His love for many years, and finally betroths her to Himself by defeating with His shed blood the evil dragon which has long tormented her. He asks as He lays down His life, "Remember Me."

We are the love of His life, and our purpose is to be constant champions of His cause, shown in our great respect for Him, sacrificial action, words of appeal to the authority of the Father. The world may degrade us, yet if we are humble we remain above it.

We feel emptiness when we seek fulfillment apart from the cause of our King. We also feel emptiness in separation from our King. But unlike the queen of King Leonidas, we are assured of our Lord's return, and He remains with us through His Holy Spirit.

They said to the LORD, "We have sinned! Do to us whatever seems best to You; only deliver us this day, we pray." So they turned from their idols and served the LORD. And His soul could no longer endure the misery of His people.
~ Judges 10:15-16 (author paraphrase)

I believe that God’s great love for us creates a humanity-shaped void in His soul. I believe He knows misery in His soul in our separation from Him. It begins to be satisfied when we are reconciled to Him, and give His Spirit a home in our hearts.

But until the day all separation ends, our God shares our emptiness.

This post is dedicated to all the military and civilian personnel who have given their lives to protect us and our freedoms. They have my profound gratitude, on Memorial Day and every day.

Your feedback is appreciated. Post to Comments or e-mail to Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Image from the movie 300, © 2006 Warner Brothers Pictures

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Question of the Week:
Why Forgive?

“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
~ Mark Twain

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Why should someone constantly forgive someone they love OVER and OVER for the same thing? At what point would the smart choice be to leave? ~ Anonymous

Oy vey what a question! Where to start?

Let’s begin by talking about “smart.”

Smart follows this logic:
God is wiser than I am.
God loves me and wants to bless me.
Therefore, doing what God says is good for me.

God’s greatest act was a response to humanity’s greatest need. Our greatest need is not for joy, or peace, or even love. Our greatest need is for the forgiveness which makes joy, peace and love possible. God provides what we need to obtain His forgiveness and receive freedom from our sins (through the death of Jesus Christ); He also directs us to forgive others so that we obtain freedom from the sins committed against us.

Forgiveness acts in cooperation with God toward His blessing.

Among the biggest objections to forgiveness are:
1) What about justice?
2) What about putting a stop to sin?
3) What about protecting the person being hurt by sin?

1) Forgiveness means allowing justice to be handled by the proper government, church, or perhaps family authority. Where no authority seems able or willing to enact justice, it must be left in the hands of God. As a former police officer, a former church board member, and a daughter, wife and mother, I can attest that human authorities all fail at perfect justice anyway. We should nonetheless seek their intervention as appropriate, remembering that final justice and vengeance lies solely in the hands of God, whose decision is perfect. To seek our own vengeance on any level is to accuse God of being inadequate.

2) Putting an end to sin requires repentance. An authority might compel outward repentance. We can ask for sincere and inward repentance. But the thorough heart repentance which puts an end to sin is possible only through God, with the cooperation of the offender.

3) Sin will always hurt someone. Sin and suffering are part of life on Planet Earth. When sin is overtly abusive, it is certainly appropriate to make attempts to protect those it injures. But instead of asking “when is it smart to leave?” the question is “what is the next step?” There is no way to anticipate all the next steps and their timing except by asking God. The person who is willing to act according to God’s plan will get answers from Him:

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
~ Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NKJV)

Here are a few more reasons to forgive:

• sin is against God, and owned by him; to forgive is merely acknowledging His ownership and allowing Him to deal with sin
• forgiveness sets both parties free
• failing to forgive causes bitterness, which harms its holder
• we repeatedly sin against God, needing His forgiveness "over and over"
• forgiveness does not remove accountability
• forgiveness does not remove the need to rebuild trust and relationship
• forgiveness does not remove consequences

This is an extremely brief piece on the hardest thing we are asked to do. I did another, guest post earlier this week on forgiveness, titled “Divine Gift.” A number of questions about forgiveness were posed, and I provided additional answers in the comments there. I invite you to look at them if you’re interested in further thoughts. You’re also welcome to ask as many more questions as you’d like in the comments below.

© 2010 Anne Lang Bundy
Image source:

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This post originally appeared at Bullets & Butterflies. To see additional comments, click here.

Friday, May 28, 2010

For Beauty, if She is Listening

This has been an exceptional week. In over two years of blogging, it is the first week I've posted on three other blogs, but not my own. (Am I blessed to have these kind of opportunities or what?)

Sarah M. Salter might be a little sassy now and then. I've heard her called Sarah Mae more than once. She's a missionary at home and abroad. She's beautiful inside and out. She has a sensitivity and empathy for women who have been deeply hurt, especially by men.

I share that empathy.

Three weeks ago, Sarah gave me a unique privilege by posting a piece from me titled, "
For Guys Only." Today, she has hosted my companion piece. Here is how it begins:

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Beautiful woman, you have an enemy in your life, and he’s not any one of the men who have hurt you.

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
~ 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)

Your enemy hates you because God uses you to birth and nurture life—relationally, perhaps physically too.

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You will find the rest of my words at my sweet friend Sarah's blog, Living Between the Lines.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Divine Gift

"I am full-fed and yet I hunger.
What means this deeper hunger in my heart?"
~ Alfred Noyes

Back in the 90's I was asked to teach a ladies Bible study for four months. So I arranged to be away from my infant and toddler one morning a week and began presenting classes which dug into Scripture. Within three weeks, social attendees lost interest, while one serious student kept coming. Though I was saddened that others didn't share my passion for God's Word, it didn't bother me a bit to write lessons for just one person with an earnest desire to understand the Bible.

Blogging has been a wonderful way to connect with delightful people who love Jesus. My very favorite encounters are with those hungering to know Him more deeply. I'd do all this work for just one of them. It's been a privilege to meet many of them.

Wendy Paine Miller is one of those people. The beauty she expresses outwardly is the overflow of her soul's beauty. I'm blessed to have as a friend this intelligent lady who hungers to know God. I'm honored by her invitation to guest post on the topic of forgivenes. Please follow me to her site, "All in a Day's Thought," for today's post—
Divine Gift.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hiding Place

You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.
~ Psalms 32:7 (NKJV)

Music reminds us that we were created for another place.

When we do not feel at home on the earth, we find the Lord to be our Hiding Place.

"You are My Hiding Place" by Selah, © 2004 Curb Records

Friday, May 21, 2010

Question of the Week:
How Do Christians KNOW?

“How do I know that God exists?
It would be much harder for me to prove that He doesn’t.”
~ Mary McFarland

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How do Christians KNOW that God exists? Anonymous young girl, Napa Valley, California

There are so many proofs of God’s existence that the Bible says God doesn't believe in atheists:

What can be known about God is clear to [people] because he has made it clear to them. From the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly observed in what he made. As a result, people have no excuse.
~ Romans 1:19-20 (

Although the Bible supports them, the ten proofs presented here also exist independently of the Bible.

CONSCIENCE Romans 2:14-15
God gave Ten Commandments to define right behavior. But humans also know inside their own hearts when they have done wrong. The experience of guilt comes from the Creator. (See remarks on C.S. Lewis, below.)

CREATION Romans 1:18-21
Only the existence of God explains creation, whether the vast universe or the incredible amount of information stored in tiny DNA—whether life’s impossibly delicate balance or the beauty of nature explained only by a divine Artist. Scientists can neither prove nor agree on the origins of the universe and of life, but science supports everything in the Bible.

CIRCUMCISION Genesis 17:10-11
Over 4,000 years ago, Abraham began to practice circumcision—cutting off a piece of skin on male genitals—as a sign of covenant with God. This testifies of God because it is impossible that men would think of it on their own or do it to themselves for something less than faith in God.

COVENANT Deuteronomy 4:27,31; Rom 11:25-26
God promised that He would preserve His people Israel forever. They have endured slavery, captivity, diaspora, exile, occupation, pogroms, holocaust, and terrorism. They regained sovereignty in 1947 for the first time in over 2500 years. No other people has survived so much. It has been said by many people that Israel's existence is sufficient proof of God’s existence.

CHRONICLES John 20:30-31
The Bible is foremost the Word of God. It is also a legitimate historical record among numerous others. We know about the existence and words of other people based on their writings and those of firsthand witnesses. The existence of God and of Jesus and of what they said and did are more widely attested by historical chronicles and archeological finds than any other person.

CRUCIFIXION John 15:22-24
The Romans used crucifixion as the most horrific death possible. Historical records confirm the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. He had opportunities to avoid being crucified, and the Bible shows that His own will was for God to spare Him from it in some manner. His submission to crucifixion testifies that He did it in obedience to God and love for mankind, not as a victim of the Jews or Romans.

CONFESSION 1 Corinthians 15:17,19
Hundreds of people confessed to seeing the divine and living Jesus after He rose from the dead. Their testimony is reinforced by their willingness to undergo persecution, torture and death. It is not reasonable to believe they would die for something they did not know to be true with certainty.

CHARACTER Matthew 5:16
While no Christian is as good as Christ Himself—and some claim to be Christians who are not—the character of Christians is often so loving that it defies explanation apart from God.

COUNSELOR John 14:26-27
Those who entrust themselves to Jesus receive His Holy Spirit (“Counselor”). They know the change He produces in their lives, and the power He gives them to be whom God asks them to be and to do what is otherwise impossible.

CONVICTION Mark 3:29; John 16:8-11
Jesus said even those who are not Christians receive conviction (internal knowledge) from the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit’s truths and proofs are so powerful, Jesus also said that those who defame the Holy Spirit will be eternally condemned.

Many people have attempted to prove that God does not exist. A prominent example is C.S. Lewis, the atheist who was converted to Christianity by the simplicity of morality being present in the human conscience but having no explanation in the absence of holy God. The classic Mere Christianity is his resulting book, with more detail and eloquence than this post. I highly recommend it to Christians and non-Christians alike.

© 2010 Anne Lang Bundy
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This post originally appeared at Bullets & Butterflies. To see comments, click here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Kiss—Grace This

Today’s post is part of the blog carnival hosted by Bridget Chumbley on the topic of Grace.

A Kiss—Grace This

Kiss of Creator
breath of life
dust made man
divine image reflected
all senses perceive
gifts in abundance—
Grace this.

Kiss of Word
Almighty called Friend
righteousness by faith
promises of hope
covenants for eternity
everlasting love known—
Grace this.

Kiss of mother
infant fist curls
glory’s cloak shed
exchanged for flesh
divinity treads earth
Heaven’s angels wonder—
Grace this.

Kiss of betrayer
smites one cheek
other cheek torn
denials pierce ears
brethren’s scorns assault
sin’s curse crowns
hands of healing
stretched between spikes
heart of love
broken and pierced
Beloved yet forsaken
spikenard still clings—
Grace this.

Kiss of Sonlight
empty crypt mine
death safely entombed
guilt’s shame too
raised from perdition
to resurrection life—
Grace this.

Kiss of Spirit
comforts from within
Water softens clay
for stretching, shaping
vessel of beauty
worthy of Light—
Grace this.

Kiss of Fire
cleanses and transforms
clay becomes crystal
pits hold gold
trusted Potter’s touch
cradles His treasure—
Grace this.

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Thanks to the poets in my life who challenge forth my own inner poet:

Your feedback is appreciated. Post to
Comments or e-mail to Copyright 2010 Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved..
Image copyright
Kelly Langner Sauer, used with permission. (Thanks Kelly! :D)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Aren’t You Listening, Lord?

"Patience is the ballast of the soul
that will keep it from rolling and tumbling
in the greatest storms."
~ Charles Hopkins

Aren’t You Listening, Lord?

The burden which the prophet Habakkuk saw.
O LORD, how long shall I cry,
And You will not hear?
Even cry out to You, "Violence!"
And You will not save.
Why do You show me iniquity,
And cause me to see trouble?
~ Habakkuk 1:1-3 (NKJV)

Habakkuk carries the burden which accompanies being a prophet: he sees certain atrocities through the eyes of the Lord, yet lacks the Lord’s comprehensive perspective of all else. Habakkuk knows in his heart that God has a plan, but he grows impatient to see it materialize. His words amount to an exasperated, “Aren’t You listening, Lord?”—as if to provoke the Lord to act and prove Himself attentive.

His rant spent, Habakkuk must now face the Lord. He knows full well the Lord heard him. One can feel the prophet’s chagrin as he pauses:
I will ... watch to see what He will say to me,
And what I will answer when I am corrected.

The Lord does not rebuke His servant. Perhaps He is satisfied with such acknowledgment. Perhaps He feels the same exasperation with evil. Perhaps the harsher revelation to follow (chapter 2), of judgment upon the nation, is sufficiently punitive, as evidenced by Habakkuk’s response:
My body trembled;
My lips quivered at the voice;
Rottenness entered my bones;
And I trembled in myself
... (3:16)

Even so, Habakkuk concludes thus:
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The LORD God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer's feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.

Do you weary of what is not right in your life? Do you come to church seeking answers and walk away with more questions? Have you cried out to God and accused Him of stalling though He hears? Have you dared, as Job and Abraham and David and Habakkuk did, to question God—then caught yourself as you remember to Whom you speak?

These men waited long upon the Lord for an answer. They eventually received the reward of their faith. But along the way, the answers were not always what they expected.

Ancient of Days, all eternity lies before you. We are frail children of dust, who live in the moment. Please strengthen us to wait upon You. Please give ear to our cries.

Your feedback is appreciated. Post to
Comments or e-mail to Copyright 2010 Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Friday, May 14, 2010

Question of the Week:
Default Destination

"Whoever be our people here—God's people or the devil's—
death will gather our souls to them."
~ Thomas Boston

If a child is sanctified by their believing parent, what about the children of the unbelieving?
~ Anonymous

This question was posed in response to the following statement from last week's Q&A about baptizing infants:

If infants are not baptized, are their souls in jeopardy? The Bible indicates that children are "sanctified" (made holy) by the believing parent (1 Corinthians 7:14). There is no indication of up to what age such sanctification continues. It might be: until an unspecified age of accountability; until a specific age of recognized maturity such as twelve or twenty; or for as long as the child remains in the believing parent’s house, under their "covering" of authority.

There is an ancient principle observed to this day in some cultures which offers protection to someone brought under the covering offered by another person. When Paul's ship faced destruction, God told him that all who sailed with him would be protected, and Paul warned the centurion: "Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved." (Acts 27:31 NKJV) Ruth asked Boaz to bring her under his covering: "Spread the corner of your garment over me." (Ruth 3:9 NIV) The principle was explicit when Lot brought two men into his home in evil Sodom: "Do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof." (Genesis 19:8 NKJV)

In numerous biblical examples, a person entering the walls of a city not only received the covering of protection from that city, but the entire city might be either spared or destroyed due to that person's presence—unless that person left the city. This is why the Lord did not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah until righteous Lot (whose name means "covering") had departed from those cities. When Lot's wife looked back, she was displaying continuing alliance to Sodom and its wickedness rather than to her husband and his righteousness, so she was also destroyed.

I believe this principle is employed in the Scripture which speaks of children being sanctified by the faith of just one parent. The word "sanctified" means "made holy," which indicates a change from another condition.

We all start out evil.

Although humanity wants to see itself as basically good, we are inherently evil. We want to see infants as innocent, but they are born with the parents' DNA for evil. If at least one parent has been sanctified by the blood of Jesus and made holy, children are brought under the covering of the parent's faith and protected. If neither parent has been sanctified, then children have no spiritual protection from condemnation until they obtain sanctification on their own. (It cannot be obtained by baptizing them, because baptism is a personal testimony—see last week's post.)

My guess would be that this spiritual covering extends until children separate themselves from the parent spiritually in some way. Each individual must make a decision to turn from evil toward God, and obtain sanctification for oneself. If this occurs while still under the parent's covering, then there is no "lapse in coverage."

If it seems harsh for an infant to suffer condemnation, it might help to shift our perspective from an entitlement mentality which thinks Heaven is our right. Heaven is not the destiny for everyone who doesn't opt out, but the destiny of those who choose to be reconciled with their Creator and opt in. Heaven would be no better than Earth if filled with unsanctified, unholy, evil people.

God does not force people to dwell with Him for eternity who are united to those who oppose Him. Earth is the place to determine our alliance.

© 2010 Anne Lang Bundy
Image source:

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This post originally appeared at Bullets & Butterflies. To see additional comments, click here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


"True friends don't spend time gazing into each other's eyes.
... they face in the same direction—
toward common projects, interests, goals—
above all, toward a common Lord."
~ C.S. Lewis

Fishing can be a good business—and dangerous business. Consider this true story.

Jack got into the fishing business, and was a phenomenal success. He was a natural around water, and had a God-given gift for knowing what the fish would bite on and bringing them in.

Jack helped his younger cousin Josh break into the business, and Josh did even better at it than Jack—though both bachelors poured everything back into fishing and lived little better than vagrants. Jack was an orphan and Josh was somewhat of a family outcast. Although the two didn't spend a great deal of time together, a strong bond existed between them. In matters of the soul, they had only each other.

Jack's small business showed up his big business competitors, and they didn't take it kindly. Their friend Conlan happened to be a judge connected to the organized crime which had infiltrated local officials. It became known to Conlan that Jack made some unflattering remarks about him. Jack soon found himself arrested on false charges, and wound up getting killed while he was in jail.

The death devastated Josh. He took a day off work when he heard about Jack. But his demanding business wouldn't wait. He found himself called back on the job before the day was out—his grief pushed aside.

The same mob people involved in Jack's death also took a strong dislike to Josh. He soon found himself dodging the local officials. He tried to warn his coworkers, but they didn't grasp the seriousness of the situation, not even when they saw Josh narrowly sidestep attempted hits on his life.

In the end, the mob got to Josh by paying off one of the coworkers he considered a friend. When thugs came after him, Josh protected his frightened coworkers by surrendering, alone, without a fight. He didn't die quickly like Jack had, but was tortured by the mob pretty gruesomely before they finally killed him.

Jack and Josh both lived hard lonely lives, and both died alone. But before they left this world, they both managed to inspire the men they worked with to excel as fishermen—or fishers of men.

Of course, Jack was better known as John—John the Baptist. And Josh is known as either Yeshua or Jesus in the 21st century. Colan means "hero," as does the name Herod. He was indeed a hero of the rich and powerful, who to this day oppose Josh and His fishing business.

Whether or not one makes fishing for men a full time occupation, life can be incredibly dangerous, lonely, or fraught with distress. Jesus warns us to expect hardships, and He understands them, because He experienced them on a magnitude we'll never know.

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
~ John 15:15 (NKJV)

Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You are our Friend. Thank You that we never face hardship alone.

Your feedback is appreciated. Post to Comments or e-mail to Copyright 2010, 2008 Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Trust

“Every mother is like Moses.
She does not enter the promised land.
She prepares a world she will never see.”
~ Pope Paul VI

Mother's Trust

All your children shall be taught by the LORD,
And great shall be the peace of your children.
~ Isaiah 54:13 (NKJV)

A Psalm Of David.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
~ Psalms 103:1 (NKJV)

Please forgive the poor quality of the above photo. It is a couple-three years old. It is one of my very favorites, of my three youngest children with their mother.

The little guy, Daniel, is now five. He was learning the Lord’s prayer about a month ago. In typical manner, he didn’t get all the words right at first. In non-typical manner, he confused not the sound of the words, but which word to use. He said, “Our Father in Heaven, blessed be Your name.”

He remembered. He understood.

We don’t immediately send the kids to children’s church on Sunday mornings, but keep them with us during praise time, sitting in the back so I can talk quietly to Daniel as we sing. I used to help him recognize words he knows on the big screen—Lord, Jesus, God, love. Now he spots them himself and excitedly points them out to me.

So it was only natural that he’d more easily remember from singing it, “Blessed be Your name.” And really, I was more happy to hear from a child’s lips that particular blessing of the Lord.

I wish he’d been slower to learn “hallowed.” I absolutely did not tell him he got it wrong those two or three times he said “blessed,” because it was so very right.

Oh Lord my God, I bless Your name. Please let the first words to escape my lips each morning and the cry of my last breath be of blessing You. Whatever else is learned by the children You've entrusted to my teaching, may they know to bless Your name without fail.

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Shameless or Shameful?

I love to write and have been told it's my gift. I hope to someday be published, that such a gift might more widely share what the Lord teaches me and give Him glory. I want writing to be a means of God-promotion.

To be published requires a certain amount of self-promotion, regardless of Who or what one really wants to promote. It's occasionally called "shameless self-promotion"—perhaps to make us writers a bit more comfortable with it.

Today I'll engage in self-promotion, for you to decide if it's shameless or shameful.

I was honored yesterday to guest post for my friend Sarah Salter on her blog Living Between the Lines. To check out the totally cool new look on her blog and read my post, visit "For Guys Only."

I was also honored and quite surprised to win a contest for (ironically) promotion of my novel. If you're curious about details, visit "Mile High Scribes."

All glory and gratitude to the Lord God Almighty for His work in the life of His servant!

All thanks to those of you who are such an encouragement to me.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Question of the Week:
Infants & Baptism

Where in Scripture does it talk about infant baptism? Or is it just a human tradition?
~ Archie Palmer, Burlington KS

The last directive from Jesus before He returned to Heaven appears in Matthew 28:19 (NKJV):

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you."

To whom and how baptism is done—as part of making disciples—is a point of difference among denominations.

Scripture only speaks of baptism being performed as a response of faith, by those old enough to do so. Consider Acts 16:32-34 (NKJV):

Then they [Paul and Silas] spoke the word of the Lord to him [the jailer] and to all who were in his house... And immediately he and all his family were baptized... and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

This passage has been used to explain baptizing infants, since “all his family” were baptized. But the context indicates that these were people who listened to the Gospel and “believed.”

Some churches baptize infants, then practice “confirmation” when a child is older and can testify to faith. But this is generally done collectively, for an entire class, rather than at an individual’s initiative. It tends toward confirmation by default—unless one chooses to opt out—rather than in accordance with the biblical example of opting in.

The biblical ritual for infants comes from the command of God given to Moses in Leviticus 12. Males were circumcised on the eighth day. Then after a male was forty days old or a female was eighty days old, the mother brought an offering to the Lord. Jesus is presented at the temple (Luke 2:22) in accordance with this command. Thus the practice in many churches today is of dedicating an infant (or young child) to the Lord.

If infants are not baptized, are their souls in jeopardy? The Bible indicates that children are “sanctified” (made holy) by the believing parent (1 Corinthians 7:14). There is no indication of up to what age such sanctification continues. It might be: until an unspecified age of accountability; until a specific age of recognized maturity such as twelve or twenty; or for as long as the child remains in the believing parent’s house, under their “covering” of authority.

Do you have a question about the Bible or Christianity? Leave it in today’s comments to be considered for a future post.

© 2010 Anne Lang Bundy
Image source:

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This post originally appeared at Bullets & Butterflies. To see comments, click here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Miserly with Misery

Today's post is part of the Blog Carnival hosted by Bridget Chumbley on the one word topic "Joy." Click the link for more great posts! :D

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

Miserly with Misery

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven ...
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance ...
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 (NKJV)

I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.
~ Philippians 4:11 (NKJV)

There is a time to permit sloppy emotions to spill onto those around us. When we rejoice with dancing and laughing, it is no time to be selfish. When we mourn a great loss, we should not attempt to carry the burden alone, but allow others to lovingly share it.

Then there is the time for everyday weeping. Affliction is a fact of life—a consequence of living in a sinful world which God promises to use for good.

And though misery may love company, the loving person will be miserly with misery rather than carelessly splattering it all over the place. Misery is best shared with those we trust to love and comfort us, who are strong enough to help us carry it rather than be infected with it, who are wise enough to dispel rather than duplicate it.

A good way to dispel misery is to adopt joy when it isn’t being birthed naturally.

The fourth chapter of Philippians is filled with uplifting words, written by Paul while he was imprisoned. Though in chains, Paul encouraged, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” He used the Greek verb chairo, meaning to be full of cheer, to be calmly happy, to rejoice.

Chairo is also expressed as the noun charis, translated quite simply as “grace.”

To adopt joy is to do no more than acknowledge with gratitude the great and many unearned and unmerited expressions of lovingkindness from benevolent Creator to us. It is to know when and how to share deep misery, and the ability to reach into our souls for much deeper contentment and instead share that with both God and fellow man.

Among the other words of encouragement Paul spoke from that prison were these:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV)

My friends, amid affliction, I say to you from my own “much deeper contentment”—Rejoice!

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

My Praise

Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth;
Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises...
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands;
Let the hills be joyful together before the LORD.
~ Psalms 98:4,7-8 (NKJV)

The whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying:
" 'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!'
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"
And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples." But He answered and said to them, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out."
~ Luke 19:37-40 (NKJV)

My Praise

Well before dawn can be perceived on the eastern horizon, a cacophony of birdsong begins to rise heavenward to greet the light, the melody of rain its accompaniment.

Such song of praise to a loving Creator likewise compels my praise, which is wholly inadequate, and something more of an aching sigh.

These words come close to the sound of that sigh.

Lord, I wish I could praise You with adequate words
But You leave me speechless
And I so long to sing You the song You deserve
But it would be endless
I long to move Your heart
To bring You something new
To tell how great You are
Till my praise to You

Is like an ocean breeze blowing on Your face
Like a summer sun with its warm embrace
Like a gentle rain plays a symphony
That's what I want my praise to be
Like a fragrant rose in the early spring
Like an eagle soars when it spreads its wings
Whatever, Lord, You may need from me
That's what I want my praise to be
To You

Everything I could give, You already possess
Lord, I'm so unworthy,
I'm just one of the millions to stand and confess
And yet still You hear me
Your heart is open wide
You long for what I bring
I pray somehow You'll find this simple offering

Is like an ocean breeze blowing on Your face
Like a summer sun with its warm embrace
Like a gentle rain plays a symphony
That's what I want my praise to be
Like a fragrant rose in the early spring
Like an eagle soars when it spreads its wings
Whatever, Lord, You may need from me
That's what I want my praise to be
To You

Oh I want my praise to be
Like the breeze, the sun, the spring
Oh I want my praise to be
Like the eagle spreads its wings

Your feedback is appreciated. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
"My Praise" by Phillips Craig and Dean lyrics © 2003 Sparrow Records