Blog Archive

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Eternal Realities

"Live near to God, and so all things will appear to you
little in comparison with eternal realities."
~ Robert McCheyne

Eternal Realities

Behold, a door standing open in heaven ...
"Come up here, and I will show you things ..."
~ Revelation 4:1 (NKJV)

And they never rest day or night, saying,
"Holy, holy, holy,
Holy, holy, holy,
Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
He who was, and who is, and who is to come!"
Whenever the living beings give glory ... the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and they worship Him that lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne ...
~ Revelation 4:8-10 (EMTV)

In the first three chapters of Revelation, the apostle John describes Jesus' appearance to John while he's on Earth. Now, John is taken "in the spirit" to Heaven, to receive the perspective of angels.

The angels here use the word "holy" nine times (Greek Majority Text), in three sets of three. In Scripture, the number three represents "solidity, divine perfection, entirety, substantiveness, Godhead." The number nine represents "the conclusion of a matter." *

God's people praise Him for attributes such as love and mercy, and thank Him for salvation and blessing. Angels of spiritual realms, able to see God in contrast to all else, exalt Him as "holy"—utterly good, set apart, pure and perfect—both here and in Isaiah 6:1-3.

Perhaps angels use the word nine times to emphasize the conclusion of the matter. In any case, the crowned saints who are present respond by falling down in worship and casting down their crowns—the prize of their perseverance—before the only One worthy of a crown.

The knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
~ Proverbs 9:10 (NKJV)

The day is at hand for all to be concluded, for faith of things unseen to become sight, for us to know the Holy One.

Lord God Almighty, please help us catch a glimpse of Your perfection and of eternal realities, to sustain us in the mire and chaos of temporal realms.

* From Numbers in Scripture, E.W. Bullinger (Kregel, Grand Rapids, © 1967)

I appreciate hearing from you. Questions are welcome. Reply to comments or e-mail me—my address is
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Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Monday, August 30, 2010

Dare Mighty Things

"Far better is it to dare mighty things,
to win glorious triumphs,
even though checkered by failure,
than to take rank with those poor spirits
who neither enjoy much nor suffer much,
because they live in the gray twilight
that knows neither victory nor defeat."
~ Theodore Roosevelt

"I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth."
~ Revelation 3:15-16 (WEB)

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

Jesus says He prefers even a cold person to lukewarm. Among the various thoughts for the meaning of "cold" are hostile and unsaved, angry and arguing, sinful and in need of discipline, broken and distant. Whichever His meaning, Jesus can evidently work with dynamic coldness, while His reaction to lukewarm is vomit it out. (The King James says "spew," the NIV "spit.")

What brings the person who was once hot or cold to become lukewarm? Just sitting, without movement or risk. Vibrant Christianity carries the risk of disdain, outright rejection, loss of favors, poverty, persecution, even death. And personal sacrifice is a daily cost.

To risk or sacrifice nothing might mean no cost, but it also means no gain—and no value. Those things which cost us the most time, drive, and sacrifice are the things we come to value most. We are anything but lukewarm about them.

Lord Jesus, You paid the greatest price of all history to leave glory and purchase us. You are worth any cost, whatever the pain or sacrifice. In moments of hesitation, please embolden us to dare mighty things. Please let us see the spiritual cost of turning away.

I appreciate hearing from you. Questions are welcome. Reply to
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Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Sunday, August 29, 2010

O The Deep Deep Love Of Jesus

Lord, I've asked in the past if I could have a spot in Heaven not too far from the King, even if it's just scrubbing out the corner with a toothbrush. I'm not particularly interested in Heaven's other locales or pleasures.

Then I consider how undeserving of Your grace I am, and I feel I can't ask for even that much.

All the same, I know that You love me, and that You know my love for You. And I want to say that I don't care a whit about Heaven unless I'm with You, in Your presence, taking in the fullness of Your vast, unmeasured, boundless love. I'd rather spend an eternity on Earth in only Your Spirit's presence than to be Heaven without You.

O The Deep Deep Love Of Jesus

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me,
Is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth,
Changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches over His loved ones,
Died to call them all His own
How for them He intercedeth,
watcheth over them from the throne.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Tis a heaven of heavens to me
And it lifts me up to glory,
For it lifts me up to Thee!

I appreciate hearing from you. Questions are welcome. Reply to comments or e-mail me—my address is
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Words of "O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus" by S. Trevor Francis, 1875.
Arrangement recorded by Selah © 2004 Curb Songs
All other content Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Angry at God, Angry with God

Angry at God, Angry with God

By some unfathomable mystery of grace, there’s not once in my life I can recall being angry at God. I mean, He’s God. What He says goes. What He does is right and good and perfect.

Certainly I’ve questioned Him, though with decreasing frequency as the years pass. The more I know Him, the more I either understand Him or know better than to try and understand what He doesn't reveal when asked. And when I ask about something, I can trust He'll reveal as much as I need to know. It's okay if He gives no more than what the “Serenity Prayer” asks:

God give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

With time I've learned that the serenity to accept the "things I cannot change"—or circumstances—is grounded in belief that the Lord is good and wise and controls the circumstances beyond my control.

The last year brought a number of difficult circumstances into my life.

Last autumn, for the first time, I had a fleeting moment of being angry with God before I came to myself and the anger was gone. I wish it had stayed gone. But that was just the beginning of a time of intense testing. By spring, there were more moments of being angry with Him. Though few enough to count on one hand, they evidence my pride—my desire to be in control.

This time of testing seems to be behind me. I didn't do as well on all parts of the test as I might like. But I do see a difference between being angry at God and angry with Him. To be angry at Him would be to see myself faced off with Him as an opponent. I've never seen Him as my adversary—not in the most painful moments of recent months, not during the last 23 years of walking with Him, not even before I met Him in 1985, when ignorance prevented me from knowing myself to be His enemy. I believe that even when I was His enemy because of my sins, He was still on my side, setting me up for the day I would come to Him for His forgiveness.

In this last year, I have still felt Him to be on my side. I never felt the coldness of anger at God. He was never for a single moment my opponent. When I thought Him being a bit hard on me and it hurt badly enough for me to get angry, I was angry with God.

Because He was always there with me. There was never a moment we weren’t in it together.

I appreciate hearing from you. Questions are welcome. Reply to
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Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Friday, August 27, 2010

Question of the Week:
Does the Bible Require Tithing?

"If money be not thy servant,
it will be thy master."
~ Francis Bacon

What does the Bible say about tithing?
~ follow up to last week's question about prosperity theology

Tithing is repeatedly directed, in both Old and New Testaments.

But the follower of Jesus is given different directions.

Tithing's history begins with Abel's offering (Genesis 4:4-5), and the tithe by Abraham of one tenth of his spoils of war (Genesis 14:20). The Law of Moses required a tithe from both produce and animals (Leviticus 27:30-32). Jesus told the Pharisees that justice, mercy, and faith were more important than tithing even as He confirmed tithing as their obligation (Matthew 23:23).

Primary reasons for tithing are:
• to worshipfully honor God and express thanks for His blessings (Deuteronomy 26:9-10);
• to provide for the material needs of those who are set apart by God as His full-time ministers (Numbers 18:21; 1 Corinthians 9:11,14);
• to provide for the material needs of "the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow" (Deuteronomy 26:12-13; James 1:27).

Scripture indicates that refusal to tithe offends the Lord:

"Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings."
~ Malachi 3:8 (NKJV; also see Isaiah 43:23-24)

Those of us who belong to Jesus are not bound by the tithing directives of the Old Testament law, nor are we explicitly commanded to follow the example of the early church by selling our assets and owning everything in common (Acts 2:44-45; 4:32,34).

Nonetheless, 1) everything in the earth belongs to the Creator; and 2) Christians have been purchased by Christ. We own neither ourselves nor the material possessions given us as gifts (1 Corinthians 4:7). We are therefore held to a higher standard than simply tithing.

Jesus said the cost of following Him is this:

"So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple."
~ Luke 14:33 (NKJV)

And the reward of leaving treasures behind for Him is this:

"Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life."
~ Luke 18:29-30 (NKJV)

To forsake all we have may or may not mean saying goodbye to it. But at the very least, each of us might examine how tightly we cling to health and wealth, time and talents, even lands and loved ones. Tithing money (as well as time) is a good practice—but it represents only a starting place for stewardship of what the Lord has entrusted to us.

© 2010 Anne Lang Bundy
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: : :

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

Thursday, August 26, 2010

You Have Loved Righteousness

"God is the same Person yesterday, today, and forever;
but in the drama of the ages, He plays many parts."
~ Bob Jones, Sr.

You Have Loved Righteousness

"These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God ..."
~ Revelation 3:14 (NKJV)

But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness."
~ Hebrews 1:8-9 (NKJV)

The God of the Old Testament Who demands justice and the God made flesh in the Jesus Who heals are the the same faithful and true God, unchanged and unchanging since the Beginning of creation. He has always hated sin and loved sinners.

There is no more contradiction in the Word of God between Old and New Testaments than in the directions of a daddy to prohibit or prompt using the stove for the toddler and teenager. Different ages, different directions, same loving Father.

If the OT God seems harsh, consider if it is truly harsh is it to spank precious little fingers to prevent them being burned. If He seems judgmental, consider that justice would not be served to set a convicted murderer free to kill again.

Thus the person who makes claim to the payment of Jesus blood for his or her sin must repent of sin and love righteousness, or else one day face the same God Whose justice demanded Jesus' death—without the benefit of being clothed in Christ's righteousness at that meeting.

Those who read these words may not be the ones who need to apply them. But it's a sure bet that we know someone who has yet to have them lovingly explained.

Lord Almighty, our Shepherd and Savior and Sacrifice, please allow us to trust Your justice and rely upon Your mercy as we seek to know You fully as unchanging God.

I appreciate hearing from you. Questions are welcome. Reply to
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Will Keep You

I Will Keep You

"I know your deeds... I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name... I have loved you. Since you have kept my [word] to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth."
~ Revelation 3:8-10 (NIV)

Jesus speaks to the church of Philadelphia—"city of brotherly love." Philadelphia appears to have undergone not the persecution in which Smyrna proved faithful, but the trials of difficulty.

The purpose of a trial is to prove something: innocent or guilty; satisfactory or unacceptable; faithful or false. Jesus spoke in parables saying that those who claimed to be His would fall away in time of trial unless they were deeply rooted in Him, firmly established upon the rock of His Word, abiding in Him.

Have you endured a trial you thought would never end? Are you going through one now?

ἐτήρσαϛ τὸν λόγον τηϛ ὑπομονηϛ μού
"... you have kept the word of My patient endurance ..."

The Greek word used here for patience (see Monday's post) means to have hope and cheer through trying circumstances. Jesus asks us to stay under the trial, to keep faith in Him through it, to patiently endure it—and He asks us to have a good attitude which testifies of His goodness, not denying His name

He asks nothing for which He does not return much more. We endure weighty trials to prove our faith true. To us who keep His word to endure patiently, Jesus says, "I will keep you. I will keep you from the hour of severe trial."

Whatever difficulty you face right now, however fierce the fire, He is with you in the flames.

"Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? ... Look! ... I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God."
~ Daniel 3:24-25 (NKJV)

Son of God, You patiently, silently endured the fiercest trial of God's wrath on our behalf. In our hours of trial, please let us know Your presence by speaking in our ears, "I will keep you."

I appreciate hearing from you. Questions are welcome. Reply to
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How Many?

The theme for today’s blog carnival (hosted by Bridget Chumbley) is "Children." To see what others are saying, visit her site
"One Word at a Time".

"The life of a child is unconscious in its fullness of life,
and the source of its life is implicit love."
~ Oswald Chambers

I grew up as the oldest among nine children, then planned to have none after raising siblings, but wound up having five of my own anyway. My surviving brain cells have these random thoughts on children, and still recall a few words from others.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I appreciate hearing from you. Questions are welcome. Reply to
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Monday, August 23, 2010

Put a Lid On It

Put a Lid on It

Love suffers long [makrothumeo] and is kind;
love does not envy;
love does not parade itself,
is not puffed up;
~ 1 Corinthians 13:4 (NKJV)

She knows how to be silent [
She is full of trust,
full of hope,
full of patient endurance [
~ 1 Corinthians 13:7 (WNT)

We interrupt the book of Revelation for a brief comparison between endurance, patience, and longsuffering. This is entirely too fascinating not to share.

Among the fruit of the Spirit is longsuffering, often translated "patience." As my daughter Michaelle (age 16) says, "Patience involves suffering, so it doesn't really matter which word you use."

Fair enough—unless both words appear together, as they do in the 1 Corinthians 13 "Love Chapter," and you don't want to miss the difference.

Longsuffering (Greek feminine noun makrothumia, verb makrothumeō) means forbearance, long-suffering, self-restraint. It indicates patience in respect to persons, and is associated with mercy.

Patience (Greek feminine noun hupomonē, verb hupomenō) is more accurately called patient endurance. The noun is usually translated "patience," while the verb is usually translated "endure." It means cheerful (or hopeful) endurance or constancy. The word's literal meaning is "stay under" [a burden]. It is related to things or circumstances and is associated with hope.

In the above two verses, a third word occurs—stegō. Most translations render it "bears," as in "love bears all things." The word's literal meaning is "to roof over," or, "to cover with silence." In English idiom, the most literal translation of stego would be, "put a lid on it."

Lesson over. We'll return to Revelation on Wednesday after tomorrow's blog carnival.

Lord, please help readers of this blog be patient with me for all the times I tell You how much I love Your Word. :D

I appreciate hearing from you. Questions are welcome. Reply to
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Sunday, August 22, 2010


a psalm [by] David
when he was in the wilderness of Judah
O God [Elohim]
my God [El-iy] thou
I seek thee
thirsts for thee my soul
faints for thee my flesh
in a land dry and weary
where no water is
so in holiness
I have looked upon thee
beholding thy power and glory
because better thy steadfast love than life
my lips will praise thee
so I will bless thee as long as I live
on thy name I will lift up my hands
~ Psalm 63:1-4
(From the Analytical Key to the Old Testament
word-for-word English translation of the Hebrew)

The following words were posed on Facebook by my sister:

What can you not live without?

I didn't think of stuff I treasure most, such as photos of loved ones or wood stove. Neither the corner of our cozy house reserved to me for writing or the niche I call my prayer closet came to mind as favorite haunts. Whatever else I'd call "mine," I know I can live without it if pressed.

But not my Bible.

It's my lifeline. Much of it is hidden in my heart and goes with me everywhere. But much I can't remember. And there's not a single word in there I don't need, because every one came from the heart of My God—**El-iy. I thirst and faint for every bit of Him bound up in the Scripture. To open its cover (or click open its program) provides a thrill of anticipation.

I have to have Him. I can't live without Him. Though He is the One to own me, He gives Himself in return. Even in the moments when my Bible and I are separated, He can't be taken from me. I'll never have to contemplate living without Him.

He is mine!

Thank You, Lord, for simply allowing us to know You.

I appreciate hearing from you. Questions are welcome. Reply to
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Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Good Wine

The Good Wine

We polished off dessert, my family and our charming company. While finishing my Turkish coffee I noticed my glass of dinner wine had not yet been emptied. That last swallow of Riesling caused me to recall this verse:

And he said to him, "Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!" (John 2:10 NKJV)

God created wine for many blessings. In biblical culture, while grain was a necessity for bread to sustain life, the wine of grapes indicated the pleasant life. The grapevine required a level of care one could afford only if already well fed. The cistern water was more healthy if purified with the alcohol of wine. Wine at a celebration could not be enjoyed unless all else was well. Betrothal and marriage covenants were sealed with wine.

Throughout the Scriptures, wine was commended as a gift from the Lord to indicate prosperity and well being.

He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the service of man,
That he may bring forth food from the earth,
And wine that makes glad the heart of man,
Oil to make his face shine,
And bread which strengthens man's heart.
~ Psalms 104:14-15 (NKJV)

Like any blessing, in biblical culture or modern, wine is perverted when used wrongly. Cheap wine in particular is likely to be purchased in greater quantity which invites drunkenness, while fine wine is sipped and savored at a quantity and pace which discourages excess.

Jesus' first sign at Cana mirrored His last sign at Calvary. Good wine introduced the good news of His arrival when presented near wedding feast's end, inviting it to be savored and remembered. At His last supper's end, our Lord offered wine in departure, saying He would not again enjoy the fruit of the vine until He celebrated it with us in His kingdom. He called that last wine His blood, sealed His new covenant with it, and introduced the Good News of salvation with it.

Whenever we eat the bread and drink the wine of Christ's covenant, we proclaim the death of the Lord Jesus, we signify our commUnion with Him and one another, and we look forward to the wine Jesus will one day share with us.

Yet again, Jesus is saving the very best wine for last.

I appreciate hearing from you. Questions are welcome. Reply to
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Friday, August 20, 2010

Question of the Week:
Name It and Claim It?

Jim Bakker,
once a prominent prosperity gospel proponent,
who fully renounced that doctrine
after reading the entire Bible for the first time
while incarcerated for fraud

“What is the prosperity gospel I keep hearing about?”
~ Nina, Daytona Beach, Florida

Please forgive me for removing the capital "g" from that question, Nina, but the message you speak of—the prosperity theology also spoken of with terms such as "health and wealth" or "name it and claim it"—is anything but The Gospel.

The Gospel of Jesus says that the children of God Almighty—those reconciled to Him through the blood of Christ, who are adopted as His heirs—receive riches exceeding their highest imagination, beginning with forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The prosperity gospel takes that truth and applies it to material wealth and financial prosperity, relying upon this Scripture in particular:

"Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,"
Says the LORD of hosts,
"If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it."
~ Malachi 3:10 (NKJV);
(also see Deuteronomy 8:18; John 10:10; 3 John 2-4; Romans 8:32)

Because of the emphasis on tithing, the people most "blessed" by prosperity theology are those collecting tithes, purportedly to further ministry in general and healing in particular. Listeners are told that if they tithe with sufficient faith, they can name a Bible verse and claim its blessing for themselves, obtaining desired health and wealth.

But the Lord always defines true riches in spiritual terms ...

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
~ Ephesians 1:3 (NKJV);
(also see Psalms 119:71-72; 1 Corinthians 2:9)

... while He speaks of the desire for money as a snare to God's people ...

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
~ 1 Timothy 6:9-10 (NKJV);
(also see Mark 10:23-24; Matthew 6:19-20;
Luke 6:24; Luke 12:33-34;
& Proverbs 30:7-9—my personal favorite)

... and He describes material wealth as simply one more of the gifts we're given as a test to see how we'll use it:

Parable of the Talents
Matthew 25:14-30

Thus it is good to prosper in health and wealth, so that we have an abundance to put to use for building up God's true kingdom. But it is dangerous to desire to be rich or love money—the fundamental doctrine of prosperity theology.

Concerning why Christians aren't always healed in response to prayer, see "Why No Healing?"

Next week: Is tithing a requirement of Christianity?

© 2010, Anne Lang Bundy
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: : :

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

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Key of David

(click image to enlarge)

The Key of David

"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, 'These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens ...' "
~ Revelation 3:7 (NKJV)

"The key of the house of David
I will lay on his shoulder;
So he shall open, and no one shall shut;
And he shall shut, and no one shall open."
~ Isaiah 22:22 (NKJV)

In ancient times, keys were worn upon the shoulder, similar to the manner in which insignia of military rank is worn today—a fitting indication of authority and control over something of value.

As Jesus addresses His church in the city of brotherly love, He reminds them that He holds keys to His kingdom, that He holds absolute authority and control over everything—and also that He is holy (Greek hagios – pure and perfect, ultimate goodness personified) and true (Greek alēthinos – genuine and reliable, utterly trustworthy).

Now then, what is that matter over which you are wrestling with the Lord right now? What is He asking you to endure, or overcome, or release? Will you trust His goodness and reliability?

If you trust Him for eternal life, how much more might He be trusted for the temporary stuff in the meantime?

Just asking ...

Lord, please forgive us for all the times we hesitate to live with faith in Your goodness and wisdom. Please help us to follow You through the doors You open, and accept the doors You shut.

I appreciate hearing from you. Questions are welcome. Reply to
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

God Does Not Bluff

Silk Apple Blossoms

God Does Not Bluff

"And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, 'These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: "I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead... He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels." ' "
~ Revelation 3:1,5 (NKJV)

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?
~ James 2:14 (NIV)

There are some realistic-looking plants which look nice and require no attention. They also bear no fruit, fragrance, or even life.

Jesus walks, sees and works in the spiritual realms of angels (stars) and Spirit. He looks beyond outward appearances to the heart. There is no exuberant praise, no eloquent prayer, no abundance of works which can adequately cover for dead faith which lacks spiritual fruit.

I don't pretend to fully understand what the Lord Jesus means when He says, “I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life.” But I cannot think He speaks in only hypothetical terms. God does not bluff. His Word is to be considered with upmost regard.

There are too many places in the New Testament which speak of spiritual loss** to not at least entertain the notion that a person’s name might actually be recorded in the Book of Life and then be blotted out because spiritual life has not been cultivated.

What is certain is that “Christian” is not just a name for good reputation among people, but an identity established by life in Christ, so that He confesses our names before His Father and angels.

Father in Heaven, please let us revere You, Your Word, and the spiritual life You give. Please let us not be content to appear good, or to imply to other believers that it is sufficient to claim faith without spiritual life and fruit. Please guard us from hypocrisy. Please reveal truth to us.

** Other passages which refer to being cut off from God or loss of spiritual life include:
Luke 8:13
Hebrews 10:29
Hebrews 6:4-6
2 Peter 2:20-21
John 15:2
Matthew 22:11-14
Revelation 3:16
1 Timothy 5:12
Romans 11:22

I appreciate hearing from you. Questions are welcome. Reply to
comments or e-mail me—my address is
buildingHisbody [plus]
Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sleeping With the Enemy

(one worldly perspective)

Sleeping With the Enemy

"I have against you that you permit your woman Jezebel, she who calls herself a prophetess, to be teaching and seducing My servants to indulge sexual immorality and eat food of idols ... Look! I am casting her into a sickbed, and the ones committing adultery with her into great affliction, unless they repent of her works..."
~ Revelation 2:20,22 (author)

Last Friday's "Question of the Week" addressed the critical distinction between being in the world and of the world. God's declaration that this world is His enemy says that to compromise with the world is to commit spiritual adultery (James 4:4)—to be sleeping with the enemy.

Does any offense inflame a husband's wrath like adultery? We are surrounded with evidence that the seductive world lies in a sickbed. Jesus warns His bride that compromise with the world and its immorality results in great affliction for us as well.

"... all the churches shall know that I am He who searches minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works... And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations ..."
~ Revelation 2:23,26 (EMTV)

Jesus taught that those who prove faithful to Him during the world's era—who rise above the systems, standards and society of His enemy—shall rule over the world's cities during His reign (Luke 19:17). To the servant sleeping with the enemy, such authority would not be fitting.

Lord Jesus, the battle against compromise is difficult to fight while living in enemy territory. We desperately need Your perspective to see the world for the enemy it is. We need You Who searches minds and hearts to show us our compromise. Please purify us for Yourself.

I appreciate hearing from you. Questions are welcome. Reply to
comments or e-mail me—my address is
buildingHisbody [plus]
Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Wood sculpture "Success" from the Arnold Mikelson Mind and Matter Gallery,

Monday, August 16, 2010

Eyes Like a Flame of Fire

"An eye can threaten like a loaded and leveled gun,
or it can insult like hissing or kicking;
or, in its altered mood, by beams of kindness,
it can make the heart dance for joy."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Eyes Like a Flame of Fire

"And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, 'These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass ...' "
~ Revelation 2:18 (NKJV)

What child does not feel power in the eye of a stern parent?

What soul in love does not melt in the beloved's gaze?

What criminal does not know fear under the stare of cop or judge?

Do you remember a time you thought your actions unseen? Or when your thoughts, if displayed, would have shamed you? Or when you believed a certain sin could be forgotten?

The Son of God sees all, into the very thoughts of mind, emotions of heart, desires of soul.

Why do you say ...
"My way is hidden from the LORD,
And my just claim is passed over by my God"?
Isaiah 40:27 (NKJV)

Furthermore, when we suffer injury or offense or slander for which no one can compensate, which seems to pass unnoticed, we are assured that the Lord sees and already knows His intended remedy.

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is ...
~ Romans 8:26-27 (NKJV)

The "feet like fine [white] brass [alloy]" belong to the Jesus we've invited into our hearts. He has taken up enduring occupancy in His temple, walking where He wills, searching out every corner with His eyes like a flame of fire. He comprehends the questions we cannot articulate, shares our speechless grief, and receives the love we do not know how to put into words.

El Ro-iy, God-Who-Sees-Me, please let us discern Your presence in moments of temptation and when we think we cannot endure offense. Please let us welcome Your presence in every corner of our hearts, with delight in Your gaze.

I appreciate hearing from you. Questions are welcome. Reply to comments or e-mail me—my address is
buildingHisbody [plus]
Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Broken Inside

Lord, there are mornings when I come before You and feel too small and broken to know what to give You.

I am reminded that this is all You ask.

And so I give You myself, small and broken. And I say "Thank You for the cross," knowing it cannot be said too many times.

Jesus Christ, I think upon Your sacrifice
You became nothing
Poured out to death
Many times, I've wondered at Your gift of life
I'm in that place once again
I'm in that place once again

And once again I look upon the cross where You died
I'm humbled by Your mercy and I'm broken inside
Once again I thank You,
Once again I pour out my life

Now You are exhalted to the highest place
King of the Heavens, where one day I'll bow
But for now, I'll marvel at Your saving grace
I'm full of praise once again
Oh I'm full of praise once again

And once again I look upon the cross where You died
I'm humbled by Your mercy and I'm broken inside
Once again I thank You
Once again I pour out my life

Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the cross, my friend

And once again I look upon the cross where You died
I'm humbled by Your mercy and I'm broken inside
Once again I thank You
Once again I pour out my life

Lyrics "Once Again" by Matt Redman & Tim Hughes © 1996 Thankyou Music

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Last Laugh of Revenge—YouTube Edition

Every author loves the idea of writing a story which is one day made into a movie. Though I do write biblical fiction that I think would make a great movie, I don't expect to see such a day.

I'm quite content that one of my readers, the sweet and gentle Natasa, has compiled a YouTube video of the post I did on Tuesday. She apologized for her heavy accent. But I think it lends poignancy to the words she speaks.

Thank you, Natasa. You've honored me. May God return the blessing to you, and may He use the words to bring the healing of forgiveness.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Question of the Week:
Of the World?

What is the difference between “in the world” and “of the world”?
~ Max, Ormond Beach, Florida

Unless we understand that "the world" is God's confirmed enemy, the answer won't matter.

Planet Earth and creation belong to the Creator. The world is the system, standards and society of Earth, which all oppose the Creator with rebellion, disregard, and open hostility. Numerous Scripture passages about the world include statements such as:

We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
~ 1 John 5:19

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
~ James 4:4

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
~ 1 John 2:15

People of the world and people of God's kingdom may be identified by what they value:
• this life and its physical, temporal pleasures—or eternal life and its spiritual rewards which begin now and endure into eternity;
• darkness with its ignorance and immorality—or light with its knowledge of God and His holy righteousness;
• receiving praise—or giving God praise

For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
~ 1 John 2:16 (NKJV)

To answer the original question, few metaphors are as vivid as a ship in the sea likened to a Christian in the world.

God places His people throughout the world to make Jesus known. A Christian who is isolated from the world is like a ship which has been dry-docked—it may be a safer ship, but it has become useless. On the other hand, a ship put to good use spends plenty of time in the sea, and cannot help but get the sea on it and even in it.

How much sea in the ship is too much? A little salt water may corrode metal and eat sails. Some water in the hold may ruin cargo. A lot of water makes the ship less seaworthy, and may even sink the ship in a storm.

The sea must be kept out of the ship which is in the sea.

How much world in the Christian is too much? The world on us may corrupt our understanding of God's Word and ways. Some world in our heart compromises what we value. Lots of the world in us means we'll experience anxiety rather than peace, despair rather than joy, apathy rather than love. When one of life's storms hits, we'll go down quickly. (Matthew 7:24-27)

The world must be kept out of the Christian who is in the world—who is there to bring God's light and salvation to those drowning in the darkness.

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

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Two-edged Sword, Part II

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

Two-edged Sword, Part II

"These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: '... Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth... To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat...' "
~ Revelation 2:12,16-17 (NKJV)

The Word of God is sword of the Spirit and Jesus Himself. The gentle King on a donkey's foal is five times in Revelation depicted with a sword—the warrior King on a horse. Among those to feel His sword are those in the church who dare use His Gospel for personal gain (yesterday's Part I).

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

His two-edged sword cuts both ways. For those who love Him named Word of God, the sword which pierces to division of godly spirit from soul of flesh also brings peace and comfort; the sword which cuts away shackles of bondage brings both freedom and liberty; the sword which shall condemn to death God's enemies is life to His children.

Reading the Bible may first trouble a person as it reveals sin. But to then turn away from the Word allows sin to fester as an unattended infection. Staying in the Word and allowing it to complete its full work brings light and strength and treasure.

To stay in the Word is to find hidden manna to nourish the soul.

Lord Jesus—Word of God, Word of Life, Word of Hope—please give Your people a desire for all the gifts in You. Please let us never fear Your sword.

I appreciate hearing from you. Questions are welcome. Reply to comments or e-mail me—my address is buildingHisbody [plus]
Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Two-Edged Sword, Part I

"Look, I need that book... I grew up with it. I know it's power. If you read it then so do you... I don't have the right words to help them, but the book does... If we have that book ... Imagine how different, how righteous this whole world could be ... people would truly understand why they're here and what they're doing and they wouldn't need any of the uglier motivations..."
~ Carnegie, from the movie The Book of Eli
arguing for surrender of a Bible

"It's not [just a] book! It's a weapon! A weapon aimed right at the hearts and minds of the weak and the desperate. It will give us control of them... we have to have it. People will come from all over, they'll do exactly what I tell them if the words are from the book."
~ Carnegie, explaining to his thugs
the true motive for obtaining a Bible

Two-Edged Sword, Part I

"And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, 'These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: "I know your works ... And you hold fast to My name ... But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam ..."
~ Revelation 2:12-14 (NKJV)

The Pergamos church contained both people who lived by the Word of God, and those who used God's Word as a means for their own profit, as Balaam did.

The above quotes are from the post-apocalyptic movie The Book of Eli. Jesus warned that false teachers would dwell amid His flock as wolves in sheep's clothing, and would do so convincingly.

Paul likewise warned:

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money ... having a form of godliness but denying its power... always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Full context:
2 Timothy 3:1-7 (NKJV)

Christians need not avoid the church or eye all teachers suspiciously. If each of us intimately learns, lives, and loves the Bible, we will be able to weigh teachings against God's Word with firsthand knowledge.

I've mentioned this recently in a comment, and will say again: Don't believe what I say because I said it. Measure my every word against Scripture.

Don't follow me—please join me in following Jesus.

I appreciate hearing from you. Questions welcome. Reply to comments or e-mail
Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Images are from the movie "
The Book of Eli," © 2010 Alcon Entertainment

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Last Laugh of Revenge

The theme for today’s blog carnival (hosted by Bridget Chumbley) is "Laughter." To see what others are saying, visit her site
"One Word at a Time".

"Emotional Debris #2" by Maria Hoch"Revenge is a confession of pain."
~ Latin Proverb

Last Laugh of Revenge

Remember me?

You hurt me.

I gave you the power to hurt me because I trusted you with my affection and love—because I accepted such from you.

We were once close. We thought it would always be so.

Then you turned away. To cut off relationship is to cut off life and leave behind raw wounds. The wound does not heal without a tender scar.

Such painful scars birth desire for revenge. The Bible is a deep well of knowledge, instructing how to exact revenge—to heap heavenly coals of fire upon your head—and that is what I intend to do.

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
For so you will heap coals of fire on his head,
And the Lord will reward you.
Proverbs 25:21-22

You no longer accept the bread and drink of my fellowship when it is offered. So I instead give them to God, praying that He give unto you on my behalf, in whatever manner He sees fit.

Your power to hurt me is also power to heal me, held in the might of love given you from God Himself. If you chose to use it, you could perform miraculous healing of the ache in my soul.

"But I say to you, love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you."
~ Matthew 5:44 (NCV)

I likewise hold miraculous power, contained in the might of forgiveness. I freely give it, even if it means nothing to you. I ask it for you from God. Forgiveness means I cannot call you enemy, for I know my true Enemy. Forgiveness is liberty and power of life—the key to freedom from a prison of bitterness which steals life away.

Without forgiveness we cannot know love. We need life and liberty and love more than we need the very air we breathe.

In forgiveness you remain dear to me. In asking God to bless you, I vanquish Evil, even if you do not yet share the joy of conquest. Forgiveness from God ensures that you and I will one day look back from Heaven at this time, and we will share a good laugh.

In forgiveness I lay hold of divine revenge against my Enemy and live with anticipation of that last laugh.

"There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness."
~ Josh Billings

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Monday, August 9, 2010

First Death or Second Death?

"Death is not the enemy.
Living in constant fear of it is."
~ Norman Cousins

First Death or Second Death?

"These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: '... Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer... Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life... He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.' "
~ Revelation 2:8-11 (NKJV)

It's said that no one escapes death and taxes. It might appear that the crowd which is raptured escapes the former. But death is a requirement of every Christian disciple.

"If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it."
~ Luke 9:23-24 (NKJV)

Each of us must choose either the first death, of flesh, or the second, eternal death. The first is the willingness to live for the Lord Who purchased us, lay down one's life every day, and remain faithful to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ at any cost in a world which hates Him—and therefore hates us to the extent that we reflect Him.

"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you... If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you."
~ John 15:18,20 (NKJV)

We want to be liked. We want the world to see us with favor and receive our message. It is vital to remember that when those in whom God is at work for salvation see Jesus in us, they will find it pleasant. Those who have no use for God will find us repulsive unless we hide our faith.

Jesus speaks to those who accept the first death and reminds them, "Do not fear." He reminds us that He died first and is now alive, as we shall be. He promises:

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die."
~ John 11:25-26 (NKJV)

: : :

Lord Jesus, Who suffered the worst physical death—Who sacrificed more to live for us than we shall ever sacrifice to live for You—please give us Your perspective of death and life. Please empower us to make You first and last in our lives, and in both our daily and final deaths.

I love hearing from you. Questions welcome. Reply to comments or e-mail
Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

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WARNING: Image link contains graphic images of extreme torture.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
~ Psalms 119:11 (NKJV)


How does the human soul
comprehend that it is whole
for to it Your Spirit binds.

My joy You intimately know
only in You is it able to grow
fleeting happiness is not the same kind.

My griefs You also share
Rooted in sin and heavy to bear
You reveal the guilt which is mine.

No condemnation You hold
Your blood makes me white as snow
You bid me leave sorrow behind.

A tender heart of desire You need
Your Word is sown as Your seed
And conquest power I find.

I love hearing from you. Reply to comments or e-mail
Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Glimpsing Heaven

photo by Lavone' Vannoy

Our church held VBS (Vacation Bible School) this week. Instead of the age 8-10 kids I have for Sunday School, I this time assisted with 4 and 5 year olds. We had over fifty kids each night in just our group. What a challenge to constructively channel that energy!

One activity involved distributing a Bible or placard heart to each child, to be held up during a song. The first night we alternated, giving every other child a heart or a Bible.

The second night, kids make known their preferences for heart or Bible. We mostly followed the routine of the first night, making changes for the most insistent requests and moving on.

The third night, my heart said to offer each child their choice. Being an assistant, I hesitated. What if nobody wanted the heavier Bibles? I'd mess up the teacher's song. But the soft voice in my heart won out, and surprise! Bibles and hearts were distributed as equally as when we'd alternated, pretty evenly among both boys and girls.

My soul rejoiced. These small children had actually asked for heavy black Bibles when they had the choice to hold a lightweight colorful heart.

After the song I helped collect props. Passing out and picking up those volumes is a weekly task I do with little thought. As I laid Bibles down on the table, a last book in my hand seemed to come alive. I stared at simple paper and ink, bound in black hardcover, stamped with nine gold letters: HOLY BIBLE.

My heart quivered, suddenly overwhelmed with a feeling of awe and love. The closest way to describe what came over me is the feeling I had when I held one of my children for the first time. My eyes beheld a treasure of incomparable worth. Countless generations made great sacrifices of love to preserve the sacred power of life in my hands. How many millions of others across the globe and time have agonized to touch and hold and own what I've come to see as an everyday presence in my life?

Somewhat unnerved, I lay down that last precious volume. I turned to look at the group behind me. Why did half ask for a Bible? Do little children see something that adult eyes pass over?

I'd like to think that perhaps, just maybe, a little child glimpses Heaven more often than we think.

I'd like to think that perhaps, just maybe, the same is possible for us.

"Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."
~ Mark 10:15 (NKJV)

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Question of the Week:
What Kind of Sin is It?

What are the different kinds of sin? How are they overcome?

Last week's question addressed generational sin and the sources of temptation to sin: the devil, the world, our own desire.

The study of sin is as unpleasant as sin itself. After hours of studying dozens of words related to sin, I'm plenty sick of it. The types of sin might be narrowed down to the following categories:

Iniquity – general worthlessness and moral corruption within us
Ignorance – carelessly sinning or backsliding
Perversion – distorting God's ways
Betrayal / Transgression – knowingly crossing over to evil
Wickedness – deliberate, premeditated evil in rebellion against God
Miss the Mark – doing wrong simply because we fail to do right

One last word summed up everything: GUILTY.

For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
~ James 2:10 (NKJV)

How many crimes must a person commit to become a criminal? Only one.

How many sins makes us guilty of being a sinner unfit for Heaven? Only one.

Sin needn't be exhaustively analyzed to understand that we're sinners without hope of overcoming apart from the power of God. We don't defeat sin by studying sin, but by fixing our eyes on God and understanding His righteousness.

To overcome the eternal death penalty of sin:

• acknowledge that God is allowed to make the rules for His creation, and it is wrong to violate His rules regardless of any explanation we'd offer;
• admit to being a sinner and ask God for His forgiveness through Jesus Christ;
• resolve to turn away from sin (repent of sin).

Among the many ways to overcome the power of sin are these:

• acknowledge that God is wise and knows what's good, that He loves us and wants us to have true joy, that goodness and joy cannot be obtained apart from Him—and resolve to do God's will;
• faithfully read the Bible without ever believing that you know God well enough;
• cultivate dependence on God by continually praying to Him;
• when you sense God's Holy Spirit prompting you to action, yield immediately to increase His power;
• develop spiritual discipline by saying "no" to self-indulgence (fasting helps!);
• spend time with people who follow Jesus to strengthen a bond with Him;
• use caution to avoid being conformed to worldly influences.

I plan to address this last point next week in response to a question about the difference between being in the world and of the world.

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

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fragrance of Christ

"Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom ..."
~ John Henry Hopkins Jr,
from the 1857 hymn "We Three Kings"

Fragrance of Christ

"To the messenger of the church in Smyrna, write ..."
~ Revelation 2:8 (ISV)

This church bore the identity "Smyrna," a name meaning "myrrh"—the precious oil called one of "the best fruits of the land" of Israel, and a valuable oil which herbalists employ today. Myrrh was a perfume of royalty (King Solomon and Queen Esther). Myrrh is the base of the holy anointing oil used on the priests and throughout the temple—a unique perfume blend forbidden for any other persons or use.

Myrrh is the scent of God Himself, mentioned in a passage which also speaks to His desire of feminine beauty:

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom...
All Your garments are scented with myrrh and aloes and cassia ...
Listen, O daughter,
Consider and incline your ear;
Forget your own people also, and your father's house;
So the King will greatly desire your beauty ...
Psalms 45:6,8,10-11 (NKJV)

Christ's church is given a feminine identity as His bride. We are the royal priesthood of which Old Testamant priests and kings were forerunners. We are anointed with His fragrance:

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.
~ 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 (NKJV)

The fragrance of myrrh is called both "bitter" and "warm, rich, spicy balsamic." I find it quite pleasant, while others do not care for it.

People who use Christianity to attain financial gain, personal esteem, or to manipulate others do not bear the fragrance of Christ, and are rightly considered odious.

But make no mistake. Those Christians who put off the world and work to forget its enticements—who would bear the fragrance of Christ—will also be considered odious to those who don't care for Christ. We may expect to be persecuted for such an aroma.

More on that in Monday's post, which will look at the way Jesus spoke to the church of Smyrna.

Lord Jesus, anoint us freely with Your Spirit. Make Your fragrance of holiness sweet to us. Please allow us to bear it, and any persecution which may come with such a precious scent.

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