Thursday, May 31, 2012

Your Decease

Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease [exodus].
~ 2 Peter 1:15 (NKJV)

If there's any bigger invitation for ADD than opening a dictionary, it's gotta be opening my Bible and Bible dictionary. (That's especially easy if I use e-Sword, a phenomenal and free download, which requires I simply scroll across words to view the original Hebrew and Greek and obtain a quick Strong's definition.)

So as I was "Feeding Wanderlust" the other day, I stumbled upon the Greek word exodos, which Peter uses to speak of his approaching death (above). Jesus, Moses and Elijah used the same word in the discussion of Jesus' death back at His transfiguration (Luke 9:30-31), so Peter gets a little ADD himself and visits that incident as he weaves a parting message.

His brief (around 1500 words) epistle is a powerful apologetic for the reliability of God's Word, a dire warning against falling victim to false teachers, and a surprisingly contemporary description of end times.

But I digress. Back to the exodus each of us faces.

I dare not attempt to compose a more eloquent message than the commentary of Albert Barnes (1798–1870) concerning Peter's words. I present it here for your pleasure and contemplation.

"After my decease" – my "exodus," my journey out; my departure; my exit from life. This is not the usual word to denote death, but is rather a word denoting that he was going on a journey out of this world. He did not expect to cease to be, but he expected to go on his travels to a distant abode. This idea runs through all this beautiful description of the feelings of Peter as he contemplated death. Hence he speaks of taking down the "tabernacle" or "tent," the temporary abode of the soul, that his spirit might be removed to another place (2 Peter 1:13); and, hence, he speaks of an “exodus” from the present life - a journey to another world. This is the true notion of death; and if so, two things follow from it:
(1) we should make preparation for it, as we do for a journey, and the more in proportion to the distance that we are to travel, and the time that we are to be absent; and,
(2) when the preparation is made, we should not be unwilling to enter on the journey, as we are not now when we are prepared to leave our homes to visit some remote part of our own country, or a distant land …

Comments are welcome (including respectful disagreement) and will receive a reply.
You may also contact author via Twitter – @anne4JC
or e-mail – buildingHisbody [plus]
Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Exodus of a Warrior

With gratitude to God and the countless soldiers who have laid down life and given their blood for the cause of freedom …

Like genesis and deuteronomy, the word "exodus" is rooted in Greek rather than Hebrew. Though it literally means "exit," it is also used to refer to departure in death (Luke 9:31 and 2 Peter 1:15).

There are four kinds of exodus for the warrior.

The first is upon enlistment, when he (or she) exits the civilian life and gives himself to the defense of country, when his life ceases to be his own, when there is no longer an departure from duty and return home at each day's end.

The second is upon entrance to a foreign land, when he exits the beloved soil of all secure and familiar, when he is subjected to things alien and thoughts hostile.

The third is upon engagement, when battle and threat and terror comes to possess a warrior's thoughts and emotions, actions and words—when he exits the luxury of living in isolation of bloodshed and death.

The fourth exodus is the final exit from all service to country and duty to mankind.

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for those he loves.
~ John 15:13

Whether or not they choose to enlist, every man and woman is called to daily lay down one's life for loved ones and Beloved Lord.

Whether or not they choose to enter such territory or actively engage in this battle of life, every man and woman faces a final exodus.

More next time on that.

Your are invited to join my prayer in the meantime …

Lord, thank You for Your exodus from Heaven and exodus from life to redeem us. Thank You for inspiring men and women to fight for freedom. Thank You for thus far preserving our many freedoms in the USA. Please enable and direct our grateful service to You and to country.

Comments are welcome (including respectful disagreement) and will receive a reply.
You may also contact author via Twitter – @anne4JC
or e-mail – buildingHisbody [plus]
Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Memory Loss: The REAL Bad

In a land long ago and far away of another life, I wore a badge, carried a gun, and clad my feet in boots of thick black leather. The badge left a permanent thin blue line in the blood, the gun weighed heavily upon an indelible bruise, and the spit shine atop the boots belied the soil embedded in the tire tread.

Though my feet roasted all summer and were more cold than comfortable in winter, I refused to trade in over-the-calf protection and thick soles for the black sneakers or Thinsulate favored by some officers. No footwear could make the rare foot chase my strength, while everyday police work regularly took me into dark field and indoor debris which required more attention to arena than topography.

Thought of walking in rough terrain came to mind on a recent day, when I donned boots to crush the budding wasps nests I knocked down along our eaves. A couple of hours later I found myself driving across the bad side of town on an unexpected errand of assistance. When I stepped into the kind of building more familiar in the time I pledged “to serve and to protect,” I thanked God that I happened to be wearing thick soles.

"Take care lest you forget the LORD your God … when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses … "
~ Deuteronomy 8:11-12 (ESV)

Nestled in my comfortable nest of nearly grown babies and online co-workers, I sometimes forget the land where squatters and dopers inhabit charred shells of abandoned mansions, where overgrown city parks conceal dead bodies and two-footed predators.

I sometimes forget the severity and proximity of spiritual famine.

In the Bible, famine regularly followed the forgetfulness of prosperity. When Jesus noted how difficult it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, He stated the obvious. History has proven, time and time again, that wealth induces memory loss. The more we are insulated from need, the more we are inclined to forget our Provider until the day destitution overtakes us.

Give me neither poverty nor riches
Feed me with the food allotted to me;
Lest I be full and deny You,
And say, "Who is the LORD?"
Or lest I be poor and steal,
And profane the name of my God.
~ Proverbs 30:8-9 (NKJV)

Where lie your riches? What is your food? Whether financial, intellectual, emotional, healthful, influential, or relational, they hold the potential to pilfer your attention and reliance from God.

Drawing a blank on names and faces, failing to remember why you walked downstairs, and realizing that an important deadline has passed on are annoying forms of memory loss. They pale beside the memory loss that forgets to depend on God for everything from the next meal

Every step we take is in a world of rough terrain—not the topography of danger to body, but the arena of comfort which insulates us from hunger for God.

Infinite, almighty God, we desperately need You. Please open our eyes to spiritual destitution, whether within us or surrounding us. Let us not forget You, for even a moment.

Comments are welcome (including respectful disagreement) and will receive a reply.
You may also contact author via Twitter – @anne4JC
or e-mail – buildingHisbody [plus]
Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Memory Loss: The Good

"Give, and forget. Receive, and remember."
~ Unknown

In the last year or two, memory loss has begun to plague me. Connecting names and faces has always been an embarrassing weakness of mine, and it's becoming worse. Lists have become necessary to normal functioning—but not everything can be put on a list. Without the calendar and audible alerts on my iPod, I'd probably forget to leave the house at all.

Perhaps I've practiced forgetfulness for too long. I've worked diligently to erase from memory the sins of youth that the precious blood of God's Son has covered. The Lord has necessarily blessed me with an unusual capacity for forgiveness, and that gift also comes with the practice of not remembering. And I'm inclined to believe this: intentionally cultivating a grateful heart for God's many blessings makes one inclined to forget things clothed as a curse.

Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: "For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father's house."
~ Genesis 41:51 (NKJV)

If Joseph could forget at age thirty, there's probably little hope for me as I turn fifty. A primary cause of memory loss is medication side effects, but I don't take any and therefore have none to forfeit. Vitamins might help. But, of course, I forget to take them.

My only solution is prayer, with reliance on God to keep me on track. If the Lord allows my memory loss for no other reason, I'm willing to call it good.

Lord, please help me this day, and every day, to remember the most important things: You, Your Word, Your people. Please let me not forget anything You will me to do. Please give me peace about the rest. Please give this prayer to anyone else who needs it. Thank You. I love You.

Comments are welcome (including respectful disagreement) and will receive a reply.
You may also contact author via Twitter – @anne4JC
or e-mail – buildingHisbody [plus]
Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Feeding Wanderlust

Thirty years ago I traveled as often and as far as I could afford. The topper shell on my '82 Toyota pickup provided my roof. The cooler and sleeping bag and were all the kitchen and bedroom I needed. Each year I'd recruit a sibling or cousin to tour the West with me for a couple of weeks and see something new, my wanderlust incurable and never disappointed.

These days, I traverse the globe via the internet. My own humble blog is visited from Australia and Sweden, Indonesia and South Africa, Germany, France and Italy. I intend to one day see such places, and especially Israel.

But I will never get close enough to the land of Jonathan and Peter, Mary of Bethany and Abigail.

My daughter says I was born two or three thousand years too late. She sees clearly that my heart resides in a land and time captured in the pages of Scripture—that I could step into that place without missing a beat.

Full well I know that the Lord lives in no one time, no one land. I comprehend that the Holy Spirit living within me brings me as close to Him as if I watched the Red Sea part, heard Jericho's walls fall, smelled the incense of temple worship, felt the earth shake beneath Calvary.

But like the woman who reached out a finger to grasp the fringe of our Lord's garment, I perceive in my soul that if I could but touch the people and events that stir my heart when I read Scripture, power would flow to me.

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children …
~ Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (NKJV)

Perhaps I think that if I read Scripture long enough, hard enough, I will—like Alice in Wonderland—break through some mysterious barrier and step into its pages, touch its God, and, perchance, form a direct link from Him to my children.

We read the Psalms (sometimes Proverbs) together each night before bed. We study Bible (currently Genesis) for homeschooling. We listen together as the pastor preaches on Sundays. I sometimes blog through a Bible book (recently finished John), and I'm currently doing another, non-chronological, read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year outline (just started Deuteronomy).

My incurable wanderlust always searches to see something new. Anticipation seizes me whether I crack open dog-eared pages or click open one of my computer Bibles. I am never disappointed, except by the distance.

And I pray that in some miraculous way, God will grant to me the privilege of bridging that distance. I pray for you and for me that we might be conveyed across the time and miles into Scripture.

Comments are welcome (including respectful disagreement) and will receive a reply.
You may also contact author via Twitter – @anne4JC
or e-mail – buildingHisbody [plus]
Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Never Work Again

Do you ever read something in the Bible that seems unreasonable?

"And levy a tribute for the LORD on the men of war who went out to battle …"
~ Numbers 31:28 (NKJV)

My first impression of this directive was that it seems a little unfair to ask the guys who went to war to pay a tribute. It seems that the people who rested at home and still benefitted from the war should be the ones to pay the tribute.

What's more, God's law also required that soldiers returning from battle weren't allowed to immediately reunite with loved ones, but were first banished for a week as unclean for their contact with blood and death (Numbers 31:19).

The warriors evidently had no problem with all this. They were happy to be alive. They willingly paid the atonement price for doing their duty:

"Your servants have taken a count of the men of war who are under our command, and not a man of us is missing. Therefore we have brought an offering for the LORD … to make atonement for ourselves before the LORD."
~ Numbers 31:49-50 (NKJV)

Do we serve with as much grace in spiritual warfare?

Do we perceive the numerous conflicts we face each day as skirmishes in which we may prove that evil is overcome only with good? Will we allow ourselves to be humbled so that God may be exalted? Or do we think ourselves creatures designed for comfort and rest, who should be neither conscripted for war nor asked to pay its cost?

Our comfort comes not in the avoidance of conflict, but in approval from the Lord in how we meet inevitable conflict.

"Nothing is work unless you'd rather be doing something else."
~ George Halas

Our rest is found in embracing the Lord's will as our own.

Lord, make us worthy warriors. Allow us to see privilege in fighting for You. Please, Lord, enable us to enter Your will and Your rest.

: : :

For more on this thought, see "Anatomy of an Ephiphany."

Comments are welcome (including respectful disagreement) and will receive a reply.
You may also contact author via Twitter – @anne4JC
or e-mail – buildingHisbody [plus]
Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

You're Provoking Me

And the people spoke against God and against Moses: "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread."
~ Numbers 21:5 (NKJV)

Aye yi yi can you believe those Israelites? How on earth could they "loathe" (detest, be disgusted with, be weary of) the manna called "grain of heaven … bread of angels"? How many times would their congregation turn a blind eye to God's goodness and grace and give in to complaining without hearing His not-so-subtle "You're provoking Me"?

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
~ Hebrews 10:24-25 (KJV)

Quick question: What bugs you most about your church congregation? Or, if you don't have one, then ask what single most aggravating factor about your last congregation, or the church at large, has provoked you to the point that you don't belong to a church?

Consider that the congregation of Israelites missed out on a tremendous number of blessings because of their complaining. We will likewise become blind to blessings if we allow those in our own congregation to provoke us to the point of unfruitful complaining.

If we find a situation truly grievous, then perhaps God is "provoking" us to get involved in His constructive approach to its resolution, lest we become as much of a provoker as a provokee—unless, King James style, we provoke others "unto love."

Lord, You are only good. Please forgive our complaining. I ask for every person who reads these words, as we seek Your face, that You'd open our eyes today to at least one blessing we've been missing and cause us to thank You for it.

Comments are welcome (including respectful disagreement) and will receive a reply.
You may also contact author via Twitter – @anne4JC
or e-mail – buildingHisbody [plus]
Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Worship and Sacrifice

"This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD has commanded, saying: 'Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without blemish …' "
~ Numbers 19:2 (NKJV)

This verse describes what has long been one of the obstacles for modern day Jews to again establish temple worship and sacrifice: obtaining the ashes of a perfect red heifer for the water of purification.

In my heart there burns deep affection for faithful Jews, my fellow servants in the Kingdom of Adonai. While I, too, ache for the day when temple worship is restored to Jerusalem, I also know that the Lord Jesus has completed everything necessary for me to come before God to offer my sacrifice.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
~ Romans 12:1 (NKJV)

Worship may include our actions, but it is foremost the condition of the heart which continually bows before the Lord God of Israel to offer myself—all I am, all I do, all I have.

We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.… here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
~ from Hebrews 13:10-15 (NKJV) 

Comments are welcome (including respectful disagreement) and will receive a reply.
You may also contact author via Twitter – @anne4JC
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Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Friday, May 4, 2012


While all four Gospels include the account of Peter's denial of Jesus, only Mark—(consistently distinguished by attention to intriguing detail)—notes that Jesus said Peter's three denials would occur before the rooster crowed twice.

And when [the servant girl] saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, "You also were with Jesus of Nazareth." But he denied it, saying, "I neither know nor understand what you are saying." And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed.
~ Mark 14:67-68 (NKJV)

Can you feel how torn Peter might have been? Though willing to fight, the possibility of defense with a sword has been eliminated. He is no doubt alert, yet weary after a night of pitifully little sleep. Having been singled out as a lone and defenseless disciple of Jesus among powerful enemies, Peter moves away from the fire to the porch (or vestibule) where he might be both a step away from his exit, yet still in proximity to His Lord.

Having denied His Lord once, does the cock's first crow signal a reminder warning of Jesus' prophecy? Perhaps Peter even considered leaving, but convinced himself he would not fail again.

I began this post thinking of the importance in heeding the warnings we receive—those promptings from the Holy Spirit to speak up when we will to remain silent, or to remain silent when we think to speak; to take action when it is more comfortable to walk away; to cease and desist when we venture into the territory of trespass.

But writing about the Bible can be take the same twists as reading the Bible. I am reminded that I am more like Peter than like Christ. My empathy lies not with my Lord who has been denied amid His torture, but with my brother Peter who loves Him and is crushed to fail Him. How often have I, like Peter, responded to the Spirit's warnings by bolstering myself with thoughts of willing spirit and underestimated weak flesh?

How often do I feel more sorry to think myself a failure than to feel sorry that I have failed my Lord?

My Lord, I love You with all my heart. I am pained to think of how I've denied You today in my weak flesh. I'm sorry to cause You grief, when You always seek to bless me. Please help me! Please help every person reading these words, that we might bring You more joy than sorrow.

"For I will forgive their iniquity,
And their sin I will remember no more."
~ Jeremiah 31:34 (NKJV)

Comments are welcome (including respectful disagreement) and will receive a reply.
You may also contact author via Twitter – @anne4JC
or e-mail – buildingHisbody [plus]
Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Risk Tolerance and Investment Return

What kind of investor are you? Do you tolerate higher risk for higher profit potential? Prefer lower risk with guaranteed return? Maintain a nicely balanced portfolio?

What kind of Bible reader are you? Among the profits sought for time invested in Bible reading are to …

• obtain words of comfort or encouragement
• gain wisdom / advice on how to live
• gain knowledge of biblical principles
• find corroboration for an established belief
• expand religious doctrine
• expand a legalistic list of thou-shall-nots
• fulfill a perceived duty
• study history
• study prophecy of the future
• hear from God personally
• understand the character of God
• know the Person of God

Reading the Bible to simply check it off a "to do" list carries low risk and the guaranteed return of self-satisfaction. Substantial penalties may apply for unsanctioned withdrawals. Higher profit potential requires a greater investment. And if you would obtain the highest return—if you want to know God—expect a wild ride recommended for those not faint of heart.

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm… And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!"
~ Mark 4:39-41 (NKJV)

Seasoned men of the sea were battered by waves which provoked a terrified cry to Jesus for help. When He offered His signature message of peace and good will to the storm, His disciples were filled with an entirely new kind of fear—the fear of facing God.

Peter and John and Paul stand among the greatest apostles. Like a host of biblical greats who came before, each of them trembled when confronted with meeting holy God.

When Simon Peter saw [the great catch of fish], he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!" … And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men."
~ Luke 5:8,10 (NKJV)

Lord, make us brave and fill us with faith. Lord, fill us with desire to know You, that we will better love You. You are worthy of all we have, and all the best of it!

: : :

This post is part of the "One Word at a Time" blog carnival hosted by Peter Pollock. You're invited to visit his site and see what others are saying about today's one-word theme: Much.

Comments are welcome (including respectful disagreement) and will receive a reply.
You may also contact author via Twitter – @anne4JC
or e-mail – buildingHisbody [plus]
Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.