Tuesday, October 23, 2012

No Shame

This post is seventh and final in the Psalm 127 series "Live Like a King."

~ ~ ~

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
~ 1 Corinthians 15:56 (NKJV)

With sin comes death and shame.

God said of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, "In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Worse than the slow physical death which began on that day they tasted sin, Adam and Eve experienced an immediate spiritual death and its accompanying spiritual barrenness. Fig leaves became a pitiful substitute for the clothing of righteousness.

So like the barren tree which also attempted to cover itself with fig leaves (Matthew 21:19), mortals came under God's curse. The labor to bring forth fruit from earth and womb are trivial next to our struggle for the soul's spiritual fruit. And as if the consummate penalty—God's face being hidden from us—were not sufficient, we also have an accuser who day and night recounts the details of our sins (Revelation 12:10), making a case for our condemnation before God.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
~ Romans 8:31 (NKJV)

The Ten Commandments were kept inside the Ark of the [Old] Covenant, beneath the mercy seat of God, covered with atonement blood and glory of YHWH—all of it merely representative of the true mercy seat in Heaven's court, where the law which condemns is covered with the atonement blood of Jesus Christ's New Covenant.


There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
~ Romans 8:1-2 (NKJV)

The accuser —(both "satan" [from the Hebrew śâṭân] and "devil" [from the Greek diabolos] mean "accuser")—must make his case based on the law. Once we are adopted as children of our Father in Heaven, we become subject to His paternal discipline for our sinful words, actions, thoughts, and feelings, but we are no longer subjects to the law, its demands, or its penalties (Matthew 17:25-26).

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
~ Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)

During every mortal's sojourn in this world under curse, a case is now being built: our lives compile evidence and give testimony in a case for condemnation under law, or a case for faith under the blood of Jesus.

Our spiritual fruit is evidence of the Holy Spirit within us (Galatians 5:22-23). Our word of testimony to the blood of Jesus overcomes testimony of the accuser. (Revelation 12:11) Our spiritual clothing, clean and bright, is our righteous acts (Revelation 19:8).

They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
~ Psalm 127:5 (NKJV)

Though we experience the consequences of sin during our sojourn, we who are Christ's can live like royalty, secure in the knowledge that we stand in the gates of God, accused by our enemy's words and yet bearing no shame.

Right now.

Thank You, Lord. Thank You for covering our shame with royal garments of righteousness. Please give us courage to cooperate with all that You work on the inside.

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

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Feast Like a King

This post is sixth in the Psalm 127 series "Live Like a King."

~ ~ ~

I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.
~ Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 (NKJV)

Each of us has a different idea of what location, type of food, and music makes for the perfect party. But no matter what feast is celebrated, we'd all agree that an essential component is plenty of people.

For most of us, family is first on that list.

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.
~ Psalm 127:3-4 (NKJV)

In ancient times, people comprised an important element of strength and wealth, whether the warriors and loyal subjects of a king, or the workers and children of any man.

Children not only enable a man to build up his possessions with their labor and stewardship, but also extend their parents' influence and legacy to the children of another generation. Whatever other comfort one may attain in old age, loving children are a treasure above all others. As our children produce more children, riches become exponential.

The presence of children is not only important for a festive celebration. Children are cause for celebration.

When you eat the labor of your hands,
You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
In the very heart of your house,
Your children like olive plants
All around your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed Who fears the LORD.
Psalm 128:2-4 (NKJV)

Whether by choice or by providence, plenty of people have no children. Some are grateful for that. Others ache for what might have been. And a good many parents also ache over less-than-loving and estranged children.

If such people fear the Lord and yet are somehow denied the joy of children, does the psalmist err to count children among their blessings?

Or is the psalm perhaps inclusive of prophecy concerning another family?

… Behold, thus shall the man be blessed Who fears the LORD …

Paul evidently had no wife or children, yet spoke of Timothy, Titus, and Onesimus as his sons. Peter likewise spoke of Mark. All three of John's epistles lovingly address his recipients as "my children."

If we name Jesus as Lord and are adopted children of His Father, we are members of an eternal family, our spiritual blood tie more enduring than any natural or adoptive bond. As we mature and mentor others, we raise up a new generation of spiritual sons and daughters. As our children produce more children, riches become exponential.

This eternal family, these sons and daughters, are an important part of our spiritual strength and wealth. They extend our influence and legacy.

They are cause for celebration, and co-celebrants when we feast—both now and in the Father's kingdom.

Father, Your kingdom come. Please make us faithful as we raise up the next generation of saints, by Your power and grace.

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

Monday, October 8, 2012

Getting to Sleep

This post is fifth in the Psalm 127 series "Live Like a King."

~ ~ ~

It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.
~ Psalm 127:2 (NKJV)

Getting to sleep used to be a simple matter. Most nighttimes past, my head hit the pillow, sleep embraced me within moments, and my next conscious thought did not seep in until daylight.

During the last few years, sleep has become more of a tease. I'll play that game for up to an hour. Whether sleep eludes me when I go to bed, or a moment of wee-hour wakefulness grows into sixty, I refuse to stay in bed once an hour has elapsed.

Occasionally, I'll get up and attack a pressing task before taking another stab at logging some Z's. But I know in my heart that's not the way to go. So most often, I'll get up and read the Bible for an hour or two, then easily give myself to slumber. Without fail.

For in much wisdom is much grief,
And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
~ Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NKJV)

Wisdom and wealth—King Solomon possessed greater stores of them than any mortal before or since, gratuitously indulged in both, yet found no pleasure in his intemperance. As I've said before, Solomon carried Wisdom, but Wisdom did not carry Solomon.

So it is with me. And perhaps you. I forget or otherwise fail to consciously choose wisdom.

I have well learned that if I go to bed thinking about the Lord's goodness, getting to sleep comes as easily as breathing. But if thoughts prevail of those pressing tasks, or of the problems that seem to have me boxed in, my mind remains in this world rather than the world of sleep.

… for so He gives His beloved sleep …

Sure, I need to get the proper nutrition for the right hormones to bring on sleep. Though I'm one of those oddballs who can sleep about anywhere, an environment conducive to sleep is helpful when insomnia is a problem. But ultimately, getting to sleep by night is like getting productive by day.

Or, if you prefer Christian vernacular, getting to sleep is like getting fruitful.

When the focus is on me, when I indulge in cares about this world, when I rely on my own wisdom and knowledge to untangle a problem—all of them as the devil prefers—there is no peace.

When the focus is on my Lord, when I indulge in His Word, when I rely on the wisdom and guidance of the Spirit, there is perfect peace from the Prince of Peace.

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
~ Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)

It's all about You, Lord. It's all through You. Please remind us often. 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 – use @gmail.com *after* buildingHisbody
Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Buying Time

This post is fourth in the Psalm 127 series "Live Like a King."

~ ~ ~

It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows.
~ Psalm 127:2 (NKJV)

For some years now, I've considered myself a pauper of time. Lack of time for loved ones truly grieves me. Whether the checkbook has required me to pinch pennies or allowed me to indulge, I've often spent dollars and sense in my attempts at buying time.

Like many people, buying time includes saying 'no' to some things, employing as much efficiency and simplicity as possible, multi-tasking, hurrying (a sickness, I've learned), and forfeiting sleep. And even when I should have time left over, unexpected circumstances seem to steal it back.

The race is not to the swift …
Nor riches to men of understanding,
Nor favor to men of skill;
But time and circumstance happen to them all.
~ Ecclesiastes 9:11

"Buying time" with mere sense is as possible as buying dollars with cents. If traveling at a-mile-a-minute-plus and owning labor-saving devices gains hours, shouldn't industrialized nations be more relaxed and third-world countries more pressed for time? Though a person can have more money by either working harder to earn it or spending less to save it, can more time be obtained except by spending less?


There are twenty-four hours in the day to be had. Sleep is not optional.



To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven …
[God] has made everything beautiful in its time.
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)

Not one of us is truly a pauper of time. God gives each of us enough. We simply spend it on the wrong things and have too little left over for the right things.

What's really sad is that I know well the way to have enough time. It's the same method to have enough money.

Give all of it away. To God. He owns it anyway. It's only when we think of time or money as our own that we waste it in the wrong places. Remembering that we are His stewards helps us make the right decisions with both.

I happen to believe in tithing. God's always been given the first tenth, and the other nine have always proven to be enough. Back in the days when I consistently gave God the first two or three hours of the day (at least 2.4 out of 24 was my intent), the remaining ninety percent of my time felt far less scanty.

Along the way of "doing for God," my firstfruits of time spent simply being with God got compromised. Nothing's been as right since.

"Wealth consists not in the abundance of our possessions but in the fewness of our wants."
~ Unknown *

True for a pauper. True for a king.

True of material wealth. True of time.

Lord, I love You so much. Time spent with You has never, ever been wasted. It's saved me untold squandered hours. Please help me—help all of us—to spend more hours with You and be rich in time.

: : :

* This is evidently a paraphrase of words by J. Brotherton:
"My riches consist not in the extent of my possessions but in the fewness of my wants."

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