He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. - Colossians 1:15-16

Monday, September 21, 2015

Once Again Come Spring

My heart is a little bit sad
As I bid my hummers adieu
Yesterday, I had one last glance
But I didn’t know it was goodbye

One drank from the feeder
Another hovered above
As if to bid her to come
For the time has come to go

Take one last sip for the flight
Follow me little one, let's go
Once again, make our long trek
Fly to our warm winter home

In spring I delighted
When I set out our feeder
Only to see it in use
Just a short while later

At first there were two
Then four, before long there were more
Of course we accommodated
Strategically placing more feeders

Each morning it was my delight
To sit on the patio so quiet
Soon the hummingbirds would appear
For their early morning feedings

So beautiful and delicate
A testimony to God’s marvelous creation
How can one so tiny
Be so feisty and fierce

As spring moved into summer
Our feeders went from nonstop busy
To frenetic feeding
And now there are none

I will fill the feeders
One last time
In case a tiny migrant flies by
In need of energy for his flight

Even now my heart looks forward
Once again come spring
When the little hummers will return
Come, drink and stay for a while

Until then, have a safe flight
My little feathered friends
Enjoy your stay
In a warm sunny place

By Susan Wachtel
September 21, 2015

Coming from southern California, I was used to having hummingbirds in our yard year round.  One of the attractions about north Texas is we have real seasons.  Along with those seasons some of the birds come and go.

One of my favorite spring and summer birds are the black-chinned hummingbirds we have in our area.  Even now I look forward to springtime when they will return. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A House Divided by Robert Whitlow – A Compelling and Excellent Read

I was privileged to read Robert Whitlow’s book A House Divided.  He is an excellent writer and knows how to write good fiction.  He skillfully and realistically weaves his Christian faith in to the storyline through the lives of the characters.  But he doesn’t beat you over the head with it.  Instead you see the Christian faith lived out in the lives of imperfect, hurting and broken people.

I’ll be honest with you there were times A House Divided was hard to read.  If you know an alcoholic or have seen how destructive alcoholism is you may also find this book painful to read.  Read it anyway.  There were times I found myself angry at the main character Corbin and wanted to yell at him so he would wake up and see that he was destroying his life, relationships and was endangering others. 

Robert Whitlow has the ability to draw the reader in to the story from the beginning.  I found the characters very engaging and cared about them from the first page to the last, even when they weren’t so loveable.  It was interesting and challenging to see how each character, Ray, Roxy, Cindy, Billy and others, responded to Corbin and the situations and people they were involved with.  I loved seeing grace given when it was least deserved and unexpected.  I couldn’t help but wonder how I would have responded. 

A House Divided is a book with characters that will stay with me.  If Robert Whitlow writes a sequel to this one I want to read it. 

There are some authors whose work I want to read, whatever they write, because they are that good.  Robert Whitlow is one of those writers.  I highly recommend A House Divided by Robert Whitlow.  You will be challenged and grow as you read it. 

I would like to thank the people at BookLook and Thomas Nelson Publishers for providing me a free copy of Robert Whitlow’s book, A House Divided, to read in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Prayer at Gethsemane

Christ’s final hours were upon Him
The disciples waited nearby
His closest, Peter James and John
Were invited to watch and pray
Jesus shared His overwhelming grief
And went off alone to pray

He called out to the Father
If possible, let this cup pass from Me
Yet He submitted Himself
To His Father’s will and plan

When He returned
He found fast asleep those He asked to pray
Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour
For temptation is coming your way
To resist your spirit needs to be strengthened

Jesus went again to beseech the Father
He returned only to find
His three closest friends asleep on their watch
They had no idea what to say
No excuse is given, they remain silent

A third time
Jesus goes alone to Father and prays
When He returns it’s no surprise
He finds His disciples asleep on their watch
His time with them has come to an end

For His hour is at hand
His betrayer will come with throngs
And greet Him with a kiss

Jesus arises
He knows what’s to come
And the great suffering He will endure

Instead of fleeing
Jesus Christ rises
To meet those who seek to kill Him
He stands ready to accomplish the Father’s will

He is alone
Soon His prayerless disciples will flee
The angles are restrained
As the Son of God is betrayed
Given over into the hands of evil men
The Father is silent in His resolve
His plan will be accomplished

Sin will be punished
Those bound by sin and death will be set free
Grace and mercy will be offered
Not to those who deserve it
For there are none

But salvation will be given
To those hell-bound sinners who repent
To those who confess Christ Jesus as Lord
They will be saved

by Susan Wachtel
September 16, 2015

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

How do you think of Christ Jesus?

I recently started attending an interdenominational women’s Bible study where we are studying the book of 1 Peter.  I really love this study because the teacher has the students take time in the Word of God and dig deep. 

One of this week’s questions seemed more like an exercise in looking at the details of the scripture…but it’s the one that really struck me the most. 

She had us read through the book of 1 Peter and count the number of times Peter uses Jesus Christ (9 times), Christ (13 times) and Jesus (0 times) to refer to the Lord. 

What struck me is that Peter, one of Jesus disciples who lived with Him day in and day out for three years, never refers to the Lord Jesus Christ in a casual way.  Though he was part of the inner circle, the three disciples closest to Jesus, Peter doesn’t consider Jesus his pal or good buddy. 

Instead, Peter refers to Him as Jesus Christ or Christ.  Peter knew that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, the Promised One prophesied in the Old Testament.  His confidence was in the living hope found in Christ Jesus, the Son of God, the risen Messiah who is seated at the right hand of the Father. 

Something else that struck me is the contrast with how casual we are about Jesus today.  We like to think of the warm and fuzzy Jesus who is our Friend.  But how often do we look at Him as God to Whom we will give an account.  The One to Whom we should fall on our face in fear and reverence.  He is the One unbelievers will face at the Great White Throne Judgment.  He is the One believers will face at the Judgment Seat of Christ or the Bema Seat where our works after coming to Christ will be examined.  He is the One to Whom every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

One place I see a casual treatment of Jesus Christ is on social media where posts are shared that seem to give a litany of what we want from God; good health, fortune, happiness, long life, and healing.  Often these posts end with instructions to type “In Jesus Name”.  To me, it seems like it’s a way to manipulate God so that He will give us what we want because we tack on Jesus name. 

How much of my life is lived in submission and obedience to God, out of love for Him?  Love for Him because He is worthy and for the incomparable gift of His Son who paid the penalty for my sin so that I could be forgiven.  Do I accept God’s will for me, even when it includes trials, tribulation, sickness or misfortune? 

Lord Jesus, help me not to think of You in a casual way, but to always remember that You are the Lord God Almighty.  May I have a healthy fear and reverence of You.  May I be mindful that my salvation and inheritance is secure in heaven.  That the One who saved me will keep me and bring me safely home to heaven.  Help me to live each day in light of eternity. 

Below is a link to a good article by Pastor John MacArthur on the Judgment Seat of Christ.