Monday, March 31, 2008

Nathan...Rest in Peace


Rest in Peace Dear Nathan
Nathaniel Hawthorne Bunts
Born June 17, 1991
Died March 30, 2008



I'm numb tonight...as I had my little Nathan put to sleep. I held him moments after he was born...so I had to be there when he took his last breath. It will be so weird going to sleep and Nathan not resting by my side. It will be weird not to be awakened in the middle of the night by a loud howl. Something that Nathan did every night for the last year or two since his mama died. It will be weird not to leave a glass was water in the bathroom sink...because Nathan preferred tap water to the bottled water I gave him.


I wonder if his brother Moss...also 16 years old...will miss him? I think Rudy my 1 year old kitty will.


I know I will miss him greatly. Thank you Nathan...were an excellent kitty. I'm glad that you were my kitty.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Where Have You Been?


Where have you been all my life?
I know, I know...God has been shaping you,
Into the man who would one day touch my heart.


A warm smile,
Graces your face,
As a playful, teasing laugh escapes your lips.


Deep blue eyes,
And penetrating gaze,
At times...I must turn away.


Tendered heart and kind,
Caring...even for the least of these,
Bear witness to a heart transformed by his Savior.


No word goes unnoticed,
Our conversations so deep,
I could spend a lifetime getting to know you.


You treat me like a princess,
Like no man ever has,
Only time will tell...if this will have a fairytale end.


Susan Bunts
March 29, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

Live a Life of No Regrets




Having a longer commute than I used to has actually proved to be profitable for me. On occasion I’ll have the radio on...but more often then not...I’ll be listening to some great Bible studies or preaching. Recently I went through the book of Luke which Pastor Chuck Obremski taught when Kindred Community Church was first formed. We were in the book for 86 weeks. It’s a phenomenal study...and even more precious to those at Kindred who lived through that time...as we witness the hand of God on our church and beloved Pastor, Chuck...as God led us through some very deep waters.

After finishing Luke...I had a dilemma. What should I start on next? It seemed only appropriate that I should continue on and listen to the remaining messages that Pastor Chuck did before the Lord called him home. The Heaven Series is one of my favorites...as is the Genuine Servant series.

I remember going through the studies at the time...and feeling very convicted and challenged by God call to come up higher. Pastor Chuck...just had a way of boiling things down to the essentials. He was a straight shooter...and just what I needed. Each week...the Holy Spirit would bring that message home...in a very personal way.

The above clip was from a message called the Judgment Seat of Christ. What struck me was where Chuck said we will know at the time of judgment how things will go when we are standing before Jesus and look into His eyes. We’ll know how things are going to go...by the look in his eyes. He painted a very vivid picture of that day that will come to each of us.

Down here on earth...before I die...is the only time and place I have to get it right in living for the Lord. In heaven...it won’t take any effort to walk with the love of Christ...for my nature will have been transformed. Down here...is the only place where I will have the opportunity to respond with kindness and love when I’ve been mistreated. This is the only place I will have the opportunity to share the Gospel message with those who are perishing. In heaven...everyone will have already been saved. Those who haven’t been saved...will have already been cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. No matter how loud I shout the Gospel message...they won’t hear me. The chasm has been fixed...there will be no crossing over. Down here on earth...God can take my praises in the face of difficult circumstances...as a witness and testimony to His greatness and His awesome love and power. This is the place where my prayers matter. What I do down here on earth...will determine the rewards I get in heaven. All the right living in heaven...won’t earn me a crown to cast at the feat of my Savior. Right living here and now is where I have that opportunity to love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. Right here...right now is where I’m storing up my rewards for heaven. What kind of rewards am I earning? Am I going to be embarrassed on that day when all things are laid bare for all to see? Or will I humbly be able to offer a crown to my Savior...in gratitude for His redeeming work on the cross on my behalf?

Live a life of no regrets. Hummmmm...will I?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Don't Lick the Bowl

It couldn’t be the new guy I’m seeing that lured me into the kitchen, now could it? After all...I forewarned him that this girl does not cook. Boiling water and scrambling an egg...is about the extent of my cooking abilities. I’ve joked for years...I’d better marry a man who cooks or likes to eat out...because if he’s depending on me...he’ll go hungry.

But tonight I made my way into the kitchen...and dared to try my hand at impressing Chris with my limited cooking skills. With recipe book in hand...I pulled out a sure thing to impress a chocolate lover. The Pièce de résistance...a chocolate Kahlúa Bunt Cake.

This cake is so choke full of rich and fating ingredients...that it’s positively sinful. Being that the cake has a cup of Kahlúa I had to remind myself...don’t lick the bowl.

I’m hoping if my cooking doesn’t kill Chris...perhaps I’ll have another date. If it does...well hey...I forewarned him...I don’t cook. Well...on occasion...it’s been known to happen...but don’t get used to it! Good golly I hope he doesn’t expect this often!

Don’t Lick the Bowl... Kahlúa Cake

1 Box of Devil’s Food Cake
4 Eggs
¾ Cup of Oil
1 Cup of Sour Cream
1 Cup of Kahlúa

Mix the above ingredients...and add 6 ounces of mini chocolate chips. Pour in to bunt cake pan and bake at 350 degree for 45 minutes.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Privileged to Serve


This evening I was reminded at what a privilege it is to serve in the body Christ. That it is His church...and His alone. He calls us...from death to life...and then allows us to participate as we minister to the body of Christ and share the Gospel message with an unsaved world.

There is nothing good in me...and nothing deserving of that salvation. Nor can I bring anything to the table other than what He has equipped me to do.

I ought never to take granted that it is a privilege...and a calling. I shouldn’t get too comfortable or set in my ways...assuming that I will always be doing what He has called me to do. Those marching orders may change...in a moments notice. While it might take me by surprise...it doesn’t take the Lord by surprise...for He knows all. Its part of His predetermined will, purpose and plan.

It’s a reminder that wherever I serve...I must rely upon Him. For His strength, guidance and direction. I’m must be in daily prayer...relying upon Him. I must continue to grow in the knowledge of Him...through the reading of His word.

That I must be consecrated to serve. I serve a holy and righteous God. That He requires His servants to be holy and consecrated unto Him. If I choose to sin...and disobey God...I will loose that privilege of serving Him where He has called me.

I should regularly ask myself...as I serve, am I giving out His message in keeping with the Word of God...uncompromised? Or am I bringing my agenda to the table and perverting what He would have me to do and say?

It’s so easy to take things for granted...and be set in my ways. But God...doesn’t allow for that.

It’s important that I be mindful that God must be first and preeminent in my life. That while I may be grateful to work with fellow Christians in serving God...that I must never put my dependence and security in them.

Lastly...that God is not dependent upon my service. That anytime, any place He can call another and raise them up to serve and take my place.

Thank You for saving me Jesus...and giving me the most wonderful church family I could imagine at Kindred Community Church. That You Jesus...for allowing me to serve You and the body of Christ. I am most grateful. To the team I serve with...thank you...and I love you. You are the best...I am humbled and grateful to serve with you.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Labeled


In a world that doesn’t like to think too deeply...it’s easy to get caught up in the trap of defining people by labels. It’s easy...because I’ve got them pegged. I don’t have to look beneath the surface to know them better, to understand them or their pain...or what led them to where they are today...and why they made the choices they did.

Instead it’s easy and comfortable to see them only by their labels. The liar, adulterer, thief, alcoholic, homosexual, druggy, tramp, dummy...and of course who can forget the all around generic label...looser.

Labels...distance me from the sinner that I find so disagreeable. While I’m not perfect...at least I’m not like... Take your pick.

But when I start seeing the person behind the sin...I see more of the human being and less of the sin. I see the consequences of living in a sinful world. A world filled with hurting and damaged people...which only leads to more brokenness.

Labels...build walls and keep people at an arms distance. Labels make me think I’m better than the next guy. But when I see a person and not the sin...it allows me to care...to reach out with the love of Christ and embrace them.

Didn’t Jesus do just that? He reached out to the least of these? He dared to embrace and touch the leper, the prostitute, the tax collector. Those considered unclean or sinners were touched by the holy and righteous Son of God.

Doesn’t He call me to do the same?


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Resurrection Power

Following some recent events...I’ve been contemplating the power of God in my life. Do I experience God’s resurrection power in my life?

Nearly 17 years ago when I understood that I was a sinner and in violation of God’s Law...that I was unable to save myself from my sin...I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I’ve never doubted Jesus’ ability to save me from my sin. Never once doubted that I would go to heaven...not based on my own worth...or because it’s something I deserve....but because Jesus paid, in full, the penalty for my sin. He was condemned...I was forgiven...and declared “righteous”. It’s not my own righteousness that I wear...but Jesus Christ’s. In that respect my faith is solid...rock solid.

But I got to thinking...do I ask for and expect to see God’s power working in my life? Is His power evident in my difficulties...in my trials and tribulations? Not just getting by or enduring. But do I know that God can bring me through triumphantly? Do I believe that God can not only save me from the consequences of my sin...but that He can deliver me from them here and now?

Well if I do...there hasn’t been a lot of evidence to demonstrate that belief. Sometimes I feel like I come dragging to the finish line. I made it...but barely. There are times...that just enduring can be a great victory. But I’d like to live out that resurrection transforming power in my life.

Do I believe that God can take someone lost in their sin...not just save them from hell...but transform their life here and now? Do I believe that God can give victory over sin...when all the world says it will never happen? Do I believe that God can take one who is broken...and heal their heart and give them a new life? Do I believe that God can take a person who has only known loneliness and solitude and fill their life with love to overflowing? Do I believe that God can take believer...who walked away from God for a season...bring them back, restore them...and give them a powerful testimony of His love, grace and mercy? Do I believe that God can enable one who has only known hurt...to forgive their offender and live as if the trauma never happened? Do I believe that God can take one who doubted God...to unwavering faith? Do I believe that God can make a self willed person into one who desires and seeks to obey God’s will? Can God take one for whom the word “trust” is anathema...to one who relies and depends upon God? Can God take a person filled with anger and rage and tenderize their heart...enable them to love with same force they once caused destruction?

God specializes in transforming people with His power. He took a bunch of fisherman...who ran when Jesus was arrested...and turned them into men who willingly went to their death rather than deny the testimony of Jesus Christ. God took Peter who denied Jesus when confronted by a little girl...to one who would not shut up...but instead was compelled peach the Gospel until he was silenced by execution.

While I don’t know the final outcome...I do know that God is working on me and in me. From out of the blue...from the most unexpected source I’m walking a path I never thought I’d be on. The funny thing is...in the middle of it...I’m not sitting here thinking, “I want this and I want that”. Instead...I’m saying...I want to be walking according to Your will and plan God. I want this relationship to honor and glorify You. I want it to be filled with love, care and concern...with forgiveness, peace and joy. I want You to be the center of this relationship. Jesus...I want You to use this as testimony to those around me. Be an encouragement to believers...and a witness to unbelievers. I want people to see a difference...see what a relationship can be when God at the center.

So Jesus...I’m asking for that resurrection power...in my life. You’ve already brought me from death to life. Now may my life...demonstrate...testify to Your resurrection power as I yield to You.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Smack, Dab, Center


Honest and truly...my parents could have named me Jacob and it would have been most appropriate. Jacob and me...we have something in common. We both like to wrestle with God. Actually...I’m not sure I can say I like it...but goodness knows...I sure end up in a wrestling match more often than I’d like to admit.

Thank You Lord...that You are patient with me. This time around...there was wrestling going on...but it wasn’t for a long and extended period. I’d say God had me in a full nelson...and was whispering my ear until I cried uncle.

“Susan....when you responded the other day...you made it clear what your will was. Did you ever ask what my will is?”

“Uhhhhh...no God, I didn’t. Surely this can’t be Your will, can it?”

I should have known better than to ask that. After all God loves obstacles and overwhelming circumstances. In fact he specializes in them. He specializes in taking broken people and mending them. He loves to take the weak and despised things of this world...and use them for His glory.

While I don’t fully know what God wants to do in my situation...I do know that He has a perfect will and plan. He desires that I want His will for my life...to obey and follow Him.

I learned that lesson last year. I learned that there is no better place to be than in God’s will.

My circumstances seem impossible...huge. Beyond me...by any measure. But I do know this...I want to be smack dab in the center of God’s will. No matter what. I don’t want to turn to the right or to the left. I don’t want to go my own way. I want to be right where He wants me to be and no further.

In the center of His will is where I have peace. It’s where He will strengthen me...encourage me...and enable me. He’ll even fight for me...when I’m in the battle that He has designated for me.

So...I made a phone call. “I don’t know what God’s will is in this...but whatever it is...I want it. This seems impossible...it’s huge...far beyond me. I'm scared. But we serve a Big God...One who is more than able to accomplish...with ease...everything that concerns me today, tomorrow and always.”

Once I yielded to God’s will...I had peace. When I stopped trying to figure out all the details...I was able to turn the reins of this situation over to God. So He’s in charge now. My orders are not to figure out how to make it work...but to instead listen and closely follow God's lead.

Smack, Dab, Center God...that’s where I want to be.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Clock is Ticking


The clock on the wall is ticking,
In between the tick, tick, tick,
Only silence fills the room.


Before me lies one,
For whom I have prayed untold times,
Seeking his salvation before the throne of God.


His breathing is now labored,
Consciousness is fading,
Dare I plead one more time Lord?


Only You oh Lord,
Know the day and the hour,
When the beating of his heart will cease.


That moment when his fate will be sealed,
When the time to repent will have passed,
Entering that place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.


But Lord, You tell me,
That today is the day of salvation,
That You desire for all to come to repentance.


So I pray oh Lord,
That You might move in his heart,
Enable him, even now...to hear the Gospel and respond.


Give me the words,
To tell him,
That all have sinned and fallen short.


That our sin debt,
Was paid in full,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.


That if he will confess with his mouth,
Believe in his heart,
That Jesus Christ is Lord...he will be saved.


Before the night is over,
I pray that his name will be written,
In the Lamb’s Book of Life.


Susan Bunts
March 16, 2008

This poem is dedicated to those who bear the heavy burden of unsaved loved ones. Keep praying! Our hope is in Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Trust God???


“You do trust God, don’t you?” As I read those words in an email from Michael...it caused me to pause and reflect. Do I trust God in this relationship?

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve asked to pray that God would bring me a husband. For so long...I was uncertain...and doubted God. Not His ability to answer my prayers...but His willingness.

But recently...my faith and trust in God had grown. Nothing in my life had outwardly changed...but I had a hope that was missing before. I know that my God is more than able...to abundantly answer my prayer...according to His perfect timing and plan.

I was surprised that I could answer Michael...that yes I do trust God. In the coming week...I would find out just how true that statement was.

God had seemingly opened up a door...an opportunity when I least expected it. Not certain...exactly how it might turn out...I stepped out in faith. Kind of scared...kind of excited to see what God would do.

It was last night...or was it early this morning...that when I was faced with the knowledge that this may not be the one whom I will marry...I was filled with peace. I could have so easily been disappointed and asked God, “Why?”...but I didn’t.

Instead...I knew I had to trust God. There are no accidents in life...this relationship didn’t just happen. God had a plan and purpose for bringing this godly Christian man into my life. While I might not walk away with a ring on my finger...God has brought me a wonderful friend. One whom I will grow to love and who will be most precious to me.

Yes I did shed a few tears...but I had no regrets. I wasn’t filled questions that I wanted God answer right now. Instead I was filled with peace. Asking for wisdom...and that He would direct my steps

Unlike the past...this time I wasn’t so desperate to be loved...that I would do anything. But instead I’m trusting God in this new territory. I’m thanking Him for the example of a godly Christian man...who demonstrated goodness, kindness, caring and honesty. One who loves the Lord...and desires to obey and follow Him.

Through all this Satan wanted me to be angry at God...to distrust Him and His love for me. To doubt His goodness and care for me. To question God’s ability to answer my prayers. But praise God...Satan failed.

God allowed this testing for a different reason...the likes of which I don’t fully understand. Thank You Lord...I can truly say...I trust You!

Puritan Prayer...The Valley of Vision

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory. Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine; let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley.

This magnificent prayer is from the Puritan’s. Please check out Eternal Life Ministries where you can read more of these magnificent prayers.

Level Ground


If the cross were ever before me,
How would it affect my choices,
Would I willfully, so easily step into sin,
Or see sin’s true cost and flee?


If only I could see His nail pierced hands,
Know the agony and pain He endured,
That He willingly, with full knowledge,
Took upon Himself so that I might be freed.


If only I could know of God’s righteous anger,
His wrath poured out upon my sin,
If only I could comprehend His great love,
That by grace He provided a way that I might be saved.


If only I could see,
That it was His precious blood,
Flowing abundant and free,
That has cleansed me and made me whole.


Oh....that I would be mindful,
That at the foot of the cross all ground is level,
There I stand no better than the other sinner,
Who was saved...just like me.


The same blood,
Shed by the same Savior,
Covers our sins,
Saving us from the same eternity spent in hell.


By Susan Bunts
March 15, 2008

This is dedicated to a certain someone. May you never believe the lies of enemy...but instead be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might. Praise God...we have been freed from the power of sin. May we loudly proclaim...we are free at last!

As a Christian...it is important that I be mindful that my salvation was based on Jesus Christ and His righteousness. That He willing took my sins...upon Himself and paid the penalty of God’s wrath for my sin...so that I might be saved. He died so that I might be clothed in His righteousness and have eternal life.

While no one likes to admit they are a sinner it seems that there are certain sins that are more acceptable than other...sins that are ubiquitous. Then there are other sins that are anathema.

But it’s important that I remember that my sins would have put in me in hell...that at the foot of the cross...the ground is level. That Jesus blood was shed for me...and necessary to cleanse me and make whole again. It took the same blood to save me as the greatest sinner.

I have no place bragging expect in Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Don't You Dare


I was surprised at the passage that struck me as I read this week’s Bible Study Fellowship notes. I had read the passage many times before. Of course I knew that the actions of the money changers were wrong…but I never saw the gravity of it before.

Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” – Matthew 21:12-13

After Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem on His way to the cross…Jesus entered the temple. There he found wickedness and hard hearts of men seeking to take advantage of people who had come to obey the law and give a sacrificial offering for their sin.

And there they sat…smug…sanctimonious…ready to condemn and put a hurdle before the people who were coming before the Lord to confess their sin. While a lamb or a goat was an acceptable offering…God made a way for those who were too poor to afford that. Instead they could bring two turtle doves. The doves, lambs or goats had to be perfect without blemish or spot to be considered an acceptable offering. If they didn’t bring their offering from home…they could purchase it outside the temple.

But man…whose heart is deceitfully wicked above all things, sought to profit off the repentant sinners desiring to obey God and atone for their sins. The people would bring into the temple the animal or birds that would be their offering. The offering would be inspected…and if declared unacceptable…the person would be at the mercy of the money changers. If they wanted to have their sins cleansed they would have to get an animal there in the temple…one that had been deemed acceptable. The prices the money changers charged…were many times over what they would pay for an animal outside the temple.

People…for whom purchasing two turtle doves was a heavy sacrifice…would be forced to pay exorbitant rates so they might be cleansed from their sin as specified under the law.

While the Bible never states this...I wouldn't be surprised that if after they deemed an animal unacceptable as a sacrifice…making pretty penny in the process of exchanging it for an acceptable one...I'll bet you they turned right around and sold those animals and birds to someone else waiting in line to make atonement for their sins.

They profited from people who were weighed down by their sin…those who wanted to be cleansed.

But what about those people…who didn’t have the money to purchase an animal or bird from the money changes? What about them? Did they leave the temple with their head hung low…bearing the weight sin? Sin that would now not be washed away…as God had commanded?

These people extracted a heavier price for sin than God did. The money changers even kept people from coming to God. How many repentant sinners were kept away from God because of the money changer’s greed and judgmental, condemning attitude?

When I read that passage…I got to thinking about how I might keep people from coming to Jesus? Am I judgmental…because someone doesn’t dress in a manner I think is appropriate? Do I look down on someone…because they don’t know Jesus and are living a sinful lifestyle? Have I so soon forgotten my sinfulness which nailed Jesus to the cross to pay the penalty for my sin? Do I think that there are some sins that are easier to accept like lying or stealing? Do I think that child molester…or murderer…can’t be saved? Am I even relieved to think they are going to hell?

Sometimes it seems like the church…the body of Christ…which should be so loving and forgiving…is critical and condemning. Condemning of both sinners and each other. James talked about the tongue…and how difficult it is to tame. Even for a Christian. God tells us that out of the abundance of our heart the mouth speaks.

So while I might not be out there robbing the local liquor store…shooting up heroin…or stabbing someone to steal their purse…what am I doing with my mouth? Am I robbing someone of their reputation by telling others about their misstep? Am I high on the drug of conceit? Putting others down…so I might feel better about myself? Am I stabbing someone in the back…as I whisper about what they’ve done…to anyone who will listen?

Do I then try to be magnanimous and invite that person who I was just condemning to church? Do I tell them of the love and forgiveness of Jesus…but don’t demonstrate it in my actions and words? Do I forget so easily that God has taken all my sins…sealed them in a bag and tossed them in the farthest reaches of the sea? As Pastor Philip De Courcy said, "Never to be seen again!" Do I desire that others…even the vilest offender be forgiven? Or am I self satisfied…pleased that God saved me but with precious little concern for others?

That’s not to say…that some things shouldn’t be condemned. But perhaps I would do better to walk in grace and love. Condemn the sin…and reach out to the sinner with love, grace and the Good News of the Gospel that Jesus saves!

I can still remember my beloved Pastor Chuck Obremski passionately warning us, “Don’t you ever keep someone from coming to Jesus!” I think those words were uttered in sermon about the realities of hell. How permanent…total and all consuming hell is. That we are never to think that someone can’t be saved. From the vilest offender…like a murderer, child molester, or rapist…to the person who appears good on the outside…but inside is filled with deceit and hatred.

With man it is impossible. But with God…All things are possible!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lessons from the Wine Press


When talking with a friend who’s in the midst of difficult circumstances…I was reminded of time, not too long ago, that felt like a wine press. While not wanting to lecture my friend…I wanted to pass along things I had learned to spare him some of the painful lessons I learned the hard way.

Don’t take the bitterness, hurt and anger from the present or the past…into the future.

Keep your eyes unwaveringly focused on God and the future. Don’t look back.

Remember that God has a perfect plan for you and your future…and sometimes He uses painful circumstances to get you there.

During this time…there’s a sifting that goes on. In that process…you will loose some people and things that were once important. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The wine press reveals character both in you and those around you.

It reveals true friends and those who are just around out of convenience or necessity.

Forgive, forgive, forgive…and when it doubt forgive some more.

Loose the attitude…it serves no purpose…and will only hurt you as you go forward.

Don’t bad mouth!

When you get to the point where you are so alone…and no one seems to be around or care…that’s where you will find the quite presence of God. He will strengthen you and you will go on.

You learn more about yourself in the wine press than any other place.

Remember with fondness people and good times. It’ll hurt to do so…but it will be bittersweet.


Forgivenall

Stingy Grace


How do you respond to someone,
Who is unforgiving...stingy with their grace?


What do you say to someone,
Who refuses to acknowledge their own sin?


At what point to you give up,
Walk away, and never look back?


They can not give,
What they have never received, can they?


What does my Savior require,
When forgiveness is rejected, set aside, torn asunder?


Forgive again…
Will you dare to be generous with your grace?


February 28, 2008
Susan Bunts


What do you do when you reach out with olive branch…only to have that branch broken and returned you?

I could tell that God has been working on me. His transforming power was evident in my response. After the tears had stopped…and I realized my heart would live to see another day…and dare to even love again…I knew what I had to do. As clear as God’s leading was to reach out initially…His leading now was to forgive the offense immediately.

“But God…he was stingy with his grace…he was hard hearted…unkind and uncaring. You want me to forgive that?”

Well…I should have known better than to ask God that question. The answer was a resounding, “Yes! Susan…he can not give…that which he has not received. You know My grace...you know My forgiveness. I forgave you Susan…when you were still dead in your sin. But it wasn’t until you received My forgiveness…offered to you though My grace…that you were able to forgive. Susan, I bind up brokenhearted and heal bruised and battered lives…I will care for you. But you must obey Me. Forgive! Today…right now…without delay. Be generous with your grace Susan…be generous as I am with you.”

“Okay God…I forgive!”

“Atta-girl Susan…you keep obeying and following Me. Now you might want to even be praying for him. What do you think?”

“Yes Lord.”

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Never Say Never



For the most part…I’ve stayed away from commenting about the election this year. It’s been hard…but I’ve not wanted to alienate people whose politics differ from my own.

It seems that conservatives are now faced with the unenviable position of voting for one of the most liberal Republicans running for office.

In recent years…time and time again…I swore I would never vote for John McCain. McCain Kennedy…McCain Feingold…The Gang of 14…Global Warming…Tax Cuts...Boarder Security…and on, and on it goes.

Well it looks like…I’m going to have to “suck it up”…and do what I have to do to defeat Hilary or Barack this year.

John McCain is wild card. He’s turned against the base of the Republican Party one too many times. But at least we have a shot at getting better judges with McCain than either of the Democratic options. Ahhhhhhhhhh!

Don't think of it as voting for McCain...think of it as voting against Hilary or Barack.

So…with Vomit Bag in hand…I’ll likely be casting my vote for John McCain come November.

I think that the McCain Vomit Bag ought to be part of the McCain campaign paraphernalia.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Cause & Effect


The week didn’t start out that way…and it surely was not my intent to not complete my Bible Study Fellowship homework. But there it was…Sunday night and well after 11 pm, and the only thing I had done was read the notes. Yikes…how did that happen?

Yes, I had a busy schedule. But not more than normal…not really. I’d be hard pressed to tell you what I did that supplanted the attention that I normally devote to Bible study time. After going through a week without that personal study time…I can tell you…there is a price to be paid for not studying.

Despite the fact my lesson was blank I wanted to go to class tonight. I got there just in time for the lecture. As usual…Terri’s lecture was compelling and convicting. The images and words that Terri shared... I could not get out of my head. Terri described how two young girls hung on the words of a hymn and were in awe when learning about Jesus for the first time. They were in awe. When’s the last time I was in awe of God…or enraptured by what I was learning?

Terry contrasted that with their mom…who sat a distance away…with her arms folded. Ears hearing…but not a listening heart. Is that me? I pray not.

But God drove home the point…as I drove home. The Holy Spirit convicted me of not putting God first this week. Yes…I was in church…and at my regular Bible studies…and even attended the prayer meeting. But I didn’t read the Book. Each day…I’m eager to put in CD’s to hear great preaching…I’m drinking from an abundant well…but I’m left thirsty.

Then I realized…that by not taking the time to do my study, to read the Bible for myself...I was neglecting my personal relationship with God. There is a time and place for all the above activities. They are very good…but not when they take the place of personal Bible study time.

God brought to mind the analogy of a husband saying he was knows and is communicating with his wife…but he has no personal or direct contact with her. Instead of seeing her and talking with her face to face…or speaking directly to her on the phone…he’s satisfied with talking to her friends or family to find out how she’s doing. They may even be giving an accurate assessment of how his wife is doing…but it in no way substitutes for personal interaction. To know and see her for himself.

That’s exactly what I was doing. Listening to sermons or Bible studies is a good. But it never should replace my own personal Bible study time. Even if the Pastor is accurate and effective in preaching the word of God…I’m hearing it through someone else’s filter. I’m not hearing God speak directly to me through the study of His word.

The husband and wife analogy is an apt description. Just as husband would more inclined to start looking elsewhere and be tempted to stray when he doesn’t foster and maintain that personal relationship…so too am I vulnerable to wandering.

As the old hymn goes, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love”. But the remedy is simple, yet not easy. “Here’s my heart, Oh take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above”. That sealing…that binding takes place when I’m studying and reading His word for myself…daily.

Little Bunny’s Own Storybook by Margaret Welwood & Illustrated by Nataly Vits – Will Spark Young Readers Creative Imagination

I was contacted by author Margaret Welwood inquiring if I would read her book for children, Little Bunny’s Own Storybook .  I read a lo...