Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Blessing and Not a Curse



What started out as a prudent measure to reduce expenses after we purchased our home has turned out to be an unexpected blessing.


As we faced the reality of a mortgage payment, Chris and I looked at our expenses and evaluated where we might be able to save money.  Chris didn’t suggest it…because he knew that I was used to cable TV.  However, I felt the strong leading of the Holy Spirit…that when we moved into our new home that we should forego cable TV for a season, at least until we refinanced our home. 


Although I knew I would miss HGTV, TLC, Fox News and a few channels that have some good entertainment…I thought that it was the right thing to do.  Not only would we save money, but with our busy schedules, we probably wouldn’t have much time to watch TV.


Before long…that which seemed like it might be hard to get used to was something we didn’t really miss.


While we were in our interim apartment, our TV viewing habits consisted of house hunting and decorating shows with the occasional “What Not to Wear” thrown in for good measure. 


Fox News which had once been my news channel of choice now had all the cutting edge technology…and in the process lost some of its substance.  With the change in administration, and their desire to be “fair and balanced”, Fox News looked a more like CNN rather than Fox New which used to give conservatives a voice. I found their news served as an irritant, rather than something that provoked thoughtful debate. 


The one downside to no TV…is that I feel really out of the loop.  If there was a national or local emergency, we would likely not have a clue.  I used to listen to talk radio, but now I spend my commute time in prayer or listening to Bible study CDs. 


On occasion, I log on to a local news station or Fox News to see what’s going on.  More often than not I’m appalled by the horrific things that are being reported.  Things that are so sick that they are unthinkable to a decent mind.


In the past couple of weeks…some of the news stories included a baby that was brutally tortured to death by his mother, a man kidnapping and holding a girl captive as a sex slave, children assaulting other children because they have red hair, mass slaughter of 200,000 animals in a religious ritual to appease (false) gods, and two dogs thrown into a canal with their mouths taped shut. That’s just a few stories…a small sampling of what’s being reported as “news”.


Why do I need that garbage in home? I don’t need those images filling my mind…because once they are in there…they don’t go away.


That doesn’t even take into account what is passing as entertainment these days. If you are a Christian…a person of faith with moral values…you’d better keep that remote control close at hand. It’s not going to be long before you see something which God has declared sinful pass before your eyes. How will you respond?


Most of the sexual situations on TV are extra or pre marital sex. Rarely do you see a healthy loving marriage portrayed. Scantily clad women are the order of the day from TV shows to commercials. Frankly I don’t need those images filling my husband’s mind. Men have the equivalent of a pictorial rolodex in their mind…images that they’ve seen. Images are added to the rolodex whether a man has purposely witnessed something or by accident.


How are husbands supposed to keep their thought life pure when continually being assaulted by those images? How are men and women going to resist the temptations of an extra marital affair when constantly seeing that portrayed on TV as normal and good? How are single people, young people going to be committed to remaining virgins and wait to have sex until marriage…when all they see on TV and in movies is everyone having sex outside of marriage?


Do you wonder why people stumble and fall into sin? It’s because we fill our minds with thoughts and images which appeal to our flesh, our sinful nature. In doing so, we lose sight that God has clearly stated in His word, in no uncertain terms, those choices are sinful. We see the temptation, take the bait, but fail to remember the consequences of our sin.


How do TV and movies portray how women should dress? How does it deal with alcohol and drugs? How does it portray sex outside of marriage and homosexuality? What defacto messages are you getting from TV?


Sin loses its sinfulness when we continually fill our mind with imagines and thoughts from TV, movies, books and music that are in direct contradiction to God word. We stop seeing sin as sin.


We don’t see adultery as sin, we see it as “an affair”. We tell ourselves that God just wants us to be happy. Guess what…God doesn’t just want us to be happy. He wants us to be holy. He cares more about our character than our happiness.


It’s nearly impossible to have the things of God in mind when we are filling our mind with the things of this world. When we laugh at or just go along with, or turn a blind eye to that which God has declared sinful. When we see those images…do we remember that Christ died for those sins? Do we want to heap sin, upon sin?


Or do we desire to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength? Do we want to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ? Part of taking every thought captive is guarding our heart and mind in Christ Jesus…and choosing not to take in or dwell upon sinful things. It’s purposely saying Jesus Christ is Lord of my life in all areas.


When we first moved into our new home…it took some getting used to not having a TV. It wasn’t long before we both realized…it’s a good thing to not have it around.


Rather than watching TV, we now watch DVDs that we’ve chosen. Many of which are from Christian film makers…films or shows that uphold our faith and values.


What about you…do you find yourself wanting to turn off the TV which contradicts and assaults your faith? How about it…it’s easy…cancel the cable and turn off the TV. Even better you will save some money to boot. No TV is truly a blessing.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving….Much Better Than I Deserve



I would be remiss
If I failed to bow my head and give thanks
For the many blessing
From my heavenly Father above

First and foremost
Salvation found in Christ Jesus alone
For His sacrificial atoning death on the cross
So that my sins, which are many, are forgiven in full

For the Holy Spirit
Who dwells within me
For His comfort and conviction
Daily sanctifying and cleansing me

The Bible
The very Word of God
Solid truth in a world filled with lies and deception
A light unto my path in a very dark world

The Father’s plan of redemption
Put in place before the foundations of the earth were laid
My loving Father is looking and waiting, arms open wide
For this prodigal to come to her senses and return home

I am included in the body of Christ
Called to a church named Kindred
Surrounded by those who faithfully serve
Motivated out of love and obedience to Christ the Risen Lord

For a country founded with a purpose
A place where we might be free
A foundation built on principals
Inalienable rights granted by our Creator

Abundant blessings flow
From the Father’s hand
I can truly say
I’m doing much better than I deserve

My husband Chris
The one for whom I prayed many years
He loves the Lord with all his heart
By God’s grace he just happens to love me too

A home we call our own
With much more than I can ask or imagine
A fireplace to sit by on a cool autumn evening
A backyard, my retreat to enjoy God’s creation

Family and friends make each day richer
Filled with grace, mercy and love
They share in the laughter and joy of the moment
Then come alongside to help lift the burden of a heavy load

Work…a means by which God provides
A place to use the skills, talents and abilities
Gainful employment means much more these days
When so many are still seeking a job

This is just a start
Of the many things for which I give thanks
You can truly see
I am blessed far beyond that which I deserve


Susan Bunts Wachtel
November 25, 2009


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Yeah!!! Courageous




"Courageous" is the new movie that the producers of "Facing the Giants" and Fireproof" are starting production on.  To that I say “Yeah”.  I thank the people at Sherwood Pictures for their efforts to produce good Christian entertainment that is God honoring and encouraging to Christians.  I can hardly wait for the new movie to come out and look forward to your future productions.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

God Colored Glasses



Daily I put on
God colored glasses
My heart fully open and surrendered to Him

Conscious of God’s presence
In all areas of my life
God is the filter through which every experience passes

In good times
When blessings flow from God’s hand
I offer praise, adoration and thanks

When tempted by sin
I confess, repent and pray
Equip myself with the full armor of God

In the presence of evil
I pray righteousness will triumph
Where inequity presently reigns that it will be crushed

When God is dishonored
Where His name has been besmirched
I am grieved and pray that He will vindicate Himself

When people are in distress
I come before my Father and pray
God be honored and glorified through their deliverance

In all things, through all things
May I set the Lord ever before me
See everything through my God colored glasses


Susan Bunts Wachtel
November 17, 2009


Monday, November 16, 2009

Burdened



Today I awoke downcast
As though I was grieving
Profoundly sad
For no explainable reason

Then my path crossed
With those who bear a heavy burden
Whose tear stained face
Bears the marks of grief, pain and fear

Those who lost a loved one
A life cut down at such a young age
Family and friends who had no time to grasp the enormity
Before they stood at their loved one’s grave

Or the one who received a bad report
Without warning, in an instant
Life had changed
Each day recognized as a gift, not a guarantee

Then there is the one who suddenly
Finds themselves unemployed
In stiff competition with untold others
Praying that someone will just give them a chance

God did you burden my soul
Give me a small picture of their pain
That I might be compelled
To plead for them before Your throne


Susan Bunts Wachtel
November 16, 2009



Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Christian Ebner Christmas




The above photo of Christian Ebner, our worship leader at Kindred Community Church, was taken while Christian was conducting the choir.  It's one of my favorite pictures because the silhouette looks like he is in worship and prayer.

Christian just released his first Christmas CD "A Christian Ebner Christmas".  It's a lovely addition to my Christmas music.  Christian has a very clean and pure voice.  Below is the video showing the recording of his album.

If you would like to download Christian's new album directly from I-Tunes...it's now available.  http://www.facebook.com/l/6ecb0;itunes.apple.com/us/album/a-christian-ebner-christmas/id337147210



Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Day in the Life


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

But Wait...There's More







The Early Bird Catches the Goldfinch


 



 




 



 

The early bird catches the Goldfinch...and maybe Towhee too.

It's been at least three months, perhaps four since we put out the feeder to attract Goldfinches.  After being captivated by all the outdoor birds and wildlife in our backyard...we were hoping to attract Goldfinches.

Valerie and Vince at Wild Birds Unlimited in Yorba Linda assured us that they would come.  They said be patient...they are a little skittish...it may take them a while to come.  Well after a couple of months of trying lure them our way in the front yard...we finally moved the feeding sock to the backyard.  Again we waited.  It took a couple more months...but this time we hit pay dirt.

Yesterday, while ironing Chris looked out the back window and saw birds on the sock.  I ran out with my trusty camera...and was able to capture the elusive Goldfinches!  Throughout the day...I'd glance out while I was busy cleaning...and found the little critters out there, coming and going throughout most of the day.

Despite the chilly morning, I braved the elements to capture our new friends, the Goldfinches, and few old pals as well.  There is our beloved Towhees and of course our precious sparrows.

As a side note...a big thumbs up to Valerie and Vince at Wild Birds Unlimited in Yorba Linda, CA.  Their customer service is simply the best.  If you love birds...please be sure to pay them a visit.


“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?  And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” – Luke 12:6-7









Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Love Letter



 
We both wept as you read
A love letter
Written from your heart

Recalling God’s providence
His miraculous work
In bringing us together

How He overcame obstacles
Combined our broken pieces into one
Smashed the word “impossible”

God has perfectly balanced our differences
Out of the ash heap of our weaknesses
He brought forth strength

He continues His work today
Turning us from blinding fear and unbelief
To unwavering faith and knowing that He is able

God has enabled you
To look beyond the surface
Love from the depths of your heart

Beloved, may I always remember
That you are God’s gift to me  
From our heavenly Father above


Susan Bunts Wachtel
November 9, 2009



Dedicated to Chris Wachtel…my beloved husband.


Humbled


  




He humbles me in every direction I turn
As I behold
The marvels of His creation anew

A sunset so brilliant and bold
No painter could begin to imagine
The colors, intensity and hues

Our Creator paints
A breathtaking evening sky
So that we might enjoy and proclaim His Excellencies

He creates with perfection
The humming bird that hovers above
A vision of beauty and delicate precision

Creation bears the mark of His perfect hand
But nothing in creation can compare
To humans created in God’s own image


Susan Bunts Wachtel
November 9, 2009


This poem is dedicated to Jun who inspired it by his reaction to an amazing sunset that captured our Creators marvelous work.  Indeed Jun…God does humble me in every direction I turn.  May you reflect on Him as you travel on the difficult road ahead…mindful that He is always with you. 

Let All Creation Praise the Lord








 

 




 




 

 

 


 


Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above the earth and heaven.

Psalm 148:13


The above photos were taken on our weekend trip down to San Diego.  The spectacular sunset photos were take at the Quail Botanical Gardens in Encinitas, CA. 

Picture a Day - Roses in Springtime

Shortly before we moved from California in 2014, my husband Chris took me to the Huntington Library.  I had never been there, but he had...