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, January 25, 2010

Chosen


When I suffer trouble or hardship
May I recognize I have been chosen by God
Not picked on
 
May I be willing to suffer affliction
As a tool and an instrument
In the hands of the Master
 
Confident that God will use all difficulties
To help build a solid faith on the firm foundation of Christ
Not a faith founded on the shifting sands of circumstances
 
Knowing that He has entrusted me with troubles
So that my heart might be made tender
To the hurting souls around me
 
So those who lack outward beauty
Won’t be invisible to me,
May I be focused more on them, less on me
 
May the reproach of this world
Hold little sway or weight
Compared to the approval of God
 
May I take that which troubles me
Thoughts and attitudes that tempt me to sin
Lay them down at the cross
 
May I let go of my false beliefs and misperceptions
Tainted by this world of sin
Instead saturate my heart and mind with God’s word
 
My I recognize my unbelief is not harmless
But a sin against God
Calling into question His motives and character
 

By Susan Bunts Wachtel
January 14, 2010

Sometimes I find myself tempted to ask “Why me God?” when I encounter seasons of prolonged difficulties.  But I must say that God is so good and faithful to use difficult circumstances, trials, temptation and pain to prepare me to reach out to others.  He is so faithful to redeem my dark days by allowing me to come alongside people and encourage them or testify to the faithfulness of the Lord. 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

An Inconvenient Life



The abortion industry thrives on despair
Prospers on lies and deception
But the truth is
It’s a baby, not just a fetus
A child, not tissue

A mother’s womb
So perfectly designed by God
To nourish and protect
Nascent human life
Has become a chamber of death

They say it’s just tissue and won’t feel a thing
But he is already fully formed, all organs in place
With arms and legs, hands and feet
And a beating human heart
Knit so perfectly together by God in the hidden place

This wee little one…does he feel anxiety
As adrenalin courses through his mother’s body
He’s resting, protected within his mother’s womb
Until a probe enters in
And pokes him in the side

He has no knowledge of what it is
He only knows it hurts
His arms and legs flail
He tries in vain to move away
But there will be no escape

In a matter of seconds
A beating heart is stilled
His body is mangled and torn apart
As it silently slips away through the hose
His life and death invisible to all but God

The mother who was to give birth
Sentenced her child to death
The one who pledged to protect human life
Now extinguishes life for profit
Parents who desire to have a babe in their arms must wait a little longer

An inconvenience, a consequence
Soon to be swept away by a “simple procedure”
But this child will never be forgotten
Reminders surround his mother…even haunt her
It’s everywhere…the smile of a child or a date on the calendar

But there is healing and forgiveness to be found
Confession
Repentance
Salvation through Christ Jesus the Redeemer
Adoption by the Lover of her soul


By Susan Bunts Wachtel
January 21, 2009

This poem was inspired by Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood director, turned Pro Life when confronted with the undeniable truth…it’s a baby growing within a womb.  To hear her story log on to Focus on the Family and listen to the shows from January 21 and 22, 2010. 


Fetal Development Month-by-Month

Slideshow: Fetal Development Month-by-Month

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Gift of Discouragement



Oh lowest and most evil one
I have a delicious, delectable bad report
Of inroads made into the hearts and minds the enemy’s saints
 
God gives the gift of, dare I say, encouragement
But I’ve been able to successfully supplant it
With the gift of discouragement
 
Aided by pride and feelings of self righteousness
The unsuspecting saint didn’t have a clue
Of the exchange made while sitting in the church pew
 
The overflow of their heart
Spewed forth criticism and condemnation
Aimed squarely at a fellow believer
 
Unaware of the opportunity God presented
To pray for, encourage, and build up one another
I was able to come alongside and whisper in their ear
 
Out of their mouth came words I effectively used
To tear down, discourage and cause division
With one they call brother in Christ
 
As they sat in church
Feelings of superiority took hold
While they focused on the faults and failures of another
 
All the while
I was able to distract the one who was hurt
With hurt feelings, anger and un-forgiveness
 
The real victory was won
When I distracted both from hearing the pastor’s message
The Word of God was falling on deaf ears and distracted minds
 
I predict continued success
So long as they fail to take every thought captive
Or resist offering forgiveness for an offense
 
I dare say we may take even more of the enemy’s ground
If we can light a fire and watch it spread throughout the congregation
Fueled by pride and self-righteousness
 

Susan Bunts Wachtel
January 18, 2010
 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Another



Another store front went dark today
Another business locked their doors
Another owner won’t be collecting rent for their property
 
Today, countless employees joined the ranks of the unemployed
More people were given bad news
You’re dismissed, turn in your keys and go home
 
An application for unemployment
Worry sets in
How long will it be?
 
Another resume submitted
The waiting begins
Finally a call comes in and an interview is scheduled
 
Another offer…with wages so low it won’t even pay the rent
Another email, “I’m sorry but…we’ve selected another candidate.”
Another day goes by...no news and nothing on the horizon
 
I’m sorry, you are overqualified
We can’t pay you what you’re worth
If we hire you, surely you won’t stay
 
There’s a knock at the door
It’s the superintendent coming to collect rent
Shhhhh...be quiet…maybe he’ll go away

Please just give me a chance
I’m desperate to put food on the table and pay the rent
I have a wife and children at home…I don’t want them to go hungry another day
 
 
By Susan Bunts Wachtel
January 14, 2010
 

This poem is dedicated to the many people on my prayer list who have lost their job and to Jesus Christ…the One who is faithful and true.  May His mercy and grace abound as He brings you through this difficult season. 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Shaunti Feldhahn’s “The Male Factor”




When the opportunity came up to read and review Shaunti Feldhahn’s newest book “The Male Factor”, I was excited.  Previously I had read Shaunti’s earlier work “For Women Only” and benefitted both in my personal and professional life from the information that I gleaned. 

In “The Male Factor”, Shaunti shares the results of eight years of research and surveys that she has done about men in the workplace and their interaction and relationships with women.  The book records some candid thoughts, observations and feedback from men about the unspoken rules that exist.  If you are a man, you likely know them and abide by them.  If you are a women, there is a good chance you will be clueless. 

We’ve all heard the adage, “It’s not personal: it’s business.”  But as a women, do you really understand what that means, and the implications of approaching work and relationships with that attitude? 

In “For Women Only”, Shaunti shared how vulnerable and insecure men may be.  Male insecurity is not confined to personal relationships, but makes its way into the workplace.  Some of those unwritten rules pertain to male insecurity and are addressed in “The Male Factor”.  Those rules seem to be in direct conflict to the messages that women are hearing, from other women, on how they can succeed and advance in a man’s world of business.  As a result, women often unwittingly shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to their career.  They may be taking the wrong approach in working with men, never quite achieving the desired result, but be clueless as to what they are doing wrong.

That’s where “The Male Factor” may be valuable to women.  Shaunti is quite direct in sharing what men are thinking about women and how women’s actions may effect their business relationships with men and ultimately their career.

After working for over 30 years, I wish that I had read this book twenty years ago.  If I could have grasped what this book is saying, I may have approached my work differently and achieved different results in my career.  Perhaps I would have counted the cost to determine if the sacrifices were worth it to have a successful career.

At times I found reading this book quite painful, because I see how many mistakes I foolishly made.  Hindsight may be 20/20, but there are no mulligans in real life. 

If you are just getting started in your career, or are working hard but not seeing the results you’d hoped, you may benefit from the information shared in “The Male Factor”.

I continually had to remind myself that Shaunti wasn’t necessarily advocating the prevailing attitudes, but was instead letting us know what’s really going on.  In the politically correct world that we live in, you are not likely to have male colleagues share as openly as Shaunti has about what’s going on in a man’s mind in the workplace. 

I recommend “The Male Factor” for women who want to learn about men in the workplace and to equip themselves with strategic relational skills to succeed.  I would even recommend the book for men because Shaunti does go into how women think and relate which is much different from men.

Overall the book is well written and interesting, albeit slow in the beginning  The first two chapters were rather tedious, but once you get into the meat and potatoes of the survey results you get valuable insight and information from men in the workplace.

As a Christian, my favorite chapter was the last one “Putting It in Perspective”.  Shaunti has compiled counsel from Christian women talking about how they work and interact with men in light of their Christian world view and putting Christ first in all things. 

If you would like to purchase a copy of Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “The Male Factor” you can do so at: 


This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.



Saturday, January 09, 2010

God’s Talking…Am I Listening?


Often this week…I was very aware of God’s presence and felt that He was driving home a few points through real life illustrations.

The week had a rather jolting start, when I witnessed a train accident while driving to work on Tuesday. 

I had to get to work early because of a meeting.  Usually when I leave early, its smooth sailing and I get to work without any significant delays.  Thankfully I left on time…otherwise I’m not sure when I would have arrived.  I was tooling down Tustin Avenue…and just before I got to the train tracks…the guard rails came down.  “Oh phooey…but at least I left early…I should be to work on time anyway.” 

It wasn’t one of the commuter trains that zip by and everyone is on their way.  Instead it was one of the lumbering, long and slow trains.  I used to tap my foot and say words of encouragement for the train to move long.  But soon God showed me the delay could be put to good use by providing me with some additional prayer time.

But Tuesday…that was a different story.  I was a few cars back from the intersection when the train came through.  While I couldn’t see what exactly was hit…I could see debris flying up into the air.  Oh gosh…that’s not good.  It took a while for the train to slow down and come to a stop.  In the mean time a commuter train coming the other way came to a stop.

Knowing that I had to be to work soon…I maneuvered my way to the side, was able to back up and turn around.  As I was figuring out another route to get to work…I could hear the sirens of police, fire engines and paramedics rushing to the other side of the train tracks where an accident had occurred. 

Unfortunately…it wasn’t just some debris that was hit.  From the news reports…I learned that a car tried to race past the intersection before the train got there.  The driver calculated wrong.  Instead his car got stuck under the guard rails. 

The real mystery to me wasn’t that someone would try to beat the train.  What I found amazing is that the driver and passenger didn’t get out of the car.  Instead, they remained in the care and were critically injured when their car was hit. 

I continued to ponder that all week long.  Then I started thinking how often sin is like that.  I make a really stupid or foolish choice, knowing full well that it’s wrong and that there are serious consequences I may encounter.  And yet…sometimes I knowingly and willingly choose to sin and do the wrong thing. 

There are times…I initially make a bad choice and realize it.  I have time to change my mind, turn around or try to mitigate the fallout.  Why is it I may choose to remain stiff necked and head strong, when just a little change can alleviate most of the potential damage? 

Maybe it’s in a relationship…and I say something really stupid and cause hurt feelings.  The right thing to do is apologize.  But do I do it?  Do I repent quickly? 

Well God had another illustration for me on Friday.  Before I left for work…I needed to leave a package on the porch for someone to pick up.  While I was taking my morning walk…I had the distinct impression from God that I should include in the package two CD albums about God and heaven.  As I got back from my walk, I started to go to my car to get the CDs…but couldn’t find my keys.

I knew they had been in my jacket pocket…but now they were nowhere to be found.  Gulp…good golly they must have fallen out somewhere along my path.  I rushed in the house…frantic to find them.  I’m sure Chris thought I’d finally lost my mind as I was searching and muttering.  When I couldn’t find the keys in my purse or in their normal place…I realized I had lost them on my walk.  I raced out the door retracing my steps.  Thankfully, I found them about half a block down. 

I thanked God for helping me find them and walked back to my house.  As I walked home…God reminded me that just like I needed those keys to get in the car to get the CDs, or to unlock my door or to get in the car and drive…so too I needed to use the key of prayer.  It’s one thing to give someone CDs, but if it’s not first covered in prayer…it’s not going anywhere. 

Another reminder from God…that I need to be going forth according to His will and plan and in His power, not my own.  Salvation is His work…encouraging fellow saints is His work.  He may choose to use me as an instrument.  But it’s all His work and not my own. 

Oh may I be on my knees...with a heart fully dependent upon God and surrendered to Him and His work in my life.

Photo Op



This afternoon, Chris and I were able to slip over to Wild Birds Unlimited in Yorba Linda.  I always talk my camera…just in case there is a photo op.  Was able to snap the above photo of one of the finches that make the bird store their home. 

Monday, January 04, 2010

A Beacon on a Hill




Their little church
Became a beacon on a hill
A shinning light
Bidding all who want to follow Jesus
Come…follow Him

From humble beginnings
A group of people
Who loved God’s word
Studied the scriptures diligently
That they might accurately divide the word of Truth

Though their shepherd was struck
They kept their eyes on Christ
Called out to God
That He might bring another pastor
Faithful to preach the full counsel of God’s word

In His perfect timing
God brought His servant
A man ready to preach
In season and out of season
Teaching sound doctrine to equip the saints

God continues to bring them
From far and wide
Those who are unwilling to have their ears tickled
But would rather be reproved, corrected and instructed
So they might be thoroughly equipped for every good work

God is growing His church daily
Knitting each one perfectly into the body of Christ
The saints are not ashamed of the Gospel
For they know personally, it is the power of salvation
For all who believe


By Susan Bunts Wachtel
January 4, 2010