Saturday, December 31, 2011

Endings & Beginnings



As I look back over this past year, I’m asking the Lord to reveal to me what I did right so I can keep on doing it and show me my failures so that I can learn and not repeat them.  


I find that there are many things I’m grateful for:

  • I’m grateful for my heavenly Father who planned from before the foundations of the world to save me from my sin.
  • I’m grateful for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who willingly laid down His life to pay the penalty for my sin, so that could be forgiven of my sins and be made righteous by the precious blood of the Lamb.  
  • I’m grateful that my hope and promise of an eternity spent in heaven is not based on my worth or righteousness, but on the fact that I am in Christ and I’m a new creation.
  • I’m grateful for the Holy Spirit who lives within me.  That He helps me to grow through the study of God’s word and prayer.  That He restrains me, because like Paul this side of heaven sometimes I do the things I don’t want to do and don’t do the things I should do.
  • I’m grateful to have the Word of God to read for myself.
  • I’m grateful for the resources that are available today to help me know God’s word, from Bible website, Bible studies that are available online, and bloggers who share what they are learning on their faith journey.
  • I’m grateful for prayer, to be able to come before the throne of God in confidence and present my requests to God.  To be able to intercede on behalf of others.  To have friends and family be in prayer for me when I’m going through a trial.  



  • I’m grateful for Kindred Community Church and our pastors and teachers including Pastor Philip De Courcy, Doug McAllister, Mark Bundy, Dave Dunn and Dave Doyle and the many others who dedicate themselves to the study of God’s word so they can faithfully teach each week.  I’m grateful that through the power of God they persevere through trials and depend upon God to be their Shield and Defender.  
  • I’m grateful for Community Bible Study and our teacher Patty Bivens, a woman called and gifted by God to teach the word.  She is faithful to study each week so that she can share and accurately handle the word of God.  I’m grateful for her humility and willingness to be open and transparent.  I’m grateful for my discussion leader Hap Brandon who encourages me as I study each week.  As she leads our group she calls on all the women to share what they learned from the study.  There are times I learn as much from the discussion as I do from studying the passage myself.


  • I’m grateful for my husband Chris.  I remember all too well living life alone for many, many years.  It’s wonderful to have good man who is loving and caring, hardworking and giving.  He is strong when I am weak.  He helps make life fun and brings a balance and perspective that I never had before.
  • I’m grateful for friends and family who care and are there for us and sharing their own lives with us.  
Trip to Louisiana











  • I’m grateful for our vacations that we took this year including a trip to Louisiana to see my sister-in-love Carol and brother-in-love Ron.  They made our trip so special and we got to see amazing sites in their state.  I still love looking at the pictures from our trip to Louisiana.  We had a wonderful trip as we drove up the coast to central California and stayed in a lovely place called the Back Bay Inn.  We saw the amazing beauty of God’s creation.
Trip to the California Central Coast











  • I’m grateful for our kitty cats Rudy and Junior; they make life a little sweeter and warmer.


  • I’m grateful that each day is new and fresh and allows me a new beginning.
  • I’m grateful for the home God has provided us with.  This year when I was off work for back surgery I especially enjoyed it.  I was able to sit in the backyard for my prayer time and watch the birds coming to eat at our feeders and drink from the bird bath and dripper.









  • I’m grateful that both Chris and I are gainfully employed for companies that are stable.  I don’t want to take that for grated these days in light of how many people have lost their job in this stinky economy.  I don’t want to be presumptuous and think that because I have a job today, that I will have one tomorrow.  That causes me to be mindful its God who provides and be dependent upon Him.
  • I’m grateful for Valerie Sinex and the staff at Wild Birds Unlimited in Yorba Linda.  It’s a treat going to the store and visit.  Valerie is so sweet, loving and caring to both people and birds alike.  
  • I’m thankful for the sermons and conference messages that I hear, online or via podcast, including John MacArthur, Joel Rosenberg, Kay Arthur, Anne Graham Lotz,  John Piper, Voddie Baucham, Dave Rolph, Beth Moore, Family Life Today, Family Talk and Focus on the Family
  • I’m grateful for a warm bed to sleep in each night and hot and cold running water.  In reality that is a huge thing that is so easy to take for granted. 
  • I’m grateful for God’s daily provisions.
  • I’m grateful to be able to participate in Blogging for Books, Book Sneeze and Tyndale Blog Network; to be able to read new books and give a review.  It’s both fun and a challenge.



Those are just a few of the things I’m grateful for as I reflect on this past year.  I pray that I will have a grateful heart in 2012 and live each day through the grace and power of God.


Happy New Year to you and your family.  


Monday, December 26, 2011

Fresh-brewed Life – Take a Pass





I was excited at the prospect of reading Nicole Johnson’s book “Fresh-brewed Life”.  I had seen her at Women of Faith and hoped to be inspired and touched by her book as I had been by her dramatic performances.


My expectations were soon dashed as I worked my way through “Fresh-brewed Life”. The book is about the work and changes Nicole made in her life to help her overcome her painful past.  However, I didn’t connect with the author and found it a chore to finish reading the book. 


Instead of offering something fresh and new a “Fresh-brewed Life” is filled with secular psychology and has a little bit of scripture thrown in for good measure.  God seems to be another resource to help fill our needs rather than the One Whom we worship and give an account.   


What I found most troubling is Nicole’s views didn’t align with scripture at times.  The most grievous example is on pages 58 and 59 where she describes and encounter with a woman who came to speak with her at a conference.  Sandra came and asked Nicole to pray for her because she was having an affair.  Nicole shared some of the details on what drove this woman to have an affair.  At no time during this exchange did Nicole tell this woman that what she is doing is wrong before God.  Instead she asked Sandra to tell how this man made her feel and counseled her that she needed to better understand her longings and take them to God.  At no time were the words sin and repentance mentioned.  The saddest sentence in the book, “I don’t know what happened with Sandra’s marriage or whether or not she ended her affair with Jerry.”  


“Fresh-brewed Life” is not entirely without merit.  I liked the chapter on friendships.  There were a few things throughout the book that were insightful.  However, overall the author seemed very self-centered instead of Christ exalting and off base scripturally.  Therefore, I do not recommend this book.  


I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thank you Troops & Veterans



Wishing the men and women of our military and their families a very Merry Christmas.  I thank you for your service to this nation and for the sacrifice that you and your family make so that we can remain a free country.


Thank you Lloyd at Solid Rock or Sinking Sand for sharing this tribute to our military.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

You Shall Call Him Jesus



Mary, a virgin conceived a Child
By the power of the Holy Spirit

Joseph a righteous and compassionate man
Decided to end their betrothal privately

Then an angel of the Lord appeared 
Commanded Joseph to fear not

Take Mary as your wife
That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit

She shall bring forth a Son, you shall call Him Jesus 
For He shall save His people from their sins

In this, the Lord fulfilled the prophesy of old
Isaiah 7:14

A virgin shall conceive a child, and bear a Son
His name shall be called Immanuel, God with us

Then Joseph awaken
Did as the Lord commanded 

He took Mary as his wife and did not know her
Until after the birth of her firstborn 

The virgin born Son, conceived of the Holy Spirit
His name is Jesus for He shall save His people from their sin


By Susan Wachtel
December 21, 2011

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.  19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.  20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.  21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” 


22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:  23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” 


24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife,  25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.   And he called His name JESUS. - Matthew 1:18-25

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The God Margin


It’s time to step out
Face impossible circumstance
Dare to be out numbered 450 to 1
Stand and see what the LORD will do
When the trumpet blows
Enemies will flee and victory is certain
In the God margin


by Susan Wachtel
December 11, 2011


So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outpost of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just as they had posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers that were in their hands.  Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers—they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing—and they cried, “The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!”   And every man stood in his place all around the camp; and the whole army ran and cried out and fled.   When the three hundred blew the trumpets, the LORD set every man’s sword against his companion throughout the whole camp; and the army fled to Beth Acacia, toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah, by Tabbath. –Judges 7:19-22

Friday, December 09, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Color This Week Over

Color this week over, I’m glad it’s done.  It was a hard week, a challenging week in many ways: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  It left me feeling blue.  I did some wrestling with God this week in prayer.  There were tears shed.  I wondered if my prayers did any good.  It seems I pray and pray and pray, but it comes to naught.  Right about then God does a big work in the life of someone I’ve been praying for.  It kind of feels like a poke in the chest and God saying, “See I hear your prayers and I do answer them, but in My time frame and according to My plan.” 

After struggling with prayer today, I realized that it was the enemy trying to discourage me.  When I got a hold of that…I prayed those faithful prayers, that Lord willing He will answer.  Especially the prayers for the salvation of my family and friends, Lord willing.


This post is being linked to 5-Minute Friday, where you simply write for 5 minutes without worrying if it's right or not.  

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Daughter of the King

My precious one
You are a daughter of the King
Too often you forget Whose you are

I bought and paid for you
With the precious blood of My Son
Adopted you as one of My own

When you go out into the world
Remember you are My ambassador
To a lost and dying world.

Go forth in My strength, not your own
Sow My peace where there is discord
Show My lavish grace and mercy to all, just as I did to you

When you feel overwhelmed
Remember you can do all things
Through Christ who strengthens you

I never meant for you to do this alone
That’s why I gave you a guarantee
The Holy Spirit of promise Who resides within you

Wash and nourish your soul each day
Through the reading of My word
Stay in constant communication with Me through prayer

Remember dear one
You are a daughter of the King of kings
A daughter of grace


Susan Wachtel
December 3, 2011


Dedicated to the sons and daughters of our heavenly Father who sometimes forget Whose they are. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

What’s a devil to do?

Order, order...this meeting is now in session
The agenda: Getting the focus off of Christ

Their God calls them
To be a light on a hill, shinning in the darkness

Their Savior desires that all will know
They are Christians by their love

What’s a devil to do
To get the focus off of Christ?

Let’s use their natural sinful tendencies
Put the focus on themselves

Unforgiveness, you sow seeds of hurt
Bitterness, you come alongside and nurse a grudge

Before long anger and resentment
Will be able to slip in unnoticed

Gossip, your assignment is to loosen tongues
May the sparks of slander spread to all who have an ear to hear

Cause them to forget that their Savior died
And has forgiven the very one they won’t forgive

Their prayers will be rendered ineffective
When they are distracted by their feelings, instead of focused God

My fellow demons, may the saint’s love for God
And for the brethren be rendered impotent

Sow the seeds of discord
That we may soon reap the fruit of division


by Susan Wachtel
November 19, 2011



For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be.  I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. – 1 Corinthians 12:20

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:12-14

Saturday, November 12, 2011

At the Foot of the Cross


It’s time to come
Lay your burdens down
At the foot of the cross

Repent
Receive forgiveness for your sins
At the foot of the cross

Be cleansed
By the precious blood of the Lamb
At the foot of the cross

Old man sin has gone
You’ve become a new creation in Christ
At the foot of the cross

Without Christ you can do nothing
With God all things are possible
At the foot of the cross


by Susan Bunts Wachtel
November 12, 2011

Michael…this is my prayer for you.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Tehran Initiative. . .WOW!!!


Author Joel Rosenberg is a master of intrigue and suspense and has another winner with his latest novel, The Tehran Initiative.  Right from the start this book draws you in and you won’t want to put it down.

A bold assassination plan is launched in the opening chapters of The Tehran Initiative.  CIA Agent David Shirazi is a dutiful son is standing by his mother’s sickbed when duty calls.  The President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Israel and the President of Egypt are attacked in New York City.  Within hours, David is headed back to Iran to see if he can find out who was responsible for this deadly terrorist attack on American soil.  Can war be averted as the Twelfth Imam continues to persuade Islamic countries to join his Caliphate?  Should nuclear weapons be entrusted to the self-proclaimed Islamic messiah who has genocidal plans against Israel?  Will the United States stand behind their ally and the only democratic government in the Middle East?  Will America and the world wake up before it’s too late?  Will they?  Well, you’ll need to read the book to find out!

Joel is an excellent writer, skillfully weaving current Middle East events with Christian biblical prophecy and Islamic eschatology.  There were a couple of times when current news events closely resembled scenes in the book.  (That was kind of eerie.)  Joel does a good job in developing the characters and giving you an understanding of who they are and what motivates them.  

I enthusiastically recommend this book, both for the Joel Rosenberg fans and the person who hasn’t yet read one of his novels.  This book stands well on its own or as an exciting and welcomed addition in the continuing series by Joel Rosenberg.

FTC Disclosure: I received The Tehran Initiative for free as part of the Tyndale Publisher book blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.






 An interview with Joel C. Rosenberg
author of The Tehran Initiative

1) This is the second book with CIA operative David Shirazi. Where does the story pick up from your previous bestseller The Twelfth Imam?
A: The Tehran Initiative begins about sixty seconds after The Twelfth Imam leaves off. I’ve tried to create a near seamless connection between the two. And there’s another book coming, The Damascus Countdown.

2) You started writing The Tehran Initiative when the Arab Spring began earlier this year. Did events impact your writing or the storyline?
A: Actually, I was well into writing The Tehran Initiative when the “Arab Spring” began and it was a little eerie because the novel opens with the assassination of the President Egypt and Egypt descending into chaos after the leader’s fall. Fortunately, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak wasn’t killed, but he certainly fell quickly and somewhat unexpectedly and Egypt is still reeling from the aftermath. The novel really focuses a great deal on the intense desire amongst many Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa to build a global Islamic empire, or a “caliphate.” And that’s certainly a growing theme among the Islamists in the region this year.

Perhaps what struck me most curious since the publication of The Twelfth Imam and while I was researching and writing The Tehran Initiative is that the so-called Supreme Leader of Iran, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has began speaking more publicly about the coming of the Twelfth Imam. He used to be silent, or nearly so, on this subject. He let President Ahmadinejad do all the public talking about Shia End Times theology. But Khamenei has become more bold over the past year or so. He has told people that he has met personally with the Twelfth Imam, though we don’t know what he meant. Did he meet with a flesh and blood person? Did he see a dream? Or a vision? We don’t know. But Khamenei has also asserted that he is the personal representative on earth of the Twelfth Imam, as well as the so-called Prophet Muhammad. These developments – along with his support for Iran’s aggressive nuclear development program – suggest Khamenei senses the time is very short before some claiming to be the Twelfth Imam emerges publicly. In part, that’s why the Iranian government released the pseudo-documentary film in early 2011 called, “The Coming Is Near,” about all the geopolitical signs that they believe are indicators that the Mahdi’s arrival is increasingly close at hand. Whether it will really happen or not remains to be seen. But the Iranian leadership is certainly convinced. Most of them, anyway. And, of course, the Bible tells us in Matthew chapter twenty-four to expect false prophets and false messiahs in the last days. So we can’t rule out the possibility that we’ll actually as false messiah emerge from the Shia world.

3) You’ve earned a reputation of writing stories that seemed ripped from tomorrow’s headlines. What is going on in The Tehran Initiative that we can see unfolding in the news?

A: I think the biggest parallel between The Tehran Initiative and current events is the growing sense amongst Shia Muslim leaders – particularly in Iran – that the Twelfth Imam is coming any moment, coupled with Iran’s feverish efforts to build nuclear weapons, and the Israelis’ growing isolation in the world and feeling that they may have to hit Iran all by themselves.
Did you see Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s apocalyptic address at the U.N. in September, or read the full text? You should. It’s instructive. Ahmadinejad is not a world leader worthy of the world stage. He is the evil leader of an Iranian death cult. A recent U.N. report indicates he is making progress in building nuclear weapons. He is calling for the arrival of the Twelfth Imam and wiping Israel “off the map.” He aspires to be a mass murderer beyond the scale of Adolf Hitler. He deserves to be in prison, or an insane asylum. His U.N. speech was further proof, if more was needed.

Like Hitler’s speeches in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, Ahmadinejad isn’t hiding what he believes. He’s pretty clear. He denied the Holocaust. He blasted the U.S. for bringing Osama Bin Laden to justice. He blamed the terrorist attacks 9/11 on the U.S. government. He insisted that his so-called messiah known as “Imam al-Mahdi” or the Twelfth Imam is coming soon. He insisted Jesus Christ will come with the Mahdi to take over the world. He called for a one-world government when he called for “the shared and collective management of the world.”

Consider these excerpts: “This movement is certainly on its rightful path of creation, ensuring a promising future for humanity. A future that will be built when humanity initiates to trend the path of the divine prophets and the righteous under the leadership of Imam al-Mahdi, the Ultimate Savior of mankind and the inheritor to all divine messengers and leaders and to the pure generation of our great Prophet. The creation of a supreme and ideal society with the arrival of a perfect human being who is a true and sincere lover of all human beings, is the guaranteed promise of Allah. He will come alongside with Jesus Christ to lead the freedom and justice lovers to eradicate tyranny and discrimination, and promote knowledge, peace, justice freedom and love across the world. He will present to every single individual all the beauties of the world and all good things which bring happiness for humankind.”

Though most world leaders do not appear to understand what Ahmadinejad is really saying, students of Shia Islamic eschatology or End Times theology do. The Iranian leader believes the end of the world as we have known it is increasingly close at hand. He believes the time for establishing an Islamic caliphate or global government ruled by the Mahdi is rapidly approaching. What’s more, he believes that the way to hasten the coming of the Twelfth Imam is to acquire nuclear weapons and use them to annihilate the United States, which he calls the “Great Satan” and Israel, which he calls the “Little Satan.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu understands what Ahmadinejad means. So do some of his top military advisors. That’s why they believe Iran is in the eye of a gathering storm in the Middle East, and that the chance of a major war is growing.
Iran has not abandoned its nuclear program. The opposite is true; it continues full steam ahead,” warned Israeli Defense Forces Home Front Command Chief Major General Eyal Eisenberg in a speech earlier this month. Also noting recent uprisings in the Arab world and growing tensions with Turkey, Eisenberg said, “This leads us to the conclusion that…the likelihood of an all-out war is increasingly growing.”

To me, all this feels ripped from the pages of The Tehran Initiative. Unfortunately, it’s all true.

4) Readers seem to get very attached to your characters. What goes into creating the characters in your novels?

A: It’s the Colonel’s secret recipe of seven herbs and spices. I could tell you, but then I’d have to….well, never mind….no comment to that one.

5) What experiences in your real life do you draw from to piece together these novels that incorporate geo-politics, espionage, romance, and Bible prophecy?

A: Someone once told me, “Write where you live in your head.” For some reason, that advice resonated with me and stuck. I’m fascinated with politics, prophecy and the Middle East. Living in Washington, D.C. and working in and around the political world for the past two decades has certainly helped provide context for me to write political thrillers. I think traveling extensively throughout the Middle East and North Africa has been helpful, too. Somehow, it’s all worked together in a way some people find as interesting as I do.

6) You often incorporate Old Testament prophecy in your books. What scriptures do you draw from for this book and why?

A: There’s no question that I am absolutely intrigued by Bible prophecy, and I like to start with an End Times prophecy – or a group of last days prophecies – and ask, “What if these were to happen in my lifetime? What would it look like? What would it feel like? How might such prophecies realistically be set into motion, and what might be the implications of their fulfillment?” That’s how I approach writing these books. But I don’t think of it like writing a fantasy novel or science fiction. I’m genuinely trying to imagine how it could really play out? I’m not saying these prophecies will necessarily come to pass the way I envision them, but they are interest to war game and see what happens. And given what’s happening in the real world today, I think readers are as curious as I am, and somehow my plots don’t feel that far-fetched.

7) You’ve been successful with your non-fiction books Epicenter and Inside the Revolution and you have a large following reading your analysis of Middle East events on your blog and e-newsletter “Flash Traffic.” Why do you continue to choose writing novels about the Middle East?

A: What could be more interesting? Presidents and presidential candidates constantly focus on the Middle East. Prime Ministers do. Kings do. Generals do. The media does. The economists do. The fact is, the eyes of the nations are riveted on Israel and her neighbors, the epicenter of the momentous events that are shaking our world and shaping our future. The stakes are very high. There is lots of uncertainty. It’s mysterious and dangerous and complex – it has all the elements of riveting political thrillers. And the Bible says the Middle East will become even more dramatic until the very return of Jesus Christ. Why write about anything else?


Monday, November 07, 2011

Yet Will I Praise Him

After a long exhausting day that left me spent, on my drive home I put in a worship CD from the Getty’s “In Christ Alone”.  Worship music, hymns and praise have a way of healing the soul.  For this Lord…I give you thanks and praise. 

Praise the LORD with the harp;
Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.

Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.

For the word of the LORD is right,
And all His work is done in truth.

Psalm 33:2-4


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

18 Inches




He says he believes
Jesus Christ is Lord
Son of God, Son of man

Yet that belief hasn’t traveled
Or made its way
18 inches into his heart

There is no desire to know God more
No hunger read His word
Or commune with God through prayer

Obedience is lacking
Holiness is not increasing
The Holy Spirit doesn’t reside within

He continues on in his sin, just like before
No conscience to bother him
Or bring about repentance

He says believes Christ is Lord
His belief hasn’t yet traveled
18 inches into his heart


Susan Bunts Wachtel
October 12, 2011


But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!   But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? – James 2:18-20

Sunday, October 02, 2011

180

The Gospel

The Plan of the Gospel
The Grace of the Gospel
The Gift of the Gospel

The Faith of the Gospel
The Way of the Gospel
The Truth of the Gospel

The Repentance of the Gospel
The Wrath of the Gospel
The Payment of the Gospel

The Death of the Gospel
The Resurrection of the Gospel
The Satisfaction of the Gospel

The Peace of the Gospel
The Life of the Gospel
The Savior of the Gospel


By Susan Bunts Wachtel
October 1, 2011   

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

As Silver Refined – A Manual for Navigating Life’s Disappointments

Are you going through a season where life is handing you some disappointments?   If so, I highly recommend Kay Arthur’s book “As Silver Refined:  Answers to Life’s Disappointments.”

In this book, Kay talks about how critically important our response is when we face life’s disappointments.  We can choose to turn a disappointment into “His Appointment” by trusting in the sovereignty of God and the good purposes that He is working out through life’s hurts and disappointments that are inevitable. 

Kay shows us the strategies of the enemy, like distraction and deception.  When we fail to respond rightly to disappointments, we are on a slippery slope and can spiral down from disappointment, to discouragement, dejection, despair and demoralization.

While reading “As Silver Refined” I found myself challenged as I reflected on how I’ve responded to disappointments in the past.  I’ve been in that downward spiral before and it’s only by the grace of God I was delivered from that pit.  I wish I had this book back then. 

I was moved by the personal stories throughout the book, but my favorite chapter was the last one.   “A Fire of Reminder” tells about Peter’s encounter with Jesus following his painful and bitter denial of Christ.  Throughout the gospel accounts I find myself relating to Peter who had a heart for the Lord Jesus, but all too often his mouth caused him to stumble.  Time and time again, Jesus was there to lovingly embrace and restore Peter.  Who doesn’t need a God of second chances?

“As Silver Refined” by Kay Arthur is an excellent book to help you shore up your defenses in the spiritual battle and help you come alongside others who are in the thick of the battle. 

Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What Is Sin? by John Piper

The glory of God is not honored.
The holiness of God is not reverenced.
The greatness of God is not admired.
The power of God is not praised.
The truth of God is not sought.
The wisdom of God is not esteemed.
The beauty of God is not treasured.
The goodness of God is not savored.
The faithfulness of God is not trusted.
The promises of God are not relied upon.
The commandments of God are not obeyed.
The justice of God is not respected.
The wrath of God is not feared.
The grace of God is not cherished.
The presence of God is not prized.
The person of God is not loved.

 The Greatest Thing In the World - An Overview of Romans 1-7




Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Word of God

The Word of God
Creator of all things

The True Light
Rejected by His own

Receives children, born by the will of God
Those who receive and believe

The glorious Son of God
Christ Jesus full of grace and truth


by Susan Bunts Wachtel
September 18, 2011



In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. – John 1:1-5

How Great Thou Art - sung by Selah

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fitting In

One of my favorite things is to hear people tell their story on how they came to receive Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior and what God has done and is doing in their life.  Each story is different and I’m always moved by the goodness of the Lord.  It’s amazing to hear what depths God brings us from. 

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear people share their salvation story.  One of the people shared how as a teenager they felt like they didn’t fit.  As they talked it brought back some painful memories of my own teenage years and beyond when I didn’t fit in.  It brought back things I hadn’t thought of in years.

As I laid my head on the pillow my mind wouldn’t shut off.  Instead scene after scene of those painful years kept coming to mind…like a slideshow.  Sleep evaded me as painful memories took over and I questioned God, “Why did you let that happen?” 

Of course there were no answers to my why question.  I did a lot of wrestling with God that night.  I wasn’t able to sleep until I got to the point where I said, “God, You alone are God and I am not.  I don’t know why You allowed those painful situations in my life.  I don’t like it, nor do I understand it.  But I am confident in this…You are good.  You are wise.  You are working out a plan in my life, far greater than I can understand.  Perhaps You allowed the rejection and pain to bring me to an end of myself so that I might turn to You?  Perhaps, without rejection I wouldn’t have ever have come to know You Jesus?  So Lord…I surrender.  I surrender the pain and hurt from those years into Your loving hands.”

Once I got to the place of surrender, I was able to fall asleep.  Morning came far too quickly and I was tired that day from a lack of sleep, but I wasn’t haunted by painful memories.

As a teenager and young adult, I didn’t have the perspective I have now.  These days if I don’t fit in…I’m not overly troubled by it.  Especially when that disapproval or rejection comes from someone whom I don’t know, like or respect.  If it’s from a friend or loved one…it may hurt deeply and I need to examine myself before the Lord.  But I’m able take my hurt feelings to the Lord…He’s able to heal my heart and emotions.  He brings an eternal perspective to life’s hurts.

How do people live life without knowing Christ Jesus?  I am so grateful I don’t have to. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

All Shook Up?

Has your world, your life been shaken?  Have you, like millions, suffered loss from the unprecedented natural disasters, economic disaster or job loss?  Do you ever wonder what God is up to with so much bad stuff going on in the world?

Does God have your attention?  He has mine.  I would encourage you to visit Joel Rosenberg's blog and read the recap of his recent message "Four Reasons Why God Is Shaking Up America and the World" at the Wake Up Call For God's People conference


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Wake Up Call For God's People...Are You Listening?




To participate in Anne Graham Lotz and Joel Rosenberg's "A Wake Up Call For God's People" click on the hyper link.  The conference will be broadcast live on Sunday September 11, 2011.  Watch or listen to the conference simulcast live and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. 


6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
         “May they prosper who love you.
 7 Peace be within your walls,
         Prosperity within your palaces.”
 8 For the sake of my brethren and companions,
         I will now say, “Peace be within you.”
 9 Because of the house of the LORD our God
         I will seek your good.

Psalm 122:6-9

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Young & Restless

They call themselves Young, Restless & Reformed
Touting their Christian liberties
 
Seemingly more concerned about their freedom to indulge
Than stumbling a weaker brother
 
Distracted by the pleasures of this world
Which are passing away
 
Unconcerned about their influence on those
Who already feel the pull of a self-indulgent, godless culture
 
Focused on the here and now
Vs. the by and by
 
Whatever happened to
Be holy as I am holy

Whatever happened to
Be sanctified

Whatever happened to
Deny thyself, pick up your cross daily and follow Me

by Susan Bunts Wachtel
August 31, 2011



For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. – Titus 2:11-14

Beer, Bohemianism, and True Christian Liberty

Sunday, August 28, 2011

On the Lookout

As I was praying this last week, I felt rather downcast and hopeless.  I had finished praying for the salvation of people whom God has laid on my heart.  It seems that the list continues to increase.  Some of the people have been on the list for many years.  Some people have moved on and I may never see them again, but I continue to pray for their salvation. 

As I walked into Corner Bakery to pick-up my breakfast, I felt that the Lord rebuke me for my downcast attitude. 

Here I am praying to the God of the universe…the Creator of all things, the One Who spoke the words and our world came into existence.  God, Who from before the foundations of the world, knew me and chose to save me from my sin through the atoning death of His Son, my Savior Jesus Christ.  God Who knows me intimately, knows the number of hairs on my head, knows my thoughts before the words come out of my mouth and puts my tears in a bottle.  I’m praying to Almighty God and I’m feeling downcast?  Are you kidding me? 

I felt as if God challenged me that day.  I pray many prayers, but am I on the lookout for God at work each day.  Do I look expectantly and am I excited to see what God is doing each day?

To prove His point, later that day I had an encounter with someone for whom I’ve been praying.  I got to hear what God is doing in their life, a definite God thing…a work that only He could be doing. 

My downcast and hopeless feelings were nothing short of unbelief, which is sin.  I didn’t have my eyes on God, nor trust Him and His perfect timing to answer my prayer. 

Now I’m choosing to remind myself to Whom I’m praying to each day, and be on the lookout for the answers to those prayers and see God actively at work in all situations. 

Mixed Feelings

It was with mixed feelings that I returned to work following my six week leave to heal from back surgery. 

I would have never guessed how much I would enjoy being off for so long.  I thought I would be bored, especially since I was restricted in what I could do.  No lifting, bending or twisting.  Do you have any idea how many activities involve one or all of those actions?  Simple things, everyday things that you don’t give a second thought to unless you can’t do them.  I wasn’t able to drive for four weeks and was at home most of the day. 

I found the time passed quickly and I enjoyed each day.  I was able to go for a couple of walks each day and over time increased my distance.  When I got home from my morning walk, I spent time in the backyard praying.  I was able to work on a Bible study and read.  The six weeks went by so quickly, I could hardly believe that it was time to return to work.

The first five weeks of my leave were the most peaceful time of my life.  I got a picture of what it’s like to be stress free.  Each day I looked forward to Chris coming home from work.  Sometimes we went for a walk, sometimes we watched a movie or read.  Nothing big or monumental, but it was time we enjoyed each other without the demands, stress and pressures of life intruding in on our relationship.  My last week was busy with various appointments so that I could ensure that everything was handled before I returned to work. 

It was with tears that I returned to work.  Both my husband Chris and I were sad that this time of peace and enjoying each other, without pressing demands from the outside world, had ended. 

This is not to say that I’m not grateful to have a good job with a good company.  How could I not be, especially these days when so many people are out of work for extended periods of time?  I am grateful, yet at the same time, I long to be home. 

My first day back at work, I felt cushioned by God’s grace.  After that, it was stepping back in the stream of things, a fast flowing stream.  By God’s grace and with full dependence up Him, I am getting back into the swing of things. 

I am so grateful to be out of pain and for the peaceful days that I was able to spend recovering from surgery.  I’m grateful for the loving care and support of my husband Chris.  I’m grateful for God’s presence in my life, be it at home while praying in my back yard, or when I’m at work or in rush hour traffic, or when I come home tired at the end of the day…He is always with me.  Thank You Lord.  Of all the memories of my time off, the time I spent with You in prayer and in Your Word mean the most to me Lord.  A taste of things to come.

Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer – A Thought Provoking Interesting Read

I love a good mystery, and that’s what drew me in and want to read, Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer .  This is the first book ...