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, May 30, 2011

Patty Biven’s Blog

This last year, it was my privilege to do an in-depth Bible study through Community Bible Study in the book of Revelation.  While I’ve read and studied Revelation before I came away from this study with a greater understanding of this book and confidence that the prophecies are true and will come to pass.  It certainly gave me a greater passion and desire to pray for the salvation for unsaved family and friends.  Especially in light of what they will face if they live during the tribulation period and an eternity in hell for those who reject Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior.

The teaching director for our class is Patty Biven’s.  God has greatly gifted this woman to teach His word.  She is so faithful to study each week and dig into the truth of God’s word and share it with women who are hungry to know God and His word. 

To my great delight, Patty Biven’s has started her own blog.  She is open and transparent and shares what she is learning through the trials she and her husband are currently facing.  Her faith is a testimony to God faithfulness and His work in a servant fully committed to Him.

Are you going through trying times?  Have you been impacted by the economy and job loss?  Are you loosing heart?  Is your faith waning?  If so…click on over to Patty Biven’s blog and read what God is doing and what He is teaching Patty during this season in her life.

If you are looking for an in-depth Bible study, please consider Community Bible Study.  If you live in Orange County, you may want to sign-up for the Orange Evening Women’s class.  Starting this fall we will be studying the gospel of John.

Charismatic Chaos Enters the Mainstream

A friend had recently shared how powerful Pastor John MacArthur’s sermons are on the Charismatic movement.  Truth filled sermons and exposing the lack of biblical doctrine, errors and documenting blasphemous, heretical teaching of many Charismatic leaders. 

I am so thankful for Pastor John MacArthur and Grace to You ministries who have made available for free the download of thousands of sermons he has preached for over 40 years.  I went online and downloaded Pastor MacArthur’s series “Charismatic Chaos”

My eyes were opened to the subtly of Charismatic teaching that has made its way into mainstream churches, pastors and Bible studies.  Teaching that is based on personal experience that’s put on par with or elevate over the Bible.  Feelings take precedence over Biblical truth.  People claim that they’ve received messages from God, however those messages don’t always line up with scripture. 

The problem comes if God is still speaking to us outside of scripture, then the Biblical canon is not closed. Who do you believe?  Do you believe the Bible or do you believe the person who is claiming to have a word from God?

Because the Bible is whole, perfect, complete and the plumb line by which everything should be measured, if someone’s teaching doesn’t line up with the Bible then they are in error. 

At first I found myself saddened when I recognized some of the errors in one of my favorite Bible study teachers.  But I realized that I should be grateful that we have been given the inerrant and inspired word of God by which we can discern error.  Am I going to love God and His word above all things and people?  Am I going to love Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength?  Am I going to guard the truth?

I believe that all too often people, especially women, have a hard time confronting error and standing for the truth.  We are so easily led by our hearts instead of reason.  But when I see erroneous teaching, it’s an opportunity to reach out and do so with love and humility and covered in prayer. 

From the beginning Satan has been mixing the truth with lies.  He still does that today.  The enemy’s lies touch our feelings and emotions and it’s hard to see the truth from the lie.  But if we have an unchanging standard of truth, the Bible, we can measure what we are hearing against the truth in the word of God.

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.  For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. – Galatians 1:6-10


To listen to Pastor John MacArthur's sermons on the Charismatic movement click on the links below:



Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Bible

Perfect
Complete
Infallible

Truth
Trustworthy
The Standard

Authoritative
Sufficient
Effect

God breathed
Inspired
Word of God

Susan Bunts Wachtel
May 28, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

PAIN!

After seven months of being in pain, 24/7, I’ve finally come to a decision to undergo surgery for my back problems (stenosis, bulging disk, bone spurs, sciatica, etc).

Not only has this impacted me, but it’s adversely effected my husband Chris most notably regarding sleep.  When mama ain’t sleeping, ain’t no body sleeping!  On a good night, if I take a pain killer right before I go to sleep, I may be able to sleep for about 5 to 6 hours before waking up in pain.  I have back pain as well as pain in my right ankle from sciatica.  On a bad night…there’s not a whole lot of sleep happening at the Wachtel household.

I’ve tried some of the more conservative methods to bring pain relief including a course of three epidurals.  The second epidural made the most impact by reducing the pain for about three weeks.  Other than that…there’s not been a whole lot of relief. 

Chris and I met with a neurosurgeon to get a second opinion.  I feel confident that this was the right doctor to entrust my back to.  She had studied my MRI and was able to show us exactly what’s happening and what treatment she recommended.  I felt relief at her words, “After undergoing conservative treatment for several months, which has brought no relief, surgery is a reasonable option.”

People’s reactions and opinions are kind of funny.  I’ve had advice from many different perspectives.  There are those who are dead set against surgery and suggest seeking help from chiropractors, acupuncturists, spinal decompression, etc.  There are people who had back pain who have undergone surgery with great success.  I know one man who had surgery who had more pain following surgery than he had before.  The one thing I know for certain is that there are no guarantees and everyones body responds differently. 

People’s responses have been passionate!  They relate their experience and what worked for them, confident that’s the step I should take, some without knowing what’s happening with my back.  I’m sure that their intent is good and they desire that I find permanent relief from the pain, but honestly often I walk away more confused than when I started. 

When I mention I’m considering surgery, I’ve experienced a lot of disapproval from people who think I’m making a huge mistake.  After being in pain for seven months straight, not having a good night sleep in months, not being able to sit or lay down without being in pain, surgery seems like a good and reasonable option. 

We both know that if there is any healing or relief from the constant pain, that it’s the Lord doing the work.  He uses various means to accomplish healing, including doctors, medicine and if He so chooses, a miraculous healing that can only be attributed to God. 

We know that we need to trust the Lord in this situation, no matter what.  Should He choose to heal me, we will praise Him.  Should He choose to not heal me, we will praise Him.  Our praise of God is not contingent upon a favorable outcome. 

The one thing that is certain, our dependence upon God has deepened.  When crying out to Him for pain relief and when seeking wisdom to make life altering decisions, like surgery, we are depending upon and looking to the Lord.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Some Thoughts…At the End of the Day

I am so grateful to have friends in my life who are more committed to my holiness than my happiness.  People who are not afraid to speak the truth from the word of God into my life.  They have an unbending standard and they can speak with confidence when their counsel is based on the solid rock of God’s word. 

I’m grateful for friends who know the King of kings and Lord of lords and are able come to the throne of grace in prayer.  Rather than someone telling me, “I’ll be thinking about you”, or “Best of luck to you”, I know that they will go to God in prayer and that He hears our prayers.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Woodshed Time 

After a sleepless night filled with physical pain, fear and worry about a family member I finally got out of bed and went about my morning routine.  This morning I let my thoughts wander down the path of worry, and started feeling as though I was responsible for another person’s life and choices.  Instead of praying, I opted to worry.  

In the middle of those troublesome thoughts, I felt as though God tapped me on my shoulder and said, “Susan, I am still on My throne.  Do you realize that all this time you spent worrying you could have been praying?  The Trinity doesn’t meet in an emergency session.  I know all things and nothing escapes My attention.”

It was after I listened to the Lord and reminded myself who God is and what He can do that my stress and worry faded away.  I felt a calm and peace come over me.  I was able to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  I remembered that I need to be about my Father’s business…praying.  God is faithful and true and He is working out His perfect plan, not only in my life, but in the life of family and friends.  

When I worry I’m acting as if there is no God.  It’s good to be taken to the woodshed now and again.  It reminds me Whose I am.  But surely it would be better if I chose instead to believe God...to walk by faith, not by sight.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Our Sinful Heart

Our sinful heart
Willful unbending spirit
We refuse the offer of forgiveness
Found in Christ Jesus alone

Instead we worship gods of our own making
Drink water made from our own wells
We would rather thirst again
Then receive the living water from the Savior

Susan Bunts Wachtel
May 7, 2011