Just Thinking

Tonight, while driving home from Bible study with my husband Chris, I was thinking on how amazingly blessed we are. As individuals and as a couple. Our church has been richly blessed with Pastors, teachers and leaders who are faithful to preach the full council of God’s word uncompromisingly. Blessed to live in a nation where the Gospel can still be freely preached. Blessed as a Christian who can tap into the abundant resources available today, as never before.

I spent a lot of time today listening to John MacArthur’s sermons on spiritual warfare. This evening I started to download the messages from this year’s Shepherd’s Conference. John MacArthur and Grace Community Church have “opened their vaults”…and the years of wonderful Bible study are free for downloading. They truly are unleashing God’s word one verse at a time.

I’m feasting on a veritable smorgasbord of God’s word regularly.

The Holy Spirit brought to mind God’s sober warning…to whom much is given, much is required. I have to ask myself…do I diligently and passionately seek God and study His word. Do I crave it and treasure it and obey it?

In third world countries where the Bible has been outlawed…when the people receive a Bible…share it with one another. Each person taking a page. Then they pass the pages around. I’m sure they memorize it…since they may never see it again. They hunger and thirst for God’s word and the truth therein. Do I?

I may fill my days with God’s word…through Bible study and church…podcasts and music. Being fed richly and abundantly.

But it’s out in the real world…in everyday life that I see if I’ve let God’s word change my heart.

Am I dying to self and living for Christ? Day by day, more and more am I laying aside my plans and seeking God’s will? Am I willingly to be obedient to God…even when I don’t understand His plans? Do I see sin as God sees sin? Do I love the unlovely? Do I seek to be holy as He is holy? Do I live for God and desire to please Him? Or do I still seek after the approval of men? Or worse…do I seek to please myself? Is my focus and delight on God or me?

I can sit in church as much as I like. I can attend Bible studies every day of the week. But until such time as I love God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength and seek to obey and please him…I’m not letting God’s word work in me and transform me as God desires to do.

When I get a grip on the absolute goodness and holiness of God and His nature…then by the power of the Holy Spirit within…I can submit myself to His eternal and glorious plan.

Will I?

“Susan, choose this day Whom you will serve!”

A new day will soon be dawning…and I will have a choice to make.

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Yet For a Season

In a place
Where I cry out for God’s deliverance
Yet for a season
God’s will is to keep me here
Right where I’m at

When necessary
I put my hand over my mouth
Think a second time
Choose to look on the good that God is doing
In the midst of uncomfortable

It would be so easy
To withdraw
Harden my heart
When the reason for God’s delay or His “No”
Is unknown to this frail human soul

But instead God has given me His word
By the power of the Holy Spirit
I can learn from the examples of others
I can stand strong, purpose in my heart to believe God
Or go down the path of unbelief which surely leads to destruction

Oft times His will is inscrutable, unknowable, a mystery
That’s when God calls me to trust Him
Believe that He is good, holy, righteous and just
He is working all things together for good
For this one who loves Him

Susan Bunts Wachtel
March 12, 2009

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Discouragement’s Victory

Discouragement reporting for duty
Greetings powerful evil one
The day is young but the time is right
I’ve already begun to make my rounds

While I may not rob them of their salvation
Through defeat and discouragement
I can keep them from experiencing
The joy and peace of their Master

I can lead them down the path to failure
Use their own sin nature to cause them to stumble and fall
I move by stealth
They are unsuspecting of the enemy’s plan

I stir up discontentment
Cause them to grumble and complain
Focus on what they lack
Rather than turn to God in prayer

Like the Jews of old wandering in the desert
They experience deliverance by the mighty hand of God
Witness miracle after miracle
Recipients of God’s grace, mercy and compassion

Yet I cause them to question their God
Demand deliverance according their plan
With unbelieving hearts
Choosing to doubt God’s goodness and character

They will not submit their will
To God’s perfect sovereign plan

Pride and selfishness
Such effective tools
Rather than God
They enthrone themselves upon their heart

The mouth which should praise Him
Is instead filled with grumbling and complaints
They are focused on the here and now
Rather than submitting to God’s eternal plan

No crown will they receive
To lay at their Savior’s feet
Their works like wood, hay and stubble will one day burn
What remains will lie in an ash heap

I will have the victory
If I can distract and disarm them
Keep them focused on themselves, rather than God
Discontent and disheartened…believing their God does not even care

By Susan Bunts Wachtel
March 5, 2009

A Today Thing

Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” – Numbers – 13:30

Despite fatigue following a draining and trying day…I was eager to go to Bible Study Fellowship. I’ve found in the past the more difficult the day…the more reasons I have to make an excuse not to go…it’s all the more reason I need to be there. God always rewards the effort to study His word by giving just the right word of encouragement, correction or guidance.

I mostly listened to the other ladies share this evening. I had answered all my questions and was prepared with an answer in case Sheryl called on me…but I needed to hear what God was saying to the other ladies.

This year we are studying the life of Moses. We are now in Numbers and the last two weeks have been particularly good studies. Some meaty and convicting chapters. Mostly about the Israelites grumbling against God in unbelief. About their failure to trust God or be grateful for what God had already done.

I took those lessons to heart. Being in a state of transition in very uncertain times…makes me more willing to endure circumstances and people that are less than desirable. As such…it can be very tempting to grumble and complain. Add the influence of people I encounter who have a habit of complaining…or being critical and condemning of others. With very little effort…I can be going down that road too.

It’s only by the power of the Holy Spirit and some well timed conviction and early warning I’ve been able to rein in my tongue. Sometime more successfully than others.

Even though tonight’s lesson encompassed the Israelites complaining and grumbling…I found that my attention was drawn elsewhere. It was almost as if God drew my attention to Numbers 13:30. In the passage Caleb encouraged the Jews that indeed they should go in and take possession of the land. He knew that they could accomplish this feat because God Himself had promised He was going to give them the land.

That verse spoke volumes to me…and applied to so many areas of my life right now.

As the discussion continued…my thoughts were stirred. I realized that obedience is a today thing. When God requires us to trust Him, believe Him and act in faith…it is a now choice.

When I choose to shrink back in the face of giants…or tremble and not set foot on the path where God has called me to go…I have no way of knowing what cost will be extracted by my act of disobedience and unbelief.

Even the act of grumbling is not so small after all. That’s where the disobedience and unbelief started. It cast aspersions on God’s character and His faithfulness to do what He has promised and his ability to do so.

But obedience is the outworking of faith. It’s submitting my will to God’s will…even when I don’t fully understand it. Courage that stands in the face of giants is what God calls me to do. Obedience when all around me tells me to do otherwise…is what God rewards. It reflects trust and faith in the One who is more than able to do abundantly more than we ask or imagine.

The best part about it is…that God will strengthen and enable me to do that which He requires. But I need to ask in prayer.

If the Israelites had known what their disobedience would cost them…the 40 year wandering in the desert, that all but two of them would die and not enter the Promised Land, that their children would be impacted and suffer as a result of their unbelief…would they have chosen to obey?

But just like the Jews…I won’t necessarily know the consequences and ramification of my lack of faith and disobedience until after the fact. There’s no mulligan’s in the walk of obedience. Obedience is a today thing.

Because my God is merciful and compassionate…as long as He permits me another day to serve Him…I will have another opportunity to choose to obey Him and follow His will.

I won’t fully know the rewards and fruit of obedience until I get to the Promised Land of heaven. But down here on earth…in this one life…this is where I sew. It’s in heaven I will reap the eternal rewards.