Hold On

Hold on to me ever so tight Lord
Never let me go
Always be with me

You go before me
Your Spirit is within me
You surround me God

May I cling to Your Word
Saturate my heart and mind
With truth, knowledge and wisdom

Fill me with Your peace
Give me a hope that endures
Through all circumstances, trials and tribulation

God…You are my All in all
Jesus…You are my salvation
Victory is found in Christ alone

Susan Bunts Wachtel
August 26, 2009

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As Christ So Loved the Church

Last week I listened to several programs from Focus on the Family in which Fred Stoeker talked about his struggle with pornography and how he was able to overcome the addiction by God’s grace.

Not only was he able to overcome the addiction…but God who is able to do abundantly, exceedingly, more than we ask or imagine…changed the course of his family. While Fred’s father was addicted to pornography and passed that sin along to his son…Fred was able to draw a line in the sand and say no further. His son Jason is a man who is committed to purity and stands along with his dad in living and promoting purity.

It was an amazing story. I felt many emotions while listening to the program. I felt deeply grieved and saddened. No more so than to hear about pornography’s hold on Christian males and young people (both men and women). It’s significant and the ramifications are huge for the body of Christ. It renders the men and women that God has called to serve Him ineffective because they are caught in sin.

Any of us who has been caught in sin’s web know how effectively Satan uses it to trap, condemn and bind us. When we are trapped in our own sin…we don’t want to confront people in their sin…because we know that we are hypocrites. We are unwilling to take a stand for the truth because we are deeply embedded in our own sin. We don’t want to serve because we feel unworthy. There is always the nagging doubt…what if someone finds out?

Fred then made a comment about how God instructs husbands to be the leaders of their home and to love their wife as Christ so loves the church.

That thought…of a husband loving his wife as Christ so loved the church…took hold of me. What would that look like…if a husband really loved his wife that way?

What would it look like if Christians loved people as Christ loved the church? How would it affect our actions and how we treat people? What would our words be like?

Obviously, I feel inadequate and lacking when I measure myself against that standard of love. But then I thought…would I want how I love people to be the measure by which Christ loved me?

If Jesus Christ had the measure of love that I have…would He have gone to the cross? Would He have loved me…who denied Him and sinned against Him for far too many years? Would He have forgiven me of my sin?

In my sinful imperfect self…my love is very far from loving others as Christ so loved the church. Yet…as I submit myself to Jesus Christ and the Father’s will for me…if I yield more and more, day by day to the Holy Spirit…if I seek to know God through the study of His word and through prayer…I can grow in sanctification.

As I love God and yield and submit myself…He will help me to grow and learn how to do what’s impossible to do without Him. This side of heaven…I’ll never achieve that perfect love. But that shouldn’t stop me from doing what God has commanded me to do. To have that perfect love…to love as Christ Jesus loved…requires that I deny myself daily.

But oh… to think how marvelous heaven will be…when all the saints around us are able to love with a more perfect love. Love untainted by sin and selfishness.

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Leftover Love

Theirs was a leftover kind of love
Surely it didn’t start out that way
But before they knew it
All they had left at the end of the day
Was bits and pieces
Scraps from their day

The morning comes early
Goodness knows there is never enough sleep
One rises more easily
The other has a slow wake-up call
An extra cup of coffee
Helps them to keep running on empty

Soon they are off and running
Going their separate ways
There may be a text message
To say I love you
A phone call in the middle of the day
Just to check in

Their jobs are most demanding
Of time, energy and attention
Their very best is given each day
To a company of relative strangers
Of course there is shopping and errands
Necessary to run their household so efficiently

When they arrive home
There is much work that still needs to be done
Lawns to be mowed
Bills that must be paid
Cleaning and laundry
And a meal to prepare

They sit down at the table
Hold hands and say a grace
Both are so tired from their day
Conversation may not ensue
Sometimes they wonder
What’s it all for

Activities abound
Responsibilities call
Bible study, worship and prayer
Serving the body of Christ
It’s all good and yet…
With each demand…there’s a little less to give one another

A sense of accomplishment is never felt
For there are walls left unpainted
Boxes still unpacked
A garden that needs tending
Poems left unwritten
Books yet to be read

At the end of the day
Both fall into bed
With nothing left to give
Exhaustion lures one to sleep
The other reads to quiet the mind
Until a welcome sleep finally comes

In the middle of the night
They awaken ever so briefly
Look over at the one
To whom they pledged their life and love
And wonder…how can our marriage survive
On leftover love

Susan Bunts Wachtel
August 14, 2009

While I know our situation is not unique…we are finding it a challenge with the demands and necessities of life to find the time to spend together as husband and wife.

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The Road Beyond

I’ve been down this road
So many times before
I ought to know it well

Instead of doubt and despair
My mind should be filled
With excitement and prayerful expectation

The road begins
With a prayer
For God’s soon deliverance

Then the wait begins
Sometimes the delay appears to be a no
For God’s timing is oft much different than my own

He takes me to the brink
Where I feel like I cannot endure
Not even one more day

Then God takes me beyond
To the place where I must choose
To doubt or believe God

In the place of beyond
I wait upon the Lord
With faith look for God’s miraculous deliverance

Oh my soul, take courage
For God will never disappoint
When He takes me down the road and beyond

Susan Bunts Wachtel
August 12, 2009

Faith Meter

Recently I’ve been experiencing some spiritual battles that left me feeling soundly defeated. Rather than believing God that I am more than a conqueror and acting on it…I believed the lies of the enemy. Much to my chagrin I’ve taken the bait one too many times.

That’s when I realized…I’m tired be living a defeated life. Tired of choosing fear and anxiety rather than trusting and believing God. Tired of looking at my circumstances and letting them be the measure of my faith. When my circumstances are good and everything is going my way…the faith meter is so high it’s off the charts. When troubles abound and the fiery darts of the enemy assail me…you can’t get a reading.

If my faith meter was instead a heart monitor…the doctors would pronounce me dead and pull the sheet over my head.

Isn’t my faith, to some degree, a measure of my heart towards God? Am I a person who loves God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength? If I don’t believe God is good…no matter what my circumstances…then how can I love Him when life turns ugly?

While meditating on my faith failures…God challenged me with the following thoughts:

  • Will I choose to love God when I don’t understand what He’s doing?
  • Will I choose to bless His holy Name when I don’t understand His purpose for allowing the enemy buffet me?
  • Will I choose to thank Him in all things?
  • Will I choose to obey Him when it’s the hard thing to do?
  • Will I choose to trust Him when I’m hurting?
  • Will I choose to look to Him, not my circumstances?
  • Will I choose to listen to Him only, not give an ear to the enemy?
  • Will I choose to pray rather than fret and imagine the worst?
  • Will I choose to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ?
  • Will I choose to dwell upon that which is good, lovely, and pure and of good report?
  • Will I choose to continue to bring my requests to God…trusting His timing and answer to my prayers?
  • Will I trust that God is working out His good and perfect plan in the trials and tribulations of life?
  • Will I bring my loved ones before the throne of God and seek His wisdom on how to respond?
  • Will I choose to believe that God is doing a work in others, even when it’s not evidenced in the now?
  • Will I choose to saturate my mind with God’s word?
  • Will I seek to know God more?
  • Will I choose to say “Blessed be the Name of the Lord” in good times and bad…and mean it with all my heart?

Fear and anxiety are doubt and unbelief being worked out in my daily life.

Today I choose to believe God, love Him, trust and obey Him. By His power, through Christ and the Holy Spirit dwelling within me…I will be more than a conqueror today.

Tomorrow…I’ll be faced with that choice all over again. But for today…I choose to believe God.

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