Marriage & the Bride of Christ

If marriage is supposed to be a picture of Jesus Christ and the church, the bride of Christ…what does that mean for my marriage in everyday life?  How is that reflected in how I treat my husband?
In love…do I hope all things, believe all things and bear all things? 
Am I patient, kind and gentle?
Do I lay aside my prerogative and put my spouse first? 
Do I treat my spouse as though God the Father is my Father-in-law?
Do I show respect and honor?  Not only when my husband is present…but also when I’m out with friends?  Or do join in the conversation and bag on my husband?
Do I remain pure…in my thoughts and in my heart?  Or do I entertain lustful or adulterous thoughts? 
Do I pray for my husband every day?  Do I pray for my will or God’s will for him?
Do I encourage my husband’s relationship with God through Bible study, prayer and fellowship with godly Christian men? 
Do I build him up or tear him down?  Do I believe in him and his capabilities or do I only see that which is wrong?
Do I see him growing in Christ and encourage that?
Do I relax, trust and believe in my husband, confident that he is capable and able?
Do I believe in the permanence of marriage?  Just as God is a covenant maker and keeper…so too our marriage is permanent? 
Do I believe that our marriage is transcendent?  That marriage is bigger than us as a couple or us as individuals?  That it can be a tool in God’s hand to witness to the world?
I don’t know about you…but that seems like such an impossible list to live out because of my sinful human nature.  But praise God…He is patient and has given me His Holy Spirit.  Gradually, He is conforming me into the image and likeness of Christ.  When I resist it’s painful…yet when I yield it’s hard, but at the same time good.  When I have a set back and fall…He picks me up and sets me on the straight and narrow path again.  

(Note…picture is from our wedding pictures take by Sherry Hebestreit)

2010 Shepherd’s Conference

Pulpit Highlights – John MacArthur from Grace Community Church on Vimeo.

The audio/video from the 2010 Shepherd’s Conference is posted and available for free download.  Talk about some great preaching!  These men love God and are faithful to preach the full counsel of God’s word.  Go to the Shepherd’s Conference website and partake in a banquet of God’s word. 

Missing You

The silence is piercing
It bears witness that you are no longer here

The bed that once held you stands empty
The blanket that comforted you, brings comfort no more

Everywhere I look
There are memories of you

The house seems a little too quiet
Our home a little too empty

My heart is a little bit broken
My smile seems a little bit sad

Everywhere I look
There are reminders that I’m missing you

by Susan Bunts Wachtel
March 27, 2010

In Light of the Cross – Submission to God’s Authority

As a Christian, is there any area in my life that should not be brought in to submission under the authority of Jesus Christ?  Is there any area that I can hold back?

Does liberty and freedom mean license to sin or is the power to live in obedience to Christ?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! – 1 Corinthians 5:17

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. – Ephesians 4:22-24
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

Does submitting to Christ’s authority influence the choices I make each day?   Does it touch the root level and impact what I choose to think about?

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  I am to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. – II Corinthians 10:5

For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?”  But we have the mind of Christ. – I Corinthians 2:16

Does Christ’s authority impact my words and what I say?  Does it impact how I treat my husband?
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. – Luke 6:45

Does it influence what I read, what I listen to, and what I watch on TV or in movies?  Does it impact what I choose to wear or how I spend money?
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2

Then He said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. – Luke 9:23

For it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:16

Is there any area in my life, anything at all, that should not be brought under the authority and submission of Jesus Christ?

What did Jesus Christ withhold on the cross? 

If Jesus Christ, Who is God the Son, equal with God the Father, chose obedience how much more so should I? 

Moss…Lessons on the Will to Live

When I woke up this morning…I wouldn’t have guessed before the night was over I would have my kitty Moss put to sleep.  Moss was eighteen years old…actually just three months shy of nineteen.

It’s not like I didn’t know the day was coming…but it seems very surreal.

Just shy of two years ago, I had Moss’ brother Nathan put to sleep.  I never would have guessed that Moss would survive Nathan by two more years.  From the day he was born…he was the shier, more reticent of the two.  Moss was easily intimidated by his less than maternal mother Daisy.  Nathan had some gumption and would not take her guff.  But Moss…he would cower when Daisy passed by.

After Nathan was put to sleep, Moss surprised me and did very well.  He bonded with my newest addition Rudy.  Rudy being the sociable soul that he is, made fast friends with Moss.  I think, in part, that is what strengthened Moss and gave him that strong will to live.

Moss loved Rudy…and whatever affection Rudy would send his way…Moss would take every bit of it. 

Despite being senile, mostly deaf and failing sight…Moss did amazingly well.  Some health issues that he had previously had improved greatly and he was holding his own.  That is until about 4 months ago. 

One day while Moss was standing in the kitchen waiting to be fed I looked at him and realized that his leg looked like it was kind of bowed out.  I wasn’t sure if it was an optical illusion or if something was wrong. 

A visit to the vet’s office revealed that Moss had broken his leg.  As best they could determine, it was because his bones were very brittle.  Like humans, animals can develop osteoporosis.  Who would have guessed that?  Well…that was the beginning of casts. 

Moss had his first cast put on December 5th.  When I brought him home from the vet, I was worried about how he would get around.  I needn’t worry…because before long not only did he walk with ease, he would run when it was time for breakfast or dinner.  Never once did he give any evidence that he was in pain.  That’s why I was surprised at the news at the next doctor’s visit.

Fully expecting news that Moss’ leg was better…I was stunned to find out that it wasn’t healing and was in fact worse.  Without doing a bone biopsy, the best determination was that Moss had bone cancer and that was preventing the bone from healing.  I couldn’t justify having him put through that at 18 years old.  So I made the decision to keep him as comfortable as possible and enable him to keep getting around, as long as possible.  As long as he had life in him…and enjoyed his days.

Each month I would take Moss in for a cast check and to have his leg rewrapped.  Each time…he learned how to walk on the new cast.  Be it a cast up to his elbow or a cast up to his shoulder…he got around.  He really didn’t show signs of being in pain…that is until the last couple of days. 

Even with that…he got around very well.  He ate just fine.  But his meows were incessant…they seemed like they were 24/7.  We were exhausted from just hearing him.  I can’t even imagine how tired he must have been to meow so much.  Not tiny little meows…but ones with a lot of force behind them.

So tonight…realizing that last night wasn’t just a bad night for Moss…it was something more…I made the hard decision to have Moss put to sleep.  The little guy had to have been in a whole lot of pain.  He just covered it up really well…until it hurt too much to cover it up. 

Chris went with me to the emergency vet office and we were there with Moss till the end.  I had to be there you see…because I held him just moments after he was born.  It was only right that I be there to hold him at the end.

This timid and shy kitty demonstrated the strongest will to live.  Pain didn’t stop him; it didn’t slow him down for long.  I think the impetus to live came from the love of his brother Rudy.  Rudy gave him the love his mama Daisy never gave, nor his brother Nathan.  But Rudy paid him attention and showed him the affection we all need. 

So tonight our home may be quiet…but I wonder if I will sleep?  I’m sure it will be a while before it will seem real that Moss is gone…after nearly 19 years.  Good night my sweet boy…sleep tight.  Your mama misses you.

Moss Bunts Wachtel
Born:  June 17, 1991
Died:  March 21, 2010

Time for a Change

Last weekend there was some mumbling, grumbling and complaining going on as people got up early to make it to church on time.  Ordinarily getting up early is not a big deal, but with the time change springing forward one hour, people seem to feel the effects more than falling back one hour. 
I found myself complaining, but even before the words left my mouth, I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
God brought to mind the millions of people around the world who are not able to worship freely.  They wouldn’t grumble and complain because they had to get up early.  Instead they would be praising God that they would get to join their brothers and sisters in Christ in worshipping Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior and diligently study God’s word. 
Praise God…for the churches that preach and teach the full counsel of God’s word.  Those congregations are fed a veritable banquet and feast on God’s word each week. 

When we get home how many of us set our Bible down, only to be picked up again when we are heading out the door to church the next Sunday?  May we be mindful of the millions of people who would love to hold the Bible in their hands and read it with their own eyes. 
If we knew that tomorrow laws would be passed that would forbid us to attend church would there be an outcry from God’s people?  Would we flock to church in record numbers?  If we knew our Bibles would be taken away from us, outlawed or banned, how would we treat God’s Word? 

May we live in light of the precious gifts we have been given by God.  May we not take lightly our freedom to worship and read our Bible.