I’ve decided I want to approach the coming New Year with a “Today” kind of attitude.

Goodness knows 2010 has been a challenging year for me personally, for family, friends and even our nation. 

As I passed through some difficult waters one thing that helped was to take it just one day at a time.  When I was uncertain about what tomorrow would bring…I was able to say, “Thank You Lord for what I have today.”  When faced with overwhelming demands…I asked, “What do I need to accomplish today?”

When I have troubles or trials…it’s helpful to know that it’s for today.  I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.  But by God’s grace I can get through today.

I can be grateful for what I have today and not be presumptuous and demanding on the goodness and grace of God for tomorrow.  I’m not guaranteed tomorrow…but I do have today.

May I be dependent upon the Lord today.

May I pray for what I need today.

May I praise and worship God today.

May I confess and repent of my sins today.

May I be ready for the Lord’s soon return today.

This is the day the LORD has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

Focus, Focus, Focus

Why is it that it’s so easy to get my focus off of God?

When my focus is on me…I’m prideful.

When my focus is on others…I’m insecure.

When my focus is on things…I’m superficial.

When my focus is on self righteousness…I’m legalistic.

When my focus is on man’s praises…I’m fickle.

When my focus is on what I can see….I’m faithless.

When my focus is on Christ…everyone and everything else falls into its proper perspective.

So Cold

This fall and winter it’s been unusually cold and wet here in southern California.  Tonight the weather forecasters predict that it will be 39 degrees…now that is just plain burr chilly burr especially for this southern California weather wimp!

As soon as I arrived home I turned on the heater and went to bring the bird feeders in for the night.  As I entered our home the heat had just come on and I thanked God for our home, heat, running water and so much more.  Then I started thinking what it must be like for those who are homeless.  What do they do when it rains for 7 days straight like it did last week?  What do they do on a cold night like this; where do they go?

Then my thoughts turned to my brother Patrick Henry Bunts who has been missing for a number of years now.  He’s a troubled individual and has made some bad choices in his life and I don’t know what’s happened to him. Patrick’s actions and behavior lead me to believe that he may have substance abuse problems. 

The last time I spoke with him it was probably about five of six years ago at Christmas.  He called the assisted living place where my mother lived to wish her a Merry Christmas.  Our conversation was brief…I wasn’t too keen about speaking to him because of his dishonesty towards a family member. 

If I had known that was the last time I would speak to him what would I have said?

Our mother died a few years after that last conversation.  When she died, I tried to contact my brother to no avail.  He probably doesn’t even know she’s dead.  Each year since then I’ve paid to do a background check to see if there is any information on his whereabouts.  Thus far…the searches have come empty.  They have lots of old data…but for the last four or five years there has been no information on where he lives or works. 

I don’t know if he’s in prison or too drugged up to know night from day.  Is he working and living under someone else’s name and identification?  Is he still alive?   I don’t know…but thoughts of him are never far from my mind. 

If I made contact with him…I’m not sure what I would say.  Part of me would want to hug him, tell him I love him and share the gospel message because he desperately needs it.  There’s another part of me that would like to swat him right upside the head and yell, “What in the world were you thinking!”

When I encounter homeless people in the parking lot asking for money, I think of my brother.  I wonder…is he doing that somewhere?  If he is…what kind of people does he encounter?  What are their responses to him?  How would I respond if I didn’t know it was him?  Would I buy him a meal?  Would I talk with him or turn away?

When it’s a cold night like tonight…I think of Patrick and wonder where he is?  Perhaps one day I’ll find out.  Until then…I’ll wonder and continue to pray that God, who is not willing that any should perish, will bring someone along to share the Gospel message with my brother who is desperately lost.  Lord willing he’s still alive and there’s still a chance.

A Closer Walk

While I’d love to sit down and write until midnight, the clock is reminding me I’ll be getting up far too soon and don’t have that luxury tonight. 

As we come to the end of another year…my thoughts are turning to what do I want to do different in the New Year?  How do I want to be different a year from now than I am today?

I know that I want to have a closer walk with the Lord and know Him more intimately.  I know that will necessitate regular Bible study and reading of God’s word and time in prayer.  I will need to have an open and teachable heart and be willing to bend and yield my will to God’s will. 

There were a couple of things that happened today that reinforced that desire for a closer walk with the Lord.

Something I pray for my husband and friends is that they will take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ and choose to meditate on that which is true, noble, just and pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy. 

The Lord has used frequently used those scriptures to help me reign in my thoughts and words, when in my own will I would be going down a wrong path.  Today was one of those days.  Right off the bat, I could have been offended.  I wanted to go one way and complain to the Lord about what someone did wrong.  Instead God challenged me to do as I pray. 

Once I focused my thoughts…and prayed scripture…I was able to focus and move on.  The offense didn’t even matter at that point. 

Later in the day I had an encounter with someone who is an unbeliever.  As they shared about what’s going on in their life, I found myself so grateful that as a Christian I can know right from wrong very clearly in God’s word.  By knowing it and obeying it…God protects me from so much. 

At the Bible study I attend, this Christmas they handed out little boxes that were beautifully wrapped.  The teaching director asked us to pray and see what God would have us give Him for Christmas.  As the days past by and we got closer to Christmas I was thinking more and more…what should I give God for Christmas. 

It was almost as God was saying the words out loud, “Love Me more.” 

Yes Lord…I want to love You more and know You more.  I want a closer walk with Thee Lord Jesus.  Just a closer walk with Thee. 

Thank You Jesus

As I awakened this cool and foggy Christmas morn, my thoughts turn to You Lord Jesus.  May I humbly come before You and give You the gift of thanksgiving.

  • Thank You Jesus for submitting Yourself unto the Father’s plan.
  • Thank You for choosing to lay aside Your Glory and take on human flesh.
  • Thank You for taking my sin upon You on the cross and enduring the Father’s wrath which I deserved. 
  • Thank You for living a sinless life and proving that You alone are worthy and able to be our sacrificial Lamb.
  • Thank You for setting Your face like flint towards the cross.
  • Thank You for not taking the enemy’s bait and choosing the easy way out.
  • Thank You that on the cross You cried out the words, “It is finished.”  My sin debt was marked “Paid in Full.”
  • Thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to dwell within me, refine and grow me.
  • Thank You for being faithful when I am faithless and weak.
  • Thank You, that even though I will fail You, You will never fail me.
  • Thank You for giving me the freedom to choose You.
  • Thank You for doing the impossible, removing the blinders from my eyes, enlightening my mind which was once darkened, so that I could see and believe the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord.
  • Thank You for Your patience and waiting for me, at the age of 32, when I bent my knee, confessed with my mouth and believed with my heart that You are Lord.
  • Thank You for taking my sin away, sending it as far as the east is from the west and remembering it no more.
  • Thank You for giving me the inerrant Word of God so that I might know You and the Father whom You came to reveal.
  • Thank You for unbending, unchanging truth contained in the Bible.
  • Thank You for sitting at the right hand of the Father where You make intersession for me.
  • Thank You for prayer and hearing my prayers.
  • Thank You for Your Holy Spirit Who takes my prayers that I can’t even put into words and translates them.
  • Thank You for sharing Your heart’s desire that no one would perish, but all would come to eternal life.
  • Thank You for Your delay in returning because that’s another day in which people can repent and receive You as Lord.
  • Thank You for the opportunity to pray for unsaved family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and even enemies.
  • Thank You that You are able to work all things together for good.
  • Thank You that You are able to weave a beautiful tapestry from my messed up life.
  • Thank You for the comfort and assurance that You will soon take Your bride, the church, home to heaven.
  • Thank You for the promise that You will one day return and rule and reign forever and ever.
  • Thank You that You will cast the enemy into the Lake of Fire and that he will be punished forever and ever without end. 
  • Thank You that in pain, sickness, sorrow, and even death, Your saints can have peace, joy and the comfort of Your presence.

Lord Jesus…may I live a life that reflects my thanks to You.  May I be so bold Lord, in the midst of giving thanks, to ask for the salvation for the many people whom You have placed on my heart?  That today would be their day of salvation.  That the angels in heaven would rejoice as many people repent from their sins and turn to You and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior.