Oh How I Love Jesus

Tonight at Bible study we sang the hymn “Oh How I Love Jesus.”  As we sang acapella my thoughts began to wander and I found myself thinking what will it be like when we are seated at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb?
Who will I sit next to?  Will it be family or friends that I knew all my life?  Or will it be a new friend that I will get to know in eternity?  Will we break out into songs of praise and worship with the people seated next to us, giving praise, honor and glory to the Lamb of God, the King of kings and Lord of lords. 
Oh How I Love Jesus
By Frederick Whitfield
  1. There is a Name I love to hear,
    I love to sing its worth;
    It sounds like music in my ear,
    The sweetest Name on earth.
    • Refrain:
      Oh, how I love Jesus,
      Oh, how I love Jesus,
      Oh, how I love Jesus,
      Because He first loved me!
  2. It tells me of a Savior’s love,
    Who died to set me free;
    It tells me of His precious blood,
    The sinner’s perfect plea.
  3. It tells me of a Father’s smile
    Beaming upon His child;
    It cheers me through this little while,
    Through desert, waste, and wild.
  4. It tells me what my Father hath
    In store for every day,
    And though I tread a darksome path,
    Yields sunshine all the way.
  5. It tells of One whose loving heart
    Can feel my deepest woe;
    Who in each sorrow bears a part
    That none can bear below.
  6. It bids my trembling heart rejoice;
    It dries each rising tear;
    It tells me, in a “still small voice,”
    To trust and never fear.
  7. Jesus, the Name I love so well,
    The Name I love to hear:
    No saint on earth its worth can tell,
    No heart conceive how dear.
  8. This Name shall shed its fragrance still
    Along this thorny road,
    Shall sweetly smooth the rugged hill
    That leads me up to God.
  9. And there with all the blood-bought throng,
    From sin and sorrow free,
    I’ll sing the new eternal song
    Of Jesus’ love for me.

Five Minute Friday – True Grit

When I first saw this week’s word “Grit” the movie True Grit came to mind.  I remember the scene of John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn riding his horse across a meadow with guns blazing.
Grit…now that’s a rather interesting word.
Some people are like gritty sandpaper in my life.  God uses them to buff out and polish off some of the rough not so pretty parts of my personality or character.  The key is, to having the perspective that God is using them in the middle of those difficult days with difficult people.  It doesn’t feel too good, but in retrospect I see how God uses them.
In fact I have one of those sandpaper people in my life right now.  I find myself saying, “Lord, I don’t understand?”  The other day when I was bemoaning the latest offence the Lord impressed upon me that perhaps I should ask, “Lord, what lesson do You want me to learn in this?”
Before I get too cocky and think too highly of myself, I need to remember thatI may be someone’s gritty, irritating sandpaper person. 
Here’s one of the definitions of the word grit:  firmness of mind or spirit : unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger.
Now I rather like that!  I would like it to be said, “Now she displayed a lot of grit.”  But I want to be a godly woman of grit.  Not one that is self-willed and unyielding, but one who can stand firm because I know my God, who He is and what He can do and because I know Whose I am. 

This post is being linked to 5-Minute Friday courtesy of The Gypsy Mama, where you simply write for 5 minutes without worrying if it’s right or not.  Head on over and take the challenge today.  It’s kind of fun!

A Fragile Life

As we near home
I’m overcome with sadness
Thinking about how fragile life is
Memories of loved ones
Long since gone
Flood my mind
Time with them will never pass this way again
A chance to say I love you is gone
As soon as death shuts that door
Sickness and pain
Touch each life
Death is a certainty for us all
May I not take you for granted
Each day, tell you I love you
Hold you as if it may be the last time
Susan Wachtel
February 12, 2012

Five Minute Friday…Delight In the Lord

As soon as I heard the word delight, Psalm 37:4 came to mind.  “Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
I also thought of a quote from Michelle at “A HeartSurrendered”, “God will never introduce anything into your life that is a substitute for Him.”
I’ve been the recipient of God’s goodness and grace when He answered my lifelong prayer to be married by bringing Chris Wachtel into my life.  God has given me the love of photography, writing and music.  How easy it is in my sinful nature to replace God in Whom I delight with the gifts and blessings He bestows upon me.
Whenever I get unbalanced in life and my love for the Lord wanes He has a way of getting my attention.  When that happens I remember that I need to guard my heart and keep my mind it stayed on the Lord. 
How easy it is to fall into the trap of replacing God with people or things or work, none of which is bad in and of itself.  But when taken to excess and when my heart, mind, time, attention and affection is focused on anyone or anything else other than God first, I’ve failed to delight myself in the Lord.
Oh Lord, teach me to guard my heart and keep You first place in my heart, mind and soul. 

This post is being linked to 5-Minute Friday courtesy ofThe Gypsy Mama, where you simply write for 5 minutes without worrying if it’s right or not.  Head on over and take the challenge today.

Five Minute Friday – Trusting God

When I saw today’s word for Five Minute Friday was trust, I was pleased because that’s a subject I’m familiar with. 
I guess I could go into all sorts of reasons psychological and otherwise why trust is hard for me, but at the end of the day I still need to learn to trust.  I need to be able to trust people and more importantly I need to trust God.
Obviously, any obstacle to trusting God is within me and not related to God.  When I’ve felt it was hard to trust God, it’s not because He’s changed or that He’s not good, or that He has selfish motives behind what He’s doing in my life.
Trusting God has been a twofold process for me.  The most important and influential piece that has helped me to trust God more is to know the word of God.  To read the Bible on my own, participate in an in-depth study and sit under the teaching of Pastors who are scripturally grounded and unafraid to preach the word, in season and out of season. 
In studying the Bible, I see what the Lord does in the lives of other people and what happens when people choose to sin or to remain steadfast and obedient to God.  I see the realities of life: sickness, pain, death and sorrow will touch each life and I can be certain that I won’t escape them either.  It would be unrealistic to expect that God will or should exempt me from the difficult things of life.
The second thing that has helped me learn to trust is to walk with God over time.  I see mercy God’s goodness and faithfulness to me.  I see His and compassion even when I don’t deserve it.  I reap the consequences of my poor sinful choices and know that my heavenly Father disciplines me. 
Trust for me has been both a learning thing and a faith thing.
This post is being linked to Gypsy Mama’s 5-Minute Friday where you simply write for 5 minutes without worrying if it’s right or not.  Head on over and give it a try!

An Offering

This evening at Bible study we sang a song called “We Are An Offering” by Dwight Lilies. 
I had never heard the song before.  But as we sang the lyrics I was thinking, if we looked at our lives and everything we do as an offering to God would it change what we choose to do and say? 
If I lift up my voice as an offering to God, then it won’t be raised in anger or to tear someone down.  When I lift up my hands to God as an offering, then I won’t lift up my hands to strike someone. 
Oh Lord, teach me to daily live my life as an offering to You. 
We Are An Offering
By Dwight Lilies
We lift our voices, we lift our hands
We lift our lives up to You
We are an offering
Lord use our voices, Lord use our hands
Lord use our lives, they are Yours
We are an offering

All that we have, all the we are
All that we hope to be
We give to You, we give to You

We lift our voices, we lift our hands
We lift our lives up to You
We are an offering, we are an offering

Tough Love

They call it tough love
Because in the best interest of the person
I have to say “No!”
To tell you the truth
I think it’s harder on me to say no
Than the person on the receiving end
Another desperate phone call
What is it this time? 
How long before I hear another anxious plea?
Intentional or not, there’s manipulation
It’s a no win situation
Feeling a lot like a puppet these days
I don’t even pick up the phone anymore
Just let it go to voicemail
I’ll listen later and ask, “Lord, what should I do?”
Everyone needs a little help now and again
But when you don’t learn to make better choices
It’s time you hear the answer “No!”
As an adult
You need to be responsible and independent
Not always expecting a handout
If I give in to your latest request
All I’m doing is shielding you
From reaping the consequences of bad decisions
So my friend
The answer is “No!”
But I will bring you before the throne of grace in prayer
Susan Wachtel
February 6, 2012
This poem is not about the person going through truly desperate times right now, through no fault of their own.  This is about the person whose made receiving a handout a lifestyle.  The person who never heard or respected the word no.  
When talking with a family member tonight and asking for advice, she reminded me that at times God says no to our pleas for help.  He does it for our good and sometimes the best and most responsible thing we can do is say “No!” and faithfully pray for the person. 

Five Minute Friday – Real Sad

When I looked up the word real, some of the synonyms were “actual, factual and genuine.” 
When I think of my brother Patrick Bunts who has been missing now for about six or seven years now, I feel genuinely sad.  The last time I remember speaking to him was at Christmas time, when he called my mother’s room at the assisted living facility at Brighton Gardens.  I didn’t think his phone call was motivated by real good intentions. 
In the intervening years, I’ve done searches for him and found information that indicates he is alive.  But my attempts to contact him have returned void.
Patrick was in possession of our family picture albums which I would love have to have back.  I believe he also may have a Christmas apron that belonged to my mother, which I would love to hold in my hands once again. 
Sometimes when I think about those missing picture albums, I ask myself do I miss them more than I do my brother?  While I do long to see them once again, there is never a day that goes by in which I don’t think about Patrick and wonder where he’s at.  There’s not a day that I don’t pray for his salvation.  There’s not a day in which I don’t pray that the Lord will bring someone in his life that will speak the truth of the Gospel message to him. 
When I think of Patrick, I feel real sad.  Not only do I have a brother that’s missing, but I have a brother who is lost.  
This post is being linked to The Gypsy Mama’s 5-Minute Friday where you simply write for 5 minutes without worrying if it’s right or not.  Head on over and give it a try!