Unintended Consequences

How could I have known
Of the unintended consequences
From a decision I made, an action I took

At that moment
It felt like the right thing to do

But now, I see a ripple effect
Which seems like a tsunami
Washing away what I hold dear

Though all around me, everything is slipping away
You alone O Lord will never leave, nor forsake me

Oh Lord, I cry out to You
As the waves crash in, help me hold on to the Anchor of my soul
Help me to trust You Lord Jesus, in the darkest night

Though my words fail, the Holy Spirit intercedes for me
My compassionate Savior prays for me and the merciful Father hears

Susan Bunts Wachtel
December 3, 2017

 

Sometimes its easier to see things in the lives of others, only to look back and see similar seasons in my own life. When I look back and see the trials the Lord has brought me through, I stand amazed. Thank You Jesus for not wasting one trial, or temptation or difficult season. Thank You for the growth that can take place in the most difficult circumstances. Though I can’t see the unintended circumstances that may come from something I do or say today, You can. Help me to look to You, listen and obey You as you guide and direct me.

 

 

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Hard Reading

Last night, before going to sleep, I picked up my Bible to read from Matthew.  I don’t think I realized it until afterwards, when I started reading one of my favorite books “At Home in Mitford”, how challenging it can be to read Bible.

When I read the Bible, I’m examining myself in light of God’s word and that can be hard work!  While my outward actions and words might seem okay, God looks at my heart.  God uses His word to expose the thoughts and intentions of my heart and sometimes it’s not pretty. 

Praise God that I feel that conviction of the Holy Spirit.  Praise God that He is at work in me.  Praise God that when I submit to God in obedience, He changes and molds me into the person He designed me to be, making me into the image and likeness of Christ.  That work will continue until I die.

While I’ll enjoy reading books, fiction and non-fiction, it can be a way to escape and to not confront myself with the mirror of God’s word.  That’s not to say I shouldn’t read books other than the Bible, but I need to put the word of God first in my life.  I need to be ready and willing to let God do the hard work of shining the Light into the dark recesses of my heart and mind and clean out the uglies. 

Listening for the Lord

Do you ever experience those times…when God seems to be silent? 
 
That’s what I’ve been experiencing.  Recently, my husband Chris and I were on vacation and departed from our normal routines.  As much as we need vacations…there’s something that I like about ordinary life.  It’s easier for me to be disciplined in prayer and the study of God’s word when I’m at home.  I find that when I’m living out of a suitcase and traveling from place to place it’s harder for me to be focused in my prayers or to read the Bible without distraction.  So while part of me would like some more time off from work…I appreciate getting back into a disciplined schedule. 
 
While on vacation…I didn’t listen to my I-Pod which is chock full of sermons and Biblically based programs.  I missed it greatly.  During the long drive home…I had the time to put on my head phones and listen to God’s word again….and it felt like a welcomed friend.
 
Since then I’ve been working on my Bible study, reading God’s word and coming before the throne of grace in prayer.  Despite that…my spiritual tanks seem low.  I feel like God has been silent.  I’ve prayed that if there was an area of sin or something that is displeasing to the Lord, that God would help me to see it so that I can repent. 
 
I praise God that daily I can ask for Him to forgive my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me.  But I didn’t feel as though God was bringing to mind an area of disobedience that I needed to address.  Yet…the silence continue and I found myself focusing more and more on me and continuing to ask, “Lord what have I done wrong?”.

When I read my morning email devotional from Elizabeth Elliot a quote leap off the page at me, “There is another reason, I think, for the cause of the feeling (a spirit of discontent) within us.  It comes from the flesh and self-introspection.  It is good for us to look at self and know how loathsome it is, but with one look at self we must take ten looks at Christ.”

When I read that quote, I realized that in the time of silence from God, I had turned my focus inward.  In my attempt to examine myself for sin or a barrier between God and me…I had taken my eyes off the Lord. 

I need to keep my eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ, stay in the word of God and preserver in prayer.  God calls us to walk by faith, not by sight.   I must not allow myself to be drawn off course by my feelings.  When I’ve sinned, I can trust the Holy Spirit to bring it to mind so that I can confess and repent. 

No matter if it’s a fruitful and intimate time with the Lord or a time of silence…I need to keep my eyes on Jesus Christ.

The Forgotten God

He is the Forgotten God
Oft thought of as “It”, rather than He
 
In today’s church He bears little resemblance
To the Holy Spirit’s work in New Testament believers
 
Do our lives reflect the work of the Holy Spirit
Or do we desire to experience more
 
He is the promised Counselor and Comforter
Our bodies are His temple and He resides within
 
The Holy Spirit has been unleashed
He is available to all believers
 
He empowers us with supernatural gifts for the brethren
Through Him we can put sin to death in us
 
Our lives can be radically different
Won’t you yield to the Holy Spirit’s active work within? 
by Susan Bunts Wachtel
May 21, 2010
 
This poem was inspired by Francis Chan’s new book “The Forgotten God”. 

Darkness of the Soul

There is a certain darkness to your soul
Unapproachable
A place where no one can come in

Your thoughts remain private
Silence
I’m at a loss on what to say or do

A frown so deep, so low
Profound
Sadness, loneliness or is it anger I see

I cry out to God
Desperate
For His presence to go before you

My words so ineffective
Intercede Holy Spirit
Translate when I don’t know what to pray

Susan Bunts Wachtel
July 15, 2009


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The Pretender

He sat in the pews among us
Heard sermons proclaiming God’s Word
Sang the great hymns alongside us
He was with us, but not of us

Sermons were heard
But his heart was not convicted
Hymns were sung
But there was no worship in his heart nor praise on his lips

He tasted the Bread of Life
But did not eat
He sipped the Living Water
But did not drink

His heart has become hardened
His ears accustomed to tuning out the Word of God
The Holy Spirit knocks at the door of his heart
But that knocking will one day cease

He has been enlightened, tasted and shared
In the goodness and mercy of the Lord
Yet he continues to sin
There is no sign of repentance

Oh Lord
May he heed Your warning
That it is impossible for those who have fallen away
To be brought back to repentance

By Susan Bunts Wachtel
May 31, 2009

Hebrews 6:4-6

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

It was sobering hearing a Bible study taught by Pastor Dave Dunn on Hebrew 6:1-8. We all know people who sit alongside us in church that are not Christians. They hear the Word of God but continue unrepentant in their sin. Tuning out the warnings of the Holy Spirit.

There may be some who give the appearance of being a Christian, but there is no growth or demonstration of the fruit of the Spirit in their life. While there may be no overt sin, their hearts are far from God and they will one day walk away. They are in church, but not in Christ. Oh Lord, may they not presume upon Your mercy and but turn to You for forgiveness of their sin. Today is the day of salvation.

Oh Lord, may I examine my own heart, mind, will and actions. Measure them against Your Word. May I have ears to hear and a heart that is quick to repent and turn to You.

Victory

Tonight, the Lord enabled me

To snatch victory from the jaws of the enemy




When I heard the word…a smile crossed my lips

“Yes Lord…forgive”




The battle began early

I felt pummeled…assaulted on every side




Relentless…unending

Subtle…but it was an effective attack




Who would recognize it

Trace it back…to the enemy




Who would recognize the handwriting

Scripted by the hater of my soul




It felt like a war

The enemy was on every front




It left me wounded and numb

Spent…barely able to lift my head




Then the “piece of resistance”

Words wielded…left me battered and bloody




Oh Lord…just get me through this day

Help me to not respond in kind




Understanding their true nature

Brought no comfort




Knowledge that they are but a puppet of the enemy

Was not a healing balm to my soul




But in the quiet…at the end of the day

I came to the end of my reserves




It was there that the Holy Spirit reminded me

Of my “new nature” in Christ




He’s the One

When He whispered the word, “Forgive”…peace filled my soul




He’s the One who will enable me to return the arena

Enter where the prowling lions seek to devour me




Yet I fear not…for He is the One

Who will shut tight the jaws that would otherwise crush me




Tonight…the Holy Spirit within

Enabled me to forgive




In doing so He snatched victory

From the deadly jaws of Satan




A powerful and effective foe to a created one

But a defeated foe to the Kind of kings and Lord of lords




By Susan Bunts

September 9, 2008