Becoming One

It’s in becoming one,
Where we will learn to willingly surrender,
That which God will one day require of us.

It’s in becoming one,
We learn that submission and selflessness,
Are far superior to selfishness that the world inspires.

It’s in becoming one,
That we learn the eternal immeasurable value,
Of people and relationships over things.

It’s in becoming one,
We learn transparency and loving communication,
Choosing vulnerability and risking wounds from a faithful friend.

Oh Lord, may we realize,
That in avoiding selfless surrender,
We will only delay…even increase pain inherent in the inevitable.

Lord, may You bless and reward,
The fruits of our labor to become one,
Enable and strengthen us as we draw close to You!

By Susan Bunts
June 30, 2008

Dedicated to my love…Chris Wachtel…whom I will become one with on October 4th, 2008.

As we prepare ourselves to wed…we are not only amazed at how much work it is to get married but are becoming aware of just how painful that “becoming one” can be. Goodness knows that the sacrifices are many but the rewards are well worth it.

We contemplate the painful parting with things we once treasured and now find ourselves moving beyond our former lives. Forging ahead into “us” instead of “me”.

While at times it’s really hard…a reflection on the losses that so many people have experienced in recent days and weeks with the flooding in the Midwest serves as a timely reminder that which we may attempt to hold onto God may one day require of us. Will He have to pry it out of our tightly closed hands? How much better to come to Him with open hands and willingly surrender that which He has entrusted to us for a season.

In doing so…it is our prayer that God will reward and bless our willingly surrender to Him and His plan for our lives.

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Fleshly Wisdom

You know…there are times I think God must just be weary of dealing with me. Positively weary! Honestly…sometimes I’m weary of being dealt with. Goodness knows I need it. It seems like when I actually “get it” and understand what God wants…that lasts for about 20 seconds…and then I’m back to being a bonehead again.

As I look at my actions and words over the past few days…I wonder…do I live my life as if I have a relationship with the living God who loves me and sent His Son to die for me? Specifically in the area of going to God with questions and asking for help when I desire wisdom and discernment.

I’m afraid to admit it…but I find I like to get my answers from someone who has flesh on…who I can see face to face.

I acknowledge that when I’m asking a person…something that only God knows the answer to…I’m getting answers and feedback that is lacking. Sometimes woefully lacking. Also I can manipulate the situation based on what information I share. That manipulation may not even be intentional…just a predisposition or prejudice to view my situation in a certain manner.

But goodness knows I can’t do that with God.

So today…when I found myself asking a friend for advice…I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit. God saying to me, “Susan, why are you going to her for advice? Why aren’t you coming to Me? Asking Me for discernment and wisdom and help in your situation?”

Why do I first tend to go to humans for wisdom, instead of God?

When I go to God…I need to quite my spirit…and put some thought into what I’m asking or want. As I draw close to God…I see that perhaps that which I desire is not of His will…and then I’m faced with the decision to surrender or not? Am I ready and willing to state, “Thy will be done”?

God knows the truth…He knows the situation intimately…and people involved. I can’t fool Him or spin my story in a way that is favorable to me. And I may not get an answer right away. There may be a delay…and it may appear as if God is not going to answer. That requires that I wait and trust Him and His timing and His will and His wisdom.

Thus…the human answer seems easier and more desirable in the short run. The problem is…it’s based on limited finite human knowledge. When I have my ear tuned to man’s wisdom…I usually make poor decisions. Especially when I’m listening to my own voice unchecked by the word of God.

So Jesus…I bring before you my situation…my dilemma. I confess…I don’t know what to do…I don’t know what’s going on…both in me and others? I don’t know what step to take next…or not to take? I don’t know what to say or do. I don’t know if I should shut up and let go and let God? Or if I should persevere…and demonstrate great faith? I don’t know. But Jesus…You know. You are omniscient…You know each of us intimately. You planned our lives from before the foundation of the world. You know the good plan that You have for me. You know that which is according to Your perfect will. So Jesus…I ask You to give me wisdom. Help me to have an ear to hear You. To follow Your guidance and direction. Help me to surrender and obey. Help me to trust You and be patient…to believe despite what’s in front of me. Help me to walk in love…and think of the other person’s good before I think of myself. When I’m frustrated and want to give up…help me instead to bring the situation and person before Your throne in prayer. Jesus…I’m sorry for not trusting You fully and leaning on my own understanding and seeking my will before Yours. Help me to love others more than I love myself or want to get my way. Thank You for forgiving me of all my sins…and washing me in the precious blood of the Lamb. Help me to make decisions and live my life in such a manner that I bring You glory. I come to You in Jesus name…Amen!

Take Peace

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” – John 14:27

This past weekend when visiting my friend Ruth…I realized how much I lack the very thing I experienced while at her home. From the moment I walked in…a sense of peace enveloped me. It was so recognizable that I felt as if I could reach out and touch it. When I commented about it to Ruth…she mentioned that the peace in their home was God answering their prayers and desire to have peace reign in their hearts and home.

Last week I felt like I had bit of a meltdown…a major crisis of my faith. On Sunday morning as I was getting ready for church…I had the overwhelming impression from God, “Susan, I want you to meet Me at the foot of the cross. We have some business to take care of.”

I am most fortunate…because I can actually walk to the foot of a cross our church property. While symbolic…in certain respects it is very powerful in bringing me into the presence of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That outward symbol is not something I need every time…but I surely did this time. Praise God…it was available to me.

When I asked my precious friend Danita if she would walk to the cross with me…I was so relieved when she said yes. We chatted as we walked up the road. Amazingly we only encountered a little mud on the path left over from the prior day’s rain. But the steep hill you climb up to get to the cross was dry and we were able to navigate it with ease. I just love the walking up to the cross. It’s so peaceful and quiet. A big freeway lies below…but you would never know it with quiet that surrounds you.

When we reached the cross…Danita and I looked down at our church…and we chatted some more. We talked about God’s faithfulness to our church and marveled at what He is doing. I shared a little bit with Danita about my struggle and asked if she would pray with me.

“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” – Matthew 18:20

I could feel God’s presence and it didn’t take long for the tears to flow as I confessed my lack of faith and desperation for God to intervene in my situation. I found that when I spoke the truth of God’s word…I was comforted and the tears stopped. Yet I was broken. Precious Danita prayed too…and her gentle and understanding words brought me much comfort. Thank you Jesus for bringing just the right person to accompany me on my trip to the cross.

I very relieved after that…and God ministered to my heart the rest of the day. I thought I was done with God taking me to task regarding this episode. But I was wrong. Thankfully…when I need correction He deals with me in small doses that I can handle. A little bit at a time.

Today’s lesson was peace. Even though I dealt with the issue my failing faith I didn’t see the outworking actions and consequences that remained. As I doubt God and who He is and the truth and reliability of His word…then I want to be in control of my life. I seek the counsel and wisdom of man…not God and His word.

There is a fine line…because if I’m speaking with a Christian rooted and grounded in the word of God…I may receive godly counsel. But I may receive man’s watered down version of God’s word instead of the powerful word of God. That which is able to change lives and change people. That which is able to save the souls of men from hell. Why wouldn’t I go directly to the source?

When I’m anxious and trying to be in control of my life…I have no peace. I’m trying to keep all plates spinning in the air. Then they start crashing in…one by one. Suddenly all around me everything is shattered, broken and jagged. It will hurt me when I step on it or try to walk away. Gee wiz…when, oh when, will I ever learn?

God impressed upon me the verse from John 14:27…where Jesus tells His disciples that He will give them His peace. He gave it to them and He will give it to me too.

Give. Give…if someone gives me something…I need to take it. I need to receive it. If my hands are full…and someone offers me something more valuable…won’t I set down that which is of little worth? Gladly and pick up that which is of lasting value from One who loves me.

So why am I not taking the peace that Jesus is offering me?

What am I holding on to instead? Why? What lies of the enemy am I believing? Even if I’m in the midst of circumstances I don’t want to be in and pray for God to change them…isn’t it better to have peace in the midst of those circumstances?

But of course there is price…it means I have to be prayer. Hand over my circumstances. Surrender my will to God. Chance the unknown for that which I can never fully achieve. Why would I think that God would call me to something that would not have a price or a sacrifice? My gain, my reward for trusting Jesus may not be in the here and now. It may be later…and it may be in heaven. But it surly does have its residual rewards…like peace. I pay an infinitesimally small price compared to what Jesus paid on the cross to buy me that peace.

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.’ – Jeremiah 2:13

Now that is an apt description of what I’m doing. I’m trying to dig my own well…only to find it dry or muddy or filled with brackish water. And I wonder why I still thirst?

Jesus wants to offer me a fresh endless flowing river of peace. Something that will quench my thirst and wash me clean. Now why wouldn’t I choose that?

I thank God that nothing is lost in God’s economy and that He is able to use my experiences and failures to help encourage others to not following down the same path. A path that will only cause pain and hurt…and possibly destruction if I remain on the wrong path. I’m so glad to know that He can use it for good.

But for once…no more than once…consistently I desire for me to choose to live according to His word and that my choices might be an example on doing it the right way according to God’s word and by the power of the Holy Spirit within me.

So Jesus…I give You over this mess of my life and my poor choices, my lack of faith and my failures. I ask You to please take it from me. Please exchange it for that which I can not do on my own. I ask You to give me wisdom…and fill me with Your love and with Your peace. Help me in my circumstances. Give me Your Living Water and I will lay down my broken, dirty, muddy cup. Jesus, You were with Danita and me at the foot of the cross. You heard my prayers…I give them over to You. My life and my situation is in Your hands…I’m asking You to work it out according to Your perfect plan. Dare I even ask for a miracle in this? Yes I do…knowing that You alone are able…more than able to accomplish what concerns me today. Praise God. It’s in Jesus name I pray…Amen!