It Is Appointed

Like so many people around our country, I was shocked and saddened to hear the tragic news of Kobi Bryant’s death yesterday, along with eight other people, including his daughter Gianna.  It was shocking…sudden, unexpected and he was so young as were others on the same flight.

I’ve been thinking about death quite a lot in the past few weeks.  One night I was laying in bed praying and thanked God for the gift my husband Chris.  I realized how much my life has been enriched and changed because of him.  He has brought my life new meaning and the everyday ordinary things like cooking and taking care of our home have a purpose.

As a Christian, I know that our death is a divine appointment.  God knows our end before we were even born.  He has determined and appointed our times…our beginning and end, even where we live.

He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him…Acts 17:25b-27b

Each day is a gift from God.  It’s important for me to be grateful today and not take people for granted because I don’t know if we will have another day.  More important is the truth that we will all die one day and we will stand before God to give an account for lives.

  • 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, – Hebrews 9:27

Every one of us has sinned and broken God’s Law.  We can never be good enough or do enough good works to earn our salvation.

  • 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, – Romans 3:23

That is all of us…you and me!

  • For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
    And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment. – Isaiah 64:6a-b

Apart from God sending His Son Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sin, none of us would or could be saved.  There is One Way to God…Jesus Christ.

  • Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” – John 14:6

The death of those nine people on that helicopter was tragic and unexpected.  We should be in prayer for their families, friends, teammates, and co-workers.

But I want each one of us to consider our divine appointment.  We don’t know when it will happen.  We don’t know how we are going to die.  Will we be on our deathbed and have time to repent and confess Jesus Christ as Lord?  Or will our death be sudden and unexpected?  We don’t know that.

  • Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”— 2 Corinthians 6:2b

Lord willing, you may be granted many more days.  But I beg you…do not delay.  There is nothing more important than making sure that your salvation has been secured.  That your sins have been forgiven.  Because there will be no second chances once we die.

  • But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  – Titus 5:4-7

Our Sovereign God…the One who is Holy, Holy, Holy and Righteous, He is the Righteous Just Judge and His Wrath against sinful man is just.

In the parable of the Prodigal Son, we see a picture of our Heavenly Father.  He is standing and looking out and waiting for his wayward son to return.  Here we can see the Mercy and Grace of God…His Lovingkindness and willingness to Forgive.  The son didn’t deserve the father’s forgiveness…but the father was willing to forgive.  God is rich in mercy and He has made a way for sinners to be forgiven, through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ who paid the sin debt of all who will repent and believe.

The Prodigal Son

11 And He said, “A man had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. 13 And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. 14 Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. 17 But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ 20 So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. 29 But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; 30 but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’” – Luke 15:11-32

Don’t delay…for today is the day of salvation.

 

Word Clouds

 

Word Cloud from QuizzStar on Facebook

Word Cloud from QuizzStar on Facebook

Word Clouds on Facebook are fun
As I wait to see what words I use most

But it got me thinking, what would the Word Cloud reveal
If it followed me around each day

What would be exposed if it recorded every word spoken
Every word shared in a text or email or online

Would they be words of life or death
Words that build up or tear down, truth or lies

Would it reveal my sinful, selfish heart
Or my love for the Lord

Would it be good and pleasing to You Lord
Or would it reveal why I so desperately need a Savior

Even more sobering
What if there was a Word Cloud that captured my thoughts

The thoughts I edit out, because even this sinner knows
There are some things that shouldn’t be said

Lord I know that You record my every word, thought and deed
There will come a day when I will give an account to You

Thank You Lord for providing Your Son, my Savior
To pay the penalty for my sin debt

If I were to be cast in to hell for eternity
I could never pay for all my sins against infinite Holy God

Thank You, Jesus, for dying for my sin
That I might be forgiven and granted eternal life

Thank You for the gift of Your Word which sanctifies me
Thank You for the Holy Spirit who dwells within

Help me to live each day
Mindful that I will give account to You

For every thought, word and deed
Help me to choose well and live out of love for You

 

Susan Wachtel
December 22, 2016

 

 

Election Confessions

Daniel 2-21

Lord, I confess
As the election begins in earnest
There are times my heart is anxious
My mind filled with worry

I look around and see a nation
Seeped in sin and unrighteousness
Will You rightly and justly
Give us over to the judgment we deserve

Or will You respond with patience
In Your lovingkindness and mercy
Will You raise up a Josiah
Give us a godly leader who fears You

I see candidates of all kinds
Prideful, arrogant, rude
Contemptable, dishonest, liars
Who believe they are above reproach

Yet there are some
Men and women of integrity who fear You
Who desire to be upright and blameless
And humbly serve this nation

I see people deceived
Even believers have been taken in
I ask that You give Your people discernment
Help us to choose wisely

I confess my anxiety and worry are a sin
I have failed to trust You fully
But You are God who is sovereign and in control
You raise up kings and leaders and bring them down

When I feel anxious
Help me to repent and pray
Trust the One True and Living God
To whom we will all give an account one day

by Susan Wachtel
February 1, 2016

Sin Gone Viral

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On a recent visit to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens we were disappointed to see a sign “Disease Gone Viral in this Rose Garden”.

What followed was a garden with some empty flower beds. Some areas were planted with other flowers. But there were precious few rose bushes left in this garden. A very sad sight indeed.

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When I saw this sign, the first thing I thought of was sin. This blight that struck healthy rose bushes is like sin in my life. I can never be too vigilant about allowing sin into my life.

I need to guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus. What sin am I allowing into my life? What do I watch, read, see, eat, drink, smoke, say, or goodness only knows what else that will lead me down a deadly path of sin? If I fail to be on guard, sin can easily slip in unnoticed and quickly spread into other areas of my life.

My uncontrolled sin can affect others. It can cause devastating and deadly results that sometimes reach into eternity.

When sin creeps in, I need to take radical steps to stop it in its tracks. I must keep sin from spreading and taking over other areas of my life. Not let my heart become hardened or my conscience deadened. I need to put an end to sin. Not give Christ and fellow Christians a black-eye. Or give an unbeliever another reason to reject Christ Jesus as Lord.

Lord, help me to remember that this battle is more dangerous than I know and involves unseen powerful forces. But Lord, You can help me to wage war. May I put on the full armor of God each day. May I take my every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. When Your Holy Spirit prods my conscience, may I respond quickly in obedience and out of love for Christ Jesus and my heavenly Father. If I need to take radical steps to eliminate sin from my life, let me do it quickly. Don’t let me get away from sin. Let me be caught quickly and every time Lord. Keep me close to You. Let the light of Your Word expose darkness and sin in me. Give me discernment about the sin in the world around me. Help me to walk that narrow path that leads to life everlasting. Help me to remember that You are praying for me when I am tempted. It’s Your desire that I will not fail. Thank You for walking with me through every trial and temptation Lord. In Jesus mighty, powerful, precious and delivering name I pray. Amen!

Thoughts and Reflections on the Supreme Court’s Ruling

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Last Friday, June 26th, when the Supreme Court’s ruling was announced approving of homosexual marriage we were away on vacation and I wasn’t able to write anything.  That’s probably a good thing because I would have been reacting from the emotions of the moment rather than thinking things through.

Since that day I’ve had time to reflect and want to share some thoughts.

When I heard the announcement my heart was grieved.  I had been praying that the Lord in His mercy would spare the United States from going down that road of approving sin which God has clearly condemned in His perfect and inerrant Word.  Obviously the Lord’s answer was no and the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5 to 4 in favor of homosexual marriage.

Where was God when this happened?  He was on His throne and continues to sovereignly rule and reign over all creation and sinful man.  His Son, the Lord Christ Jesus, is seated at the Father’s right hand ruling and reigning.  This is all under His sovereign control and perfect plan that He is working out.

God has plainly revealed in His Word that this world will continue in its downward spiral of sin.  This ruling just gives evidence to that.  Reading Romans 1:18-32 is like reading today’s headline news.  Repeatedly the Lord reveals that He will give man over to his sin.  Why?  Because man has suppressed the truth in unrighteousness and denies God who has clearly revealed Himself in creation.  We do not glorify God.  As a result, our thinking has become futile and our foolish hearts are darkened.

On June 26, 2015, the United States of America clearly abandoned its roots that were once based on Judeo Christian values.

The five justices, not only ruled in favor of sin which God has condemned, they stepped over the line and went from interpreting the Constitution to making law.  If that’s what they want to do, they are in the wrong branch of government.  They should leave the court system and run for office.

So why go the route of the court to change the law?  Well…because 37 States have passed laws limiting marriage as being between one man and one woman or supporting the Defense of Marriage Act.  Going the legal route wasn’t working in favor of homosexual marriage advocates.

Where is this going to stop?  Will the courts soon be approving polygamy or family members marrying?  After all that’s marriage between consenting adults.  We are on that slippery slope and have a mind darkened by sin and corruption and it’s going to get a lot worse.

What’s so wrong about homosexuality?

God has declared it sinful in His perfect and inerrant Word, the Bible.  He is our Creator and He is God to whom we all will give an account.  In the Bible He declares what is sinful and right and wrong.  He has also declared adultery and all sex outside of marriage as sinful.

God ordained marriage as being between one man and one woman.  He blessed them and commanded that they go forth, be fruitful and multiply.  Apart from adoption or science homosexual couples cannot carry out that command.  Physically men and women are complimentary and are able to procreate.  Having two mommies or two daddies does not make up for not having a dad or mom.  The Lord designed family to be a father, mother and children.

I was very troubled by President Barack Obama’s action of bathing the White House in the rainbow colors of the gay liberation movement.  That was very divisive and beneath the dignity of the President of the United States of America.  President Obama is the President over all Americans, not just people who share his view on homosexual marriage.  He should be uniting not dividing.  There was a day when the President said that he believed that marriage was between one man and one woman.  I guess over time his beliefs changed or he didn’t really believe what he originally said.

This ruling is edging us ever closer to silencing those who disagree with homosexual marriage; who in keeping with the Bible call it sin.  We are a step away from forcing pastors, ministers, priests and clergy to either approve of and marry homosexual couples or face legal consequences including fines, imprisonment and loss of non-profit organization status.  Soon saying homosexuality is sin will be considered a hate crime.  We will be losing our Constitutional rights of freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

All people, including homosexuals, are human beings created in God’s image and as a result should be treated with kindness, goodness, dignity and respect.  Their sin is no worse than mine is.  Homosexuality is not the unforgivable sin.  God has promised in His Word that if we repent of our sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we will be forgiven of our sin and spend eternity in heaven with Him.  If we fail to do that God has warned that we will be condemned of our sin and go to hell.

At the end of the day, the worst thing about the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of homosexual marriage will be the result of fewer people sharing the lifesaving message of the Gospel, that there is forgiveness of sin in Jesus Christ.  A broken and contrite heart God will not despise.

People don’t want to be thought of as a bigot or hater…so they may shut up and not share the Gospel.

Recently I watched a video that my friend Ken Kish shared which showed Penn Jillette, from Penn and Teller fame, talking about someone sharing the Gospel.  In the video Penn, an avowed atheist said that he respects Christians who share the Gospel even though he doesn’t believe it.  I won’t forget something he said, “How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize?  How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”

Is my failure to share the Gospel with fellow sinners hatred?  At the very least it’s caring more about me and my comfort over their eternal salvation.

May Christians be men and women of courage and obedient to the Lord and share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with everyone: family and friends, neighbors and co-workers, heterosexuals and homosexuals.  For we are all sinners in need of forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ.

I know that there’s a lot of good commentary out there on the Supreme Court’s ruling and I would encourage you to read and stay informed.  I would also like to direct you to the Hillsdale College website where you can sign-up to take their course on the US Constitution for free.  With the upcoming elections and charged political landscape we owe it to ourselves and fellow citizens to be informed and know what rights, responsibilities and liberties we’ve been granted in our Constitution.  Be informed and select candidates who are in keeping with your morals and values.

The High Price of Sin

When I’m tempted to sin, I don’t fully realize the consequences that will impact my life and the lives of others around me. Some consequences may last a lifetime. Relationships that are damaged may not be restored until heaven, if ever. I’m blinded to the fact that I’m focused on myself; not God, nor others. I can be very shortsighted. If I knew the high price of my sin and it’s impact would I still choose to purposely and willfully sin? Lord, help me to love You more, obey You more and take You at Your Word!

 

Lessons Learned

This year in CBS we are studying the life of David in 1 & 2 Samuel.  Even though I’ve studied this passage in recent years, I am still learning from David’s life.  Some new things struck me in this week’s lesson on David and Bathsheba.

I can choose my sin, but I can’t choose the consequences I will reap…God does.

I may try to cover up my sin and keep it from impacting and hurting other people, but I have no control over that.

My choosing to sin impacts and influences other people.