30 March 2010

Tristan (Revisited)

April is the one year anniversary of the Port Orange Counseling Prayer Circle and Bullets & Butterflies. Bullets & Butterflies is re-posting a few of the posts from 2009, over the next few weeks, to commemorate that anniversary.

Although there are many trial marriages... there is no such thing as a trial child. ~Gail Sheehy

As a parent I make mistakes all the time. Raising children is so hard.

At work and other places, when people tell me they hate Church I’ve noticed a phenomenon. Just five minutes into the conversation and about 90% percent start to rant about their parents or someone else who helped raise them.

I’ll politely interrupt and say, “Wait, you started by telling me why you’re mad at God, now you’re talking about your parents ... ”

Often they don’t notice the switch from one to the other. Their concepts of God-the-Father and their parents are completely enmeshed.


The other day I went into my youngest child’s room while he was asleep to pray for him. It’s nearly impossible to pray for my boys when they’re awake. They are usually bouncing off the walls, or the furniture, or our dogs ... literally.

Tristan is such a beautiful boy. His name is Tristan Elliott, which loosely translated means “Turbulent-Servant-of-God.” What kind of man will he be? How will his life, his spiritual life, be different because of me? These are questions I ask myself, about both of my boys, all the time.

Tristan, if you read this someday, I love you so much. Forgive me for my imperfections. You are such a precious child.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).
Parents are imperfect. But, Jesus loves you perfectly. If you are looking for peace and rest, ask Jesus into your heart. He is unique and complete. He picks up the slack where parents fall short. He loves YOU so much, He gave everything for you … Amazing …

Here is a link to a post that mentions my son Lucas Think Jesus. And, still another post about the time Tristan punched Lucas' tooth out ... on request, If I Listen.

... Father, Thank you for children. Remind us that we have a great responsibility to love them, be patient with them, to teach them how to forgive. Guide us. In Jesus name we pray ...

27 March 2010

Question of the Week:
Value of the Old Testament?

by Anne Lang Bundy

"Those who cannot learn from history
are doomed to repeat it."
~ George Santayana

Since we have the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament, how pertinent is the Old Testament to us now?
from John B.

The Old Testament is sometimes considered either irrelevant or outright offensive. It portrays a God of wrath and judgment who directs war and destruction. The New Testament is filled with teachings of grace, and seems to portray a completely different God of love and mercy.

Human history was remarkably changed by Jesus and His followers, who presented teachings which challenged religious traditions and introduced an entirely different way of seeing God. To many people, the Old Testament is "good riddance."

Yet upon closer examination, there is nothing in the New Testament which contradicts the law of the Old Testament, nor has God Himself changed. The change is how we relate to God, because the death of Jesus Christ offers forgiveness for sins which completely alters our ability to have peace with God.

The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ,
that we might be justified by faith.
But after faith has come,
we are no longer under a tutor.
~ Galatians 3:24-25 (NKJV)

The Old Testament's 39 books comprise 78 percent of the Bible and cover some 3600 years of history. 27 New Testament books, written over a period of less than 40 years, depict less than a century of history.

The New Testament is the tip of the iceberg. To ignore the Old Testament is to miss most of the Bible's treasure. Not only is it a wealth of history, poetry and prophecy, the Old Testament:

• Accurately defines the holy, merciful, and unchanging character of God;

• Establishes a solid foundation for faith;

• Presents God's laws, which are for humanity's benefit;

• Explains the world's need for the Lord's Messiah;

• Prophesies the ministry of Jesus, giving us a solid testimony of God's plan and His ability to fulfill that plan;

• Evaluates the furious war between good and evil which still rages today;

• Provides vivid object lessons which the Lord authored to give us a graphic depiction of how Christians should live out their faith.

Here is an example of that last point. When the Israelites reached the Promised Land, they were commanded to be unrelenting and uncompromising in eliminating the pagan nations, lest wickedness pollute the people set apart to the Lord—and therefore defame His name. Allowing pagans to coexist led to immorality, brought the Lord's discipline, and the Israelites missed out on God's fullest blessings.

Believers in Jesus Christ are now citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. We are commanded to be unrelenting and uncompromising in eliminating the sin for which we have been forgiven, lest wickedness pollute people set apart to the Lord—and defame His name. Allowing sin to coexist leads to immorality, brings our Father's discipline, and we miss out on His fullest blessing.

And incidentally, while the New Testament puts new emphasis on God's grace, it likewise depicts His wrath.

© 2010 Anne Lang Bundy
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23 March 2010

March toward the sound of the guns (revisited)

April is the one year anniversary of the Port Orange Counseling Prayer Circle and Bullets & Butterflies. Over the next five weeks Bullets & Butterflies will re-post some the posts from 2009 to commemorate that anniversary.

March toward the sound of the guns.

Our greatest foes, and whom we must chiefly combat, are within. - Miguel de Cervantes

The Christian writer Donald Miller said once that when it comes to following Jesus he hates military analogies.


There are people who take it too far for sure. Usually, these are people who forget Jesus enjoined us to pray for our enemies, show mercy to those who are merciless toward us, help those who would forget us during our times of need. -- Love, Truth, Forgiveness: these are the weapons Christ gives us to use in the struggle between Good and evil.

It can happen that a soldier becomes disoriented during the confusion of battle. Sometimes a soldier’s most recent directive is no longer applicable to their current situation.

There is an old military adage, which states: March toward the sound of the guns. This directive simply means that if you do not know what else to do, go to where the fighting is most intense. This is where you are needed.

There are times I ask myself: where are the guns the loudest in my life? Does the single parent of three across the street need help? Is there a person from work who lost a family member and needs someone to listen to them? Is there a person in my life who is suffering because they made a mistake, hurt other people, and needs someone to remind them that we all make mistakes ... even if we do not all get caught ... and despite everything else, they are still valuable and loved by their Creator ... And, that forgiveness is available.

Where are the guns loudest in your life, in your community?

March toward the sound of the guns.

... Father, we thank you for being a God of second chances. Be with us and focus us on Your mission of love and redemption. Use us and in doing so minister to us. In Jesus name we pray ...

20 March 2010

Question of the Week:
How Much is Too Much?

by Anne Lang Bundy

"God in His goodness sent the grape
To cheer both great and small;
Little fools will drink too much
And great fools none at all."
~ Unknown

Is gluttony a less serious sin than others?
At what point does patriotism become an idol? From
Russell Holloway

How much of a good thing is bad?

The same could be asked of alcohol, sex, weapons—things not commonly called “good.” Yet the Bible speaks favorably of wine as God’s blessing, of physical intimacy between a man and his wife as cause for rejoicing, of the sword as God’s instrument. Problems arise when such things are used apart from God’s intent for them.

The righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God...
Go, eat your bread with joy,
And drink your wine with a merry heart;
For God has already accepted your works.
~ Ecclesiastes 9:1,7 (NKJV)

When we are “wise and righteous”—when God is first in our lives, when we learn the Bible’s truths, when we operate in love of God, neighbor and self—food strengthens bodies used in God’s service, and even for feasting to celebrate His blessings. But gluttony destroys our bodies, and therefore violates the commandment “You shall not murder.”

Is that a “serious” enough sin?

In latter times some will depart from the faith ... speaking lies in hypocrisy ... forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For ... nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
~ 1 Timothy 4:1-5 (NKJV)

There are reasons to abstain from sex (being unmarried, being called by God to a life of celibacy). There are reasons to abstain from alcohol (history of alcohol abuse, or to respect those who might have difficulty around alcohol). Even abstinence from food is good in times of fasting. In situations where love comes first, a Christian might refuse otherwise good things.

But when religious legalists disregard love and Christian liberty, commanding what God does not or forbidding what God does not, they depart from the faith and speak lies. When patriotism or pacifism or any other -ism becomes our guiding principle rather than God’s Word, it is an idol.

Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
~ Matthew 22:37-40 (NKJV)

Love God. Love neighbor and self without indulging neighbor and self.

Avoid extremes of either legalism or license to sin.

And remember to give thanks before meals. It’s hard to thank God for junk food with a straight face.

© 2010 Anne Lang Bundy
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16 March 2010

Love Finds Us

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread. - Mother Teresa

Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm

When we lived in Berlin, especially in the spring, I loved to sit and watch people move in and out of the subway, busy people with places to go. Homes are private, thoughts are private, but the subway we share. In a city like Berlin, it is an intimate part of everyday life.

The way people dress, what they carry in their hands, those who travel with them, all tell a story. – But what do we know about others? Behind their smiles or frowns what can we really know? – We all have secrets, things we barely whisper to ourselves, let alone tell someone else … they do, too.

Who can know the human heart? Who can untangle its web of emotion? Our souls cry out to be understood. We need something. We search in vain. We move with purpose like people on the subway, working, sometimes desperately grasping, but left to human devices, never finding.

Maybe we just want to be loved ... unconditionally this time.

The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. – 1 John 2:17

The world has lied to me so many times that I've stopped asking it for answers. The paradox of faith is that when we stop rummaging around for worldly answers, when we give up on our own ideas of how life should unfold … love finds us.

... Father, thank You for the gift of Love in the form of Your son, Jesus. Father, help us to turn our backs on the empty promises of the world. Command our spirits to be ready to recognize and accept Your gift of Love. In Jesus name we cry out to You ...

13 March 2010

Question of the Week: Why Infighting?

by Anne Lang Bundy

"Love, friendship and respect do not unite people
as much as a common hatred for something."
~ Anton P Chekhov

Why do Christians fight amongst themselves?
... insult and condemn each other with such hatred?

from Susan Isaacs

Every four years, vicious infighting occurs within Republicans and Democratic parties during the presidential primaries. The moment their respective candidates are chosen, parties band together against a new "enemy." As soon as a president is elected, he'll call for unity against the nation's true enemies: foreign attack, domestic trouble, federal bureaucracy.

Divisions exist unless individuals lay down personal agenda for the sake of the common good.

In time of crisis, people band together for survival. Throughout history, leaders have rallied people to unite in working for a common goal, especially when people feel oppressed by circumstance. But in time of relative comfort and security, people are less motivated toward the self sacrifice required for singleness of mind and purpose.

Around the globe, those who serve, love, and live for Jesus Christ suffer various degrees of persecution. In nations where they are targeted most violently, they closely unite for survival. In places like the United States, we can afford the luxury of disagreement—and we indulge in it.

Unity requires active self-sacrifice and purposeful relationship-building. Human nature desires indulgence not sacrifice. To overcome division is to overcome human nature, and requires powerful motivation. As Chekhov observes, hatred is a powerful motivation.

Christians have far greater power and motivation in Jesus Christ.

Once we are reconciled to God through His Son Jesus, the Holy Spirit lives in us and gives us enough power to vanquish division for the sake of God's Gospel and glory. He doesn't give us enough power to stand alone, because that would work against the Gospel's message of love. Ironically, the more we learn about being a Christian, the more sufficient we may start to feel, and the less we may think we need one another.

But each individual is a treasure, with unique talents, skills and perspectives to benefit us all. Every single person is valuable and needed. Those the world might write off as dead weight actually give us strength.

Unless Christians narrowly define core beliefs which unite us and broadly define all else as peripheral, we become as divisive and impotent as politicians.

For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body ... Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be... Those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable ... There should be no division in the body, but ... equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
1 Corinthians 12:13-27 (NIV)

© 2010 Anne Lang Bundy
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05 March 2010

Question of the Week: "Is It Wrong?"

by Anne Lang Bundy

"Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking."
~ J.C. Watts

Q: "Is it wrong for a male and female to live together as roommates if there are no romantic intentions?"
From Kim Botdorf, South Carolina

The answer applies to anything we might call "wrong" as violation of God's law or commandment.

Let's first establish if we're bound by the letter of the law, or if we have the freedom to live by the spirit of the law.

The Bible gives God's Ten Commandments for humanity. If closely examined, people quickly discover inability to live by the those ten basic laws: we appropriate what belongs to others (stealing); we deceive (however overtly or covertly); we covet.

We don't begin to satisfy commandment number one: "I am the LORD your God ... you shall have no other gods before Me." Our first god is Self. How many times is what we want placed ahead of what God wants?

For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10 NKJV)

We are hopeless lawbreakers. Inherently self-centered, we are unable to give God His rightful place in our lives. Snubbing God on earth is a decision to forego living with Him in Heaven. Though we want to see ourselves as mostly "good," even a little bit of "bad" poisons our souls.

God imposed a spiritual death penalty for sinful people who break His commandments and don't put Him first. Such people don't live in His kingdom.

Under the law, whether the question is about roommates or anything else, the liberalist finds a way to judge it okay, the legalist finds a way to condemn. But a person is a lawbreaker subject to an eternal death penalty anyway, so the question has little more significance than an embezzler of millions worrying about pilfering paper clips.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2 NKJV)

God loves us and makes available a payment of the death penalty, a covering for our sin, and a cleansing which makes us fit for God's presence. That is all accomplished by the blood which Jesus shed when He died on the cross.

Those who admit to God they're sinners, then ask Him to forgive their sin and cleanse them from it through Jesus are now "in Christ." Among other things, we now have His Holy Spirit to guide how we live. We are set free from the letter of the law to live by the spirit of the law.

"All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be enslaved by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12 ESV)

For those in Christ, who are to live by the spirit of the law, the roommates question is not a matter of right or wrong, but does it honor God? Is it beneficial to all involved? Does the situation enslave anyone? (An example of the latter would be to live in continual battle against emotions and hormones which have a tendency to get the better of the best intentions.)

Finally, has God provided a reason to do in faith what might be questioned? (An example for roommates would be as caretaker for someone.)

If we ask questions to either justify or condemn a situation, there are no satisfactory answers.

If we ask questions with a pure desire to live rightly in Christ—without personal motive—God's Spirit can guide us to do what honors Him and is most beneficial to all involved.

© 2010 Anne Lang Bundy

02 March 2010

Fight plan

Every fighter has a plan, until they get hit in the mouth.
- Mike Tyson

The Christian life is not a playground but a battlefield.
- Billy Graham

Our faith is played out in our relationships. We talk about having a personal relationship with God, but that relationship never takes place in a vacuum. It is never just God and us alone ... never. People populate our stories as they unfold.

Life can throw some mighty wicked punches, the kind of punches that can be heard from across the street and bounce a person off the pavement. Sometimes these punches come from strangers. More often they come from people we love.

Life is hard. What do we do when the script we have written for our lives becomes a lie? What do we do when we are forced to reexamine everything we thought to be true?

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. - Philippians 4:13

God’s promises are not empty. He has a fight plan we can cling to when the world no longer makes sense. --We focus on mercy. We focus on repentance. We focus on forgiveness. -- In our relationships, we stand back up on faith ready for whatever comes next, focused on love personified, the precious blood of Jesus Christ.