Prayer Challenge


I want to ask you to say this prayer out loud, if possible.

“I belong to God. I am a holy vessel, because I have the Holy Spirit of the Living God. The Lord of Heaven and earth has said over me; “I declare you holy!”. I commit to start believing what He says. I AM HOLY! Remind me daily, Spirit of the Living God, to treat myself as holy, open my eyes to every scheme of The Enemy to treat me as if I'm not. You God, are Holy. Your word is truth. This day Father, I chose to believe you! I ask this in the mighty name of your son Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for me so that I could be a coheir to the kingdom of God. Amen”



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Jesus's Birthday

Christmas Day. Faith and family coming together and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Ultimate Christmas Gift

This morning my heart is filled to overflowing with the knowledge that God is good. The moment I turned my life over to God, he sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within me making me a part of himself. Holy. His.

His son, Jesus Christ made all of this possible. I am so thankful, grateful, and peaceful knowing how much God loves me. He sent us the gift of his Son.

But the gift is not like the trespass (Adam and Eve's), For if the many died by the the trespass of one man (Adam), how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!   Romans 5:15 NIV

Jesus loves me - three little words, packed with so much meaning. The ultimate Christmas gift is the one that came by the grace of Jesus Christ. God is at peace with man. Angels proclaimed it to shepherds at night.

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." Luke 2:13 NIV





Sunday, December 8, 2013

Merry Christmas - A Message of Faith



Matthew 1:18-24; Matthew 2:1-2; Luke 1:26-56; Luke 2:1-20

Mary, a virgin, was told by the angel Gabriel that she would give birth to a son.

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and proclaimed, "...blessed is the child you will bear."

Rejoicing together, Mary sang a song of praise to God.

Returning home, Mary was found to be with child.

"You will name the child Jesus." said the angel Gabriel.

 

Considering a divorce from Mary, Joseph had a dream in which an angel told him the truth about Mary's pregnancy.

Heartened by the angelic message from God, Joseph took Mary home as his wife.

Registration for a census was decreed by Caesar Augustus for the entire Roman world.

In obedience, Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem and could find no place in an inn, only in the stable of an inn.

Silent animals watched Mary give birth to the baby Jesus.

The newborn babe was wrapped in cloths and laid in the manger.

Magi from the east saw his star and began a journey to come and worship him.

Angels sang to shepherds, "Glory to God on the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Shepherds spread the good news when they went to Bethlehem and found Mary, and Joseph, and the baby.

 

By Sallee Bonham

12/08/2013

Psalm of the Week - Psalm 20:4-5 - Week of December 8, 2013

4 May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed

5 We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Shape Me and Mold Me Lord: Part Three

The Lord led me to study "clay" about four years ago. This post is the third in a series of three articles about the instruction that I received, and continue to receive, from studying the scriptures relating to the "clay of God" and how He, the potter, relates to us.

 Romans 9:20-21

But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this:' "Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

Rebuked

In Part One, I talked about having been rebuked. Romans 9:20-21 is the scripture that God rebuked me with two weeks after I had angrily questioned him about why he created me the way I am.  As I stated in Part One, I haven't forgotten the feeling of profound shock I felt as I read God's printed answer for my angry outburst. That internal sense of shock was quickly followed by a sinking feeling of dismay at how wrong I had been. Quarreling with my Maker, in anger, isn't something I care to repeat.

2 Corinthians 4:7

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from
God and not from us.

We Are Weak, But He is Strong

Jars of clay are inherently weak, because even after being fired in a kiln, they remain brittle and breakable. Clay jars have to handled carefully. God wants to take care of us, strengthen us, and use us. The Holy Spirit is our treasure and it connects each of us to God and Jesus. We have this all-surpassing power when we devote ourselves to doing God's will and not our own. All good comes from God, not from ourselves. 

2 Timothy 2:20-21

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

When Paul wrote this letter to Timothy, he clearly knew that the followers of Christ Timothy was working with were at many different places in their faith, in their usefulness to the Master, and in their commitment to do any good work. However, Paul makes it clear that God and Christ can use every article that furnishes God's house. Even an article that has been dishonorable is of use the the Lord, if that person will cleanse themselves from the dishonor. Dishonor, or ignoble purpose, can be cleansed by following the steps listed below.

  1. God wants to be in a personal relationship with you. Without this relationship, you are completely separated from Him. Romans 3:23, 6:23
  2. You must believe that Jesus is who He said He is - the Son of God. Jesus can forgive you for the wrongs you have done to yourself, or others. Romans 10:9-10
  3. Confess your wrongs to God in prayer. He will hear your heartfelt prayer and forgive you. Forgiveness is yours, all you have to do is ask. Acts 3:19, Ephesians 2:8
  4. Change your life. As a follower of Jesus Christ, you will want to live differently. Luke 13:3, Ephesians 5:8
  5. Never doubt that God loves you. He wants you to know that you will be living in Heaven with Him forever. John 3:16, 1 John 5:13

Have your read the five steps carefully? Are you ready to receive God's free gift? Then let's pray.

Lord Jesus,
I want to have a personal relationship with you. I've done wrong and am a sinner. I need your forgiveness.I know that you died on the cross for my sin and that only through faith in your death and resurrection can I be forgiven. I want to turn away from sin and invite you into my heart and life as my Savior and Lord. I will follow you by living a life that pleases you. I now trust you as Savior and follow you as Lord. Thank-you for saving me.
Amen.

Now, go tell another follower of  Jesus about the important decision that you made. Follow Christ's example and be baptised. Find a church family. Grow you faith by reading the Bible and attending church regularly. You will find others who will love and support you. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Shape Me and Mold Me Lord: Part Two

Pots of Clay


The Lord led me to study "clay" about four years ago. This post is the second in a series of three articles about the instruction that I received, and continue to receive, from studying the scriptures relating to the "clay of God" and how He, the potter, relates to us.

Lamentations 4:2

How the precious sons of Zion, once worth their weight in gold, are now considered as pots of clay, the work of a potter's hands!

To understand Lamentations, I had to know more about the context of this book. Jerusalem, capitol of Judah had fallen to the Babylonians. The Temple was destroyed. Jeremiah had warned the Israelites, or Judeans, that disaster was going to overtake them if they continued to worship and follow the gods of their neighbors. Jeremiah had also warned them to submit to Babylon, instead of seeking
Egypt's help to overthrow the Babylonian rule. (Read Jeremiah, A Faithful Follower) In Chapter 4 of Lamentations,  the Israelites are trying to have hope that even with this disaster, brought on by sin, God is working for his people if they will rely on him.

The Potter's Hands 

 The precious sons of Zion stopped acknowledging God as the one true God, the Master Potter who created man with his hands. God wants to be in a loving relationship with his people. However, in the face of fullblown rebellion, he sent prophets to warn the nation to return to him. Instead, the nation continued importing goods and religion from their more sophisticated and powerful neighbors

Warned to Repent

Israel had been warned to repent and had ignored the warnings. Willfully determined to live outside the covenant, Israel continued to sin. The price of sin was heavy. To be forgiven, the entire population would need to confess. Then, sin offerings could be given. Unlike the Judeans, Christ paid our price for sin. We are under the new covenant that the prophets kept telling the tribe of Israel about.

His Precious Pots

I like the word precious in this verse. We have great value to God. He does not want to lose the work of his hands. He established a new covenant with his people because he values us, the work of his hands. We are precious enough, that God sent his son, Jesus to us. Jesus was the sin offering for all of God's precious, pots of clay.

Daniel 2:31-45

King Nebuchadnezzar had a disturbing dream about a statue. The king's astrologers, magicians and enchanters told him no one could interpret the dream "except the gods, and they do not live among men." (2:10)  God revealed the mystery to Daniel so he could interpret the dream for King Nebuchadnezzar.

Clay in Nebuchadnezzar's Dream

"...its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay...a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them."

Daniel's Interpretation From God

"Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom...Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. and just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay. God of Heaven will set up a kingdom...it will crush all those kingdoms...but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning ...of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands..."

God has a plan. He is going to set up a kingdom that will endure forever.




Sunday, November 17, 2013

Shape Me and Mold Me Lord: Part One

The Clay of God


 The Lord led me to study "clay" about four years ago. This post is the first in a series of three articles about the instruction that I received, and continue to receive, from studying the scriptures relating to the "clay of God" and how He, the potter, relates to us.

Isaiah 45:9

"Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, 'What are you making?' does your work say, 'He has no hands?'

Rebuked

I am prone to questioning everything around me. "Inquiring minds want to know" was my motto throughout my late teens and twenties. However, God told Isaiah exactly what our relationship is supposed to be. Complaints can be taken to God, but we have to trust him to take care of us. Personally, I do not care to experience anguish and tribulation because of my own behavior towards God. I have been rebuked through the scripture for speaking words of anger at God. I haven't forgotten the feeling of profound shock I felt as I read God's printed answer for my angry outburst. That internal sense of shock was quickly followed by a sinking feeling of dismay at how wrong I had been. Quarreling with my Maker, in anger, isn't something I care to repeat.

One Broken Splinter

Occasionally, I remind myself that I am just one grain of sand on the beach of humanity. God stated it a little more succinctly. A potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. One broken splinter among the other broken splinters. Our relationship with God comes out of brokenness. Adam and Eve broke the one command that God had given them and broke the perfect relationship that they enjoyed with God. Humans are questioners; Satan used that to plant doubt in the hearts of Adam and Eve. This verse reminds me of how broken my life was, and can be, when I only trust myself to run it.

Isaiah 64:8

Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

A Scripture Prayer from Isaiah 64:8


Father, I am your creation. Take me into your hands. Shape me and mold me as you will. I am your vessel. You shaped me with your hands, for your purpose. May my life always reflect that I am your creation, and bring you glory.
Amen

Jeremiah  18:1-6


The Lord actually told Jeremiah to go to the potter's house to receive a message. Obediently, Jeremiah went to the potter's house. Then Jeremiah watched the potter working at the wheel, shaping a pot. When the pot was marred, or disfigured, the potter formed it into a different pot.

At that moment, God spoke of Israel to Jeremiah "...can I not do with you as the potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

Reshaped

God will reshape us according to his will. If we are disfigured, damaged, scarred, or less than perfect, we can trust Him to reshape us. Everyone the Lord has called to himself has been less than perfect. I want the Lord to shape me into the vessel of his choice. I know it will be good. Submission to God's purpose is not a weakness, it is a strength. Depend on God to take up the broken potsherd of your life and trust him to shape it into a new shape.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Expository Files -The Prayer of Jabez

The Expository Files

The Prayer of Jabez



1 Chronicles 4:9-10


"Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, 'Because I bore him in pain.' And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, 'Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain.' So God granted him what he requested" (1 Chronicles 4:9-10). Who was Jabez? There is no mention of him anywhere else in the scriptures. From the context, it does appear that he was of the tribe of Judah, and some think that he was a son of Koz (cf. v. 8). There are other theories as to who and what he was, but our purpose here is simply to see what lessons we can learn fromthis passage of scripture.

First, consider the attitude of Jabez. He was honorable. Why he was more honorable than his brothers we are not told, but it may have to do with the nature of his prayer. There are two characteristics that are needed for one to be honorable in prayer. One of them is being earnest, which means intense, zealous, sincere, and determined. We are told that "the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16). The second of these characteristics is humility. "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you" (1 Peter5:6-7). The earnest, fervent prayer that is prayed in true humility ishonorable before God.

Another aspect of the attitude of Jabez is that he directed his prayer to God. Because we are to worship the Lord our God and serve Him alone, Jesus taught us to address our prayers, saying, "Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name" (Matthew 4:10, 6:9). To direct such a prayer to God demonstrates that one is trusting in and thus dependent on Him for everything that is needed. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6).

Second, consider the character of Jabez's petition. He requested a personal blessing. To ask God's blessing is to ask Him to bestow divine favor. There is nothing wrong with requesting God to bless us specifically. The Psalmist did. He prayed, "Save Your people, and bless Your inheritance; shepherd them also, and bear them up forever" (Psalm 28:9). Jabez also asked God to enlarge his borders. This seems to relate to material prosperity. Thus, it is certainly scriptural for us to pray that God will bless us materially (note Matthew 6:11). However, the Bible offers no "quid pro quo" promise that if we do certain specified things for God then He will materially prosper us a certain specified amount, as some who hold the "Abundant Life--Health and Wealth" gospel teach. Rather, the Lord has simply said that if we serve Him faithfully, He will provide for us (Matthew 6:33).

Then Jabez beseeched that God's hand would be with Him, no doubt to provide protection and guidance. Should we not pray with the Psalmist, "Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day" (Psalm 25:5)? Finally, Jabez expressed a petition that God would keep Him from evil. Jesus also indicated that His disciples should pray for God's preservation and deliverance, as He taught them to say, "And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one" (Matthew 6:13). Of course, God's protection, guidance, preservation, and deliverance are all provided for us through the scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The reason why Jabez thus prayed was so that He might not cause pain. One commentator expressed it this way: "Let me not experience the grief which my name implies, and which my sins would well produce." Another phrased it, "Grant that the grief implied in my name may not come upon me!" And likewise, it should be our prayer, "I cling to Your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame!" (Psalm 119:31). Finally, consider the response of God, who granted Him what he requested. The Lord has promised us, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocksit will be opened" (Matthew 7:7-8). God has said that He will hear and respond to the prayers of His people. Oh, He may not always give us what we ask for, when we ask for it, in exactly the way that we asked. But He is the source of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Therefore, we can trust Him to answer our prayers by providing what He knows best that we need in harmony with His will, just as He did with the prayer of Jabez.

By Wayne S. Walker
From Expository Files 8.11; November 2001

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Human Trafficking

A21 Campaign

At the Women of Faith conference (Sept. 2013), I heard Christine Caine speak about human trafficking and her organization, the A21 Campaign. The statistics and video grabbed my heart and impressed upon me the immediacy of this problem. Prayer has been my avenue to support the A21 Campaign.

 Freedom 43:19

Yesterday, At First Baptist Church of Owensville, I heard another speaker identify human trafficking as an immediate problem. The Missouri Baptist Children's Home has an affiliate program called Freedom 43:19 and I watched a short video about human trafficking.  Both speakers agreed upon one point. If there was no demand, there would be no problem. How sad that the demand has given rise to a billion dollar, world-wide industry.

 Human Trafficking is an Industry

More money is made by human trafficking than the combined income of Nike, Google, and Starbucks. Human trafficking is a world-wide industry. That boggles my mind. The most horrific fact is that the average victim is twelve to fourteen years old. Drugs, physical abuse, and sexual abuse are all a part of living in this type of servitude.

Human Trafficking is in Missouri

This issue isn't in some other country. It is a problem right here in Central Missouri. St. Louis, MO has a human trafficking issue. People just aren't aware of it. I spoke to my twenty-three year old daughter about this issue and she was shocked. Shocked about the fact that this is going on all around us. Remember the headlines this year? Three women were held in captivity by one man. In Lebanon, MO a young woman was caged  and held in bondage for sexual reasons. Occasionally, we hear about this issue on the news. However, yesterday's news quickly fades from our minds as we confront our own problems. I am guilty of this. Prayer is a solution all of us can take part in.

 Please Pray

Pray for the victims, pray for the abusers, pray for the workers who are trying to help these victims. Pray, Pray, Pray.

Resources for more information:


  1. www.thea21campaign.org
  2. www.mbchcfm.org
 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

SHIELD - An Acrostic Poem Inspired By Psalm 3



Shield me from those who want to harm me in any way
Help me make it through today
Inspire me to do your will
Expecting a miracle from you
Lend me your ear, O Lord and
Deliver me from evil

Sallee Bonham
10/13/13

Saturday, October 26, 2013

How Long Do You Grieve? Personal Loss and Biblical Grief

Jack Hull  in Jefferson City, MO 2004

My husband, Jack, died in 2005. I still miss him. The grief isn't sharp anymore, but it occasionally surfaces on his birthday, our wedding anniversary, and the anniversary of his death. The first three years were the roughest.

 "Helpful" Advice

Many people offered advice that was not helpful. Some of the "helpful" things other people told me were:
  • You need to be strong
  • If you grieve for more that a year, you need to seek help
  • Crying won't fix anything
  • Get on with your life and things will be better
  • You need a hobby to focus on
  • Your better off without him because he was so sick

Trying to Move On

I just wanted to mourn my loss and be left alone. Emotionally, I fluctuated back and forth between the different stages of grieving. Denial , anger, depression, and acceptance would come and go for the first year. Year Two I stayed in anger, and acceptance, with depression kicking in on anniversaries and holidays. Year two also brought a relapse back into pure grieving because I had been seeing a man that I really liked. However, he broke off the relationship because I was "too prickly". Wow, did that rejection cause a downward spiral. Sharp-edged, painful sorrow returned and it felt like Jack had died yesterday, instead of two years previously. Jack had loved me unconditionally. He loved me in spite of my imperfections. Prickliness hadn't stopped him from seeing the loving, warm, talented woman whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Depression returned. I felt rejected and unlovable.


Grief is...

Grief expert David Kessler at Grief.com says:
"...grief is a process, a journey. It does not end on a certain day or date. It is as individual as each of us. Grief is real because loss is real. Each grief has its own imprint, as distinctive and as unique as the person we lost. The pain of loss is so intense, so heartbreaking, because in loving we deeply connect with another human being, and grief is the reflection of the connection that has been lost. Grief is not just a series of events, or stages or time lines. Our Society places enormous pressure on us to get over loss, to get through the grief. But how long do you grieve for a husband of fifty years? A teenager killed in a car accident? A four-year-old child? A year? Five years? Forever? The loss happens in time, in fact in a moment, but its aftermath lasts a lifetime."

 Biblical Grief

Healing is a long process when your heart is broken. In Genesis 37:34-35, Jacob tore his clothes, put on sack cloth, and mourned for many days when he believed his youngest son Joseph was dead. Joseph was his baby and his favorite child. His other children tried to comfort him, but he wouldn't let them. He wanted to be with his dead son, Joseph.  I recognize that feeling.

Strong People Can Cry

Weeping helps release the pressure and emotional tension of grief. Do not let anyone tell you it's wrong to cry when your sad. Tears are a part of grief and sadness. You are still a strong person if you cry. Crying is NOT a sign of weakness.


Take Time to Mourn

 Matthew 5: 4 says "Those who mourn are blessed, for they will be comforted." God will be there to comfort you. Pray this verse to God in prayer.

Father,  I am asking you to comfort me. Your word says that I am blessed because I am mourning the loss of ______________. I am claiming that promise. Comfort me during this loss. In the mighty name of your son Jesus, who is my Lord and Savior I ask this. Amen.

Take time to grieve. In God's world  there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
                                a time to be born and a time to die,
                                a time to plant and a time to uproot,
                                a time to kill and a time to heal,
                                a time to tear down and a time to build,
                                a time to weep and a time to laugh,
                                a time to mourn and a time to dance...
                                Ecclesiastes 3:1-4







 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Wickedest King was Forgiven

Ultimate Power at Twelve


Can you imagine having the power of life and death over people at age twelve?  Manasseh, King of Judah, was twelve years old when he became king. He had been heir to the throne his whole life. His father, King Hezekiah had great wealth, but he also returned his people to worshiping the one god, Jehovah.  Manasseh led a life of wealth, privilege, and worship. However, after his father died, Manasseh became the most wicked and longest reigning king that Judah ever had.

Who Were the Boy King's Counselors?


After his father died, who were his counselors? Was an elderly, bent Isaiah there? Hezekiah had listened to Isaiah. The boy wouldn't want to listen to an old prophet. In fact, traditional accounts say that Manasseh had Isaiah sawn asunder with a wood saw while trying to get him to refuse God. Isaiah died a martyr's death. Did the boy listen to  the smooth flattery of counselors who only wanted to keep the boy king occupied, keep him filled with self-importance, and keep Assyria happy? Manasseh had to contend with his kingdom being under the rule of Assyria. Did the people of Judah return to worshipping God under King Hezekiah to make the king happy? Was the return to God only for appearances by the people of Judah? I have so many question about this story.

Today's Equivalent?


Today, our equivalent would be a twelve year child star or a child of wealth and privilege. Think about the child stars and young social celebrities that we see on TV, watch in movies, and read about online.  Many have had trouble with drugs, drinking, and promiscuity. Can you imagine what it would be like for one of these young people to be in a position where no one could refuse their wishes?

 Baal Worship and Assyria


After Hezekiah died, it would have been easy for a close friend or counselor to sway twelve year old Manasseh back toward Baal worship and Asherah rites. What twelve year old wants to be like their parents?  Following the way of the world doesn't require any effort because man's natural desires love to be indulged. Baal worship was physical, lustful, and carnal. Who wouldn't want to indulge all the desires of a sensual nature and worship at the same time? Also, the Assyrian rulers would be happier to see a conquered people following the gods of their culture. Assyrians were cruel. Keeping them happy would have been foremost in many Judean minds. Manasseh desecrated God's temple with Asherah poles and Baal worship, he had Isaiah sawn apart, he practiced sorcery, divination, and witchcraft. He consulted with mediums and spiritists. He filled Jerusalem with blood. His evil was without equal. The Bible says," Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the LORD had destroyed before the Israelites." (2 Chron. 33:9)

A Complete Surrender


 Following God requires effort and fortitude. Living according to God is walking a path that goes against the desires of a physical body. However, when you have truly submitted to God, all of those desires will fall away. The struggle is the complete surrender to being a servant of God. The surrender is what sets a Christian free from the struggle.

A Shackled King


 Manasseh learned about complete surrender to God while Assyrian soldiers lead him with a hook through his nose. Bronze shackles and chains rattled on his wrists and ankles as he walked toward Babylon.(2 Chron. 33:11) A slave. He and his people ran afoul of Assyrian army commanders and were being punished for it. The wicked king of Judah was being marched to Babylon as a shackled slave. Did the soldiers taunt him or prod him with spears? Did they place a thorny crown on his head? Were his fine garments taken away and divided between his captors? Somewhere during that journey,  Manasseh found a seed of faith leftover from his childhood worship of God with his father, Hezekiah. He found Jehovah at the bottom of a personal pit in Babylon. Alone. Captive.

 Psalm 40:1-3 says it best:
                      ...he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit,out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth,a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

 God is a God of Repenters

 
God is truly the God of repenters. Manasseh repented and completely surrendered to being a servant of God. "In his distress, he sought God's favor and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. And when he prayed to him, the LORD was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea" (2 Chron. 33:12-13) Manasseh was restored to his kingdom; he put his new found faith into action when he returned to Jerusalem. Restoration of a kingdom was Manasseh's goal. Restoration of temples, defensive walls, and God's temple. He reinstated worshipping the one, true God. The wickedest king was washed clean of his sins by God. Manasseh returned to the path his father, Hezekiah, had started him on. He ruled Judah for fifty-five years.

God Forgave A Wicked King - He Will Forgive You


Do not let your sins stop you from turning to God. You have not done anything evil enough to turn God from you. You do not have to "fix" yourself before becoming a follower of God. Repentance is the only thing that God wants from you. He forgave Manasseh. He will forgive you.

Manasseh's story can be read in  2 Chronicles 33 and 2 Kings 21.
 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Calling Glory, Teach Me To Love, Official Lyric Video (+playlist)

I can listen to this song over and over. Listen and see if it speaks to you as well.
Sallee


Phenomenal Weekend in Kansas City

On the Road to Kansas City

Road trip! Yes, Friday was the day. My friends and I had our Harleys packed and ready to go. Our destination - Kansas City, MO and the Women of Faith conference - two hundred and eleven miles of rushing wind and thundering V-twin engines. That is my idea of a perfect trip.
 
 

Oh What a Beautiful Day

 God blessed us with a beautiful fall day for our trip. The scenic route, Hwy. U to Hwy. 42 to Hwy. 7 North, is a perfect mix of curves, hills, and scenic views. The lake views in the Osage Beach/Camdenton area are spectacular. Two hours into our road trip, it was time for lunch. We enjoyed a picnic lunch of chicken sandwiches, chips, and bottled water at a gas station south of Warsaw, MO before continuing the second half of our journey.

Weekend Home

We arrived at the beautiful Embassy Suites hotel in Kansas City around 3:30 P.M. The staff was wonderful and created motorcycle parking immediately adjacent to the lobby entrance for us. In fifteen minutes, we had our travel bags unloaded from the bikes, had carried the bags to our room, and had begun to unpack our clothes. We had just enough time to clean the road grime off our faces, comb out our hair, and change clothes before we piled into a car and left for dinner.  

 

Kansas City BBQ

Dinner was at the Zona Rosa Smokehouse BBQ restaurant. I had to have my picture taken with the pig statue outside. I cannot resist a photo opportunity like that. After dinner, it was time to head downtown to the convention center.

 

Let the Conference Begin

The Sprint Center is in downtown Kansas City. Women streamed from the parking garage to the main entrances of the convention center. The nineteen thousand seats quickly filled as the 8:00 P.M. start time arrived. I had read the brief bios about the women and bands involved in the conference on the Women of Faith website, but I really did not know any of them. This conference was a completely new experience for me.


 
 

Anita Renfroe

Anita Renfroe is one of the funniest women I have seen in a long time. As soon as I returned home, I found her on YouTube and subscribed. Then I posted two of the videos on my Facebook page to share with all my friends and family. That is how much I like her!

Kari Jobe

Kari Jobe can sing! She is a star caliber singer who loves the Lord with all her heart. Her songs, praise, and testimony quickly revealed why she is the worship pastor at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas.

Christine Caine

Christine Caine. How could I have not known about her all this time? Seriously, she is an Australian dynamo who is spirit led and driven. The A21 Campaign helps rescue sex slaves. Did you know there are twenty-seven million sex slaves in the world? Outrageous.

Empowered to Embrace Life

The time spent with my sisters refueled me spiritually. The Holy Spirit is leaping in joy inside me once again. Empowered to embrace life is the only way I can describe how I feel after attending the conference. Sisters in faith, I would encourage you to find a Women of Faith conference near you and attend. Get a spiritual refueling and let the Lord grow you into a more mature Christian woman. A Christian woman who loves people like Christ loves us. Amen?

 


Sunday, September 22, 2013

"Christian Philosophy" by Andrew Wommack and a Brief Look at My Personal Growth

When I sought help for my addiction in 1992, part of my self-examination/recovery process caused me to sift through my ideas, beliefs, and values (my personal philosophy) in search of what I truly believed in.

A Dysfunctional Model

 Many of my situational responses were based on what I had been taught by an increasingly dysfunctional family model that revolved around an alcoholic parent. In recovery, a day arrived when I realized I couldn't use that model anymore. I had to learn a new, healthier pattern of behavior. Seriously, I felt like I was white water rafting without a paddle. Out of control. Lost. My belief in Jesus, a good support system of recovery meetings, sponsorship, and a commitment to sobriety kept me from becoming mired down in depression and relapsing into alcoholism.

What is Christian Philosophy?

So what does this have to do with Andrew Wommack's book? Well, the first chapter, What is Christian Philosophy? caused me to carefully examine my philosophy again. As I read through Chapter One, I kept saying,"This is exactly how I feel!" or "I believe that, too!" Andrew's book helped me see the different threads of my personal faith, beliefs, and values as an interwoven, complete fabric. A Bible-based fabric that wraps up my thoughts, actions, and behaviors as I walk through today.

In Colossians 2:8, Paul says,"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." Paul also told Timothy to,"guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith." (1 Timothy 6:20-21)

A Little of Jesus, A Lot of Sin

Human traditions and the basic principles of this world were my number one priority for sixteen years. I believed in Jesus. Jesus was my savior. He was there to help me in bad times, hard times, and whenever I decided to give him an opportunity. I would tell you I was a Christian. However, my relationship with Jesus was just a small part of my life. There was an emptiness inside me that wouldn't go away. Sin pervaded my life.

 Sobriety Changed My Priority

When I quit drinking, reading my Bible became a more regular part of my life. Gradually, Bible reading, regular church attendance, and sobriety changed my number one priority. In 1994, I knew I wanted to be baptised by immersion and rededicate my life to Christ. A spiritual relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is my number one priority. Prayer keeps me focused on God. My goal is to be more Christ-like. What would Jesus do? is a question that helps keep me on the narrow path.

More Study, Less Chatter

My Christian philosophy changes as I spend more time in bible study and listening to bible teachers. Several years ago, my favorite Bible teacher lost a pupil because of several teachings that didn't mention one scripture. Not one. The "sword of the spirit" is the bible. I want teachers who will help me "sharpen my sword". Paul warned the church at Colosse against hollow and deceptive philosophy and warned Timothy to turn away from godless chatter. Which brings me back to Andrew Wommack's book.

God is #1

Andrew's book encouraged me to review my Christian walk over the last eight years. The review has helped me see the growth and maturity that has appeared since my life became God aligned. God overshadows every area of my life. He is first in all things.


Jesus's Prayer

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
John 17:22-23




 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Christian Motorcyclists Association Outreach At Lake of the Ozarks Bike Week

Bill and I arrived at the Harley shop (Lake of the Ozarks Harley-Davidson) around eleven thirty. We parked in the rear lot because it was close to vendors row and the hospitality tent. However, the front and side parking lots were already full of bikes, so that was the only place to park anyway. After parking our bikes and unloading the chairs, we walked to the hospitality tent pictured below. We relieved another couple who manned the tent from nine til we arrived. I was a little surprised at how many people walked up and asked about the items on the table. When they found out everything was free, another item or two left the table. 



 Outreach to the bikers in vendors row
All items on the table are free
Pictured left to right - Kelly N. and Andy N. with a visitor

 
Some of the items we give away are motorcycle themed bibles - Hope for the Highway, coins with a Christian Motorcyclists Association phone number on it, and rag tracts. Kelly and I folded fifty Ragg tracts and about fifteen were left when I took this picture. Ragg tracts are shop towels with a paper tract folded inside. I tell people that the towel will help clean up messes on their bike and the tract will help them clean up messes in their life. Curiosity will usually cause people to pick one up. Many
Bill and I packed up our chairs, fired up our bikes, and rode out of the Harley dealership parking lot around three-thirty. We are truly blessed to be riding disciples for our Lord, Jesus Christ.

 If you would like to find out more about Christian Motorcyclists Association, visit www.cmausa.org

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11, Washington D.C. and Motorcyclists

Last night I watched YouTube videos showing the hundreds of bikers streaming toward Washington D.C. Then, I read some of the many articles covering this event and the misinformation that has been dominant with this effort. My motorcycle is in the garage, but I am with my brothers and sisters on the road in heart and mind. Prayers are being lifted to the Lord to protect the riders, their machines, the event, and our country. I still remember the day the Twin Towers fell.

I was at work in Belle,MO at the elementary school when the Twin Towers fell. The principal came around and notified the staff quietly that something had happened on the East Coast and no one was sure what was happening. Then, parents started arriving and checking their children out of school. About a quarter of the students were gone in less than an hour. TV sets were connected to the Internet in classrooms and everyone watched the Twin Towers fall and the crash of the commercial airliner that had been headed for the Pentagon. Little learning happened that morning, but everyone knew that a monumental event had happened in the United States of America.

For the next two or three days, the USA was welded into a single unit. Color, class, and race was forgotten as the population of the USA came together and merged in heart and mind. Slowly though, this merging of the citizens fell apart. Local, state, and federal government contributed to this. Instead of bonding the way the population had, politicians continued to argue and then pass laws that changed the inherent freedom of America. The people dissolved back into factions of culture, race, sexual orientation, and the stew of other issues. The "sleeping giant" faded away.

Please pray for the patriotic motorcyclists who are riding and standing in the capitol city as a gesture of unitedness. Pray for the unity that this country experienced for a few short weeks to return. This unity of purpose is what won World War Two. The "Silent Majority" is vocal and visible today. The bikers who are in the national capitol today are part of the "Silent Majority" who have become convinced we need to show unity and give honor to the victims of the horrific events which took place on September 11.

Monday, September 9, 2013

My Ebook, Fractured into Faithful, is Live at Amazon.com



Whoopee! Yahoo! Fractured into Faithful by Sallee Bonham (me), is now a Kindle ebook at Amazon.com. Hours of writing, revising, organizing, and editing are finally over and the end product is for sale world wide! Poetry and short stories taken from the peaks and valleys of my journey through life.
Click on the link and sample Chapter 1.









 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Command from Jesus - Quiet! Settle down!


A Stressful Weekend
Labor Day weekend has been fairly stressful this year. I allowed myself to become mentally and emotionally wrapped up with an issue that arose Thursday evening. Last night, my husband and I sat down and prayed together. My inner turmoil calmed down gradually throughout the prayer. However, I awoke at 3:30 AM wide awake. Knowing that sleep wasn't going to return, I arose and checked my email.

A Personal Revelation
I opened up yesterday's Girlfriends in God devotional, Be Still and Know from Sharon Jaynes and started reading. 
"Like the men caught on the stormy Sea of Galilee, I felt I had been reeling in the waves for years - never in danger of truly sinking – just reeling from one rolling wave of work and deadlines to the next. But on this particular morning, I began to see the cast of characters in this Galilean scene in a different light. I was definitely in the scene, but I wasn’t in the boat at all. I was the storm.
I love how Eugene Peterson describes Jesus’ words to the wind and the waves as his friend stirred him from his sleep to calm the squall: “’Quiet! Settle down!’ The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass.”(Mark 4:39 The Message)...And all the while God has been whispering to me, “Cease striving and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 NASB). “It’s not that hard. Settle down. Be quiet.”
Now, I am sitting here knowing that God spoke to me through Sharon's devotional. Oh how I wish I had started yesterday out with that message instead of the mental merry-go-round my mind couldn't seem to stay off of for more than an hour or two.

I Was the Storm...Inwardly
I was the storm. How those words struck home with me. All weekend, I was the storm, not outwardly, but inwardly. Jesus finally had enough and told me this morning,"Quiet! Settle down!"

This isn't the first time he has had to bring this home to me. I am reminded of a devotional I read several years ago that said,
"sometimes you just have to sit in park for awhile, before you put yourself in gear and move ahead."
Brothers and sisters, I am going to follow Jesus's command to be quiet and settle down. God wants me to cease striving and know that He is God. He will hold me in his hand and set me to his purposes.

You can find Sharon's devotional at:
http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/girlfriends/be-still-and-know-girlfriends-in-god-september-2-2013.html

Update: 9/7/2013 

My mom shared a photo with an accompanying message from J.I. Packer, onto my Facebook page today. This is what is said:
“Wait on the Lord" is a constant refrain in the Psalms, and it is a necessary word, for God often keeps us waiting. He is not in such a hurry as we are, and it is not his way to give more light on the future than we need for action in the present, or to guide us more than one step at a time. When in doubt, continue to wait on God. When action is needed, light will come." ― J.I. Packer
My heavenly Father has my godly, faithful Mom reminding me of the personal revelation I received four days ago. I'm sure you think this is just a coincidence. There are no coincidences in God's plan for me.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Calling Glory - A Christian Rock Band



 Rock n roll has been a part of my life since the first time I listened to Elvis sing, Jailhouse Rock. As a squeak-through-the -door baby boomer, 1959, the 1960's rock music made a huge impression on me. As a follower of Jesus, I listen to Christian rock music. Calling Glory is a Christian rock band that I discovered about eight weeks ago.  I hope you enjoy the band's music.  God Bless.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Trusting God for Monetary Solutions

Trouble Staying Serene


Finances are an area where I have trouble staying serene and trusting in God. I really had no idea how much my mind dwells on the "I can't do .....because I can't afford it." until recently. The Lord has provided low cost, economical solutions to my career wardrobe and many other areas of daily living. However, I just keep grabbing ahold of money issues and clasping them tightly to my chest, again and again.

Happiness is God's Goal

I want to be an obedient, mature Christian. Confident that the Lord overshadows every area in my life. He is in control and I am going to let him be in control. Sound good doesn't it? Scripture tells me over and over that God takes care of his people. He provided manna for the Israelites, and meat when they complained about the manna. Happiness is God's goal for me and you. He doesn't want me to be mentally wrestling with money problems. That is his job.

Turning to the Bible - Again

Shrinking income isn't just my problem. I know everyone is facing this issue as gas prices and food prices continue to increase. Worrying over things like a dog with a bone isn't going to help me. So, I am going to reread Matthew 6:25-34 again. The scripture encourages me to trust God to provide for my needs. My plan is to read verses 25-34 until the words are imprinted upon my heart. God knows what I need and he will give them to me as long as I continue to seek his kingdom first and his righteousness.

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:25-34 NIV

 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Excited About Women of Faith Conference

 

A May Invitation

Way back in May, I received a Face Book message from my friend Michal, in Mississippi about going to the Women of Faith Conference in Kansas City, MO. The conference is in September 2013, but for advanced tickets and seating together Michal's sister,in South Dakota, had called and gotten a group number. The moment I read the message, I knew I wanted to go AND I wanted to go on my motorcycle. Today's social media is amazing. Michal is in Mississippi, her sister is in South Dakota, and I'm in Missouri. Women in three states planning a weekend together at a women's conference in Kansas City, MO. Sounds like a good time to me!

August Planning

Now its August 22 and the conference is next month. I am already packing my bags. (in my mind...lol) However, the final details aren't in place yet. Michal and her group will be traveling from Mississippi. Her sister will be traveling from South Dakota. I will be joining Michal in MO for the final leg of the journey to Kansas City, MO (I think..remember, the final details aren't in place yet.) However, I am mentally ready to go.

Expecting a Revelation

I will not be seeing any new scenery or new places on this trip, but I am completely certain that the conference is going to be a blessing. The conference theme is "God Can Do Anything".  Oh yes, I know how true this is. He has shown me miracle after miracle in my own life. My thoughts continue to excitedly dwell on this meeting of godly women. I am fully expecting to receive a revelation while I'm attending the conference. Maybe the revelation will be a scripture, or a testimony that sounds like it's aimed at me, or a feeling of unitedness with my faith filled sisters. Whatever it is, I'm ready for it!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Satan's Battle Plan

The Tempter Uses Scripture
Satan knows the Word of God. He used scripture during Jesus's temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4), quoting Psalms 91:11-12. However, Satan conveniently left out the phrase,"to guard you in all your ways. The master of half-truth didn't want to remind Jesus that the Lord had angels watching over him even at that moment. Jesus met Satan's attack by defending himself with another scripture, Deuteronomy 6:16. Jesus used his knowledge of scripture to deflect each temptational attack from his foe. Each time Satan advanced toward him, Jesus began,"It is written..."

Arm Yourself for Battle
Doesn't this verbal sparring remind you of a sword fight? 
Satan uttered a scripture directed at Jesus, and Jesus deflected the partial truth with another complete scripture. Jesus used the Sword of the Spirit, or the Word of God, to defend himself from the temptations of despair and distrust of God, presumption of God's power and safety, and idolatry through the power and glory of earthly kingdoms. (Matthew Henry Commentary)

You Can Win This Battle!
All the coheirs to the kingdom of God can win every battle with temptation, if we use the same tool that Jesus did, the Sword of the Spirit, the scriptures. We can deflect the partial truths of Satan in the same way that Jesus did; he used the Sword of the Spirit. Satan knows the Word of God and so should we. Arm yourself for battle by studying, memorizing, and meditating on God's instruction manual for spiritual battle, the Holy Bible.






Saturday, August 17, 2013

Overcoming Spiritual Dryness

Spiritually Dry


I am feeling dry. Spiritually dry. My life has had a lot of ups and downs all packed into seven days. My seven month old grandson's shunt isn't operating correctly, so he underwent surgery. My sister and her hubby were in a wreck. Sounds bad doesn't it? It's not.

 Praises

God cupped my sister's truck in his hand as is hydroplaned, at fifty miles an hour, and began spinning. The spinning truck went airborne, impacted hard enough to break an axle, and finally came to rest against an earthen embankment, upright. You know God was involved because the truck didn't roll upside down, or tumble. The damages: stiff necks, cracked rib, bruised forearm, and overall stiff muscles.

My grandson was diagnosed with spina bifida during the first trimester of pregnancy. He had neurosurgery and spinal surgery when he was twenty-four hours old. Two weeks later, he was home with his momma. No complications, swift healing, and lots of examinations from a team of specialists. Every specialist has used the word "miracle" in connection with Ashton's recovery process. This surgery was no different.

Streams of Prayer

A flood of prayer has been lifted for my sister and grandson. Prayers of healing, thanks,and strength have streamed to heaven from the lips of many prayer warriors, including myself. Now, in spite of all the thankfulness, I feel spiritually dry. I'm not sure why.

The Lord Hasn't Moved

The Lord is right where He has always been. I know he is with me. This feeling will pass. Feelings are temporary if I take the right action.  The right action for spiritual dryness is to bury myself in the word and renew my spirit. Everyone has a period of spiritual dryness that must be treated with meditation on the word of God.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

What is Right is not Always Popular, What is Popular is not Always Right

Discovering the Slogan


The title to today's post is a slogan I read on a bumper sticker, in a bookstore. The moment I read the words,"What is popular is not always right; What is right is not always popular", the truth of the slogan sank into my mind and heart. That particular bumper sticker never adorned the bumper of a car or truck, it proclaimed its message from the side of our refrigerator.

Teaching My Daughters

Cassie and Ashley, are fond of saying,"But Mom, all the other kids get to________________." (Place your own words in the blank.) Enter the bumper sticker. In the beginning, when my teen or preteen said this in the kitchen, I directed their attention to the bumper sticker and asked them to read the slogan to me. After some sighing and eye rolling, the reading would begin. My response was then," What does that mean?" More sighing and eye rolling followed my question, but I patiently looked at them, not saying a word. Clearly, Mom wasn't talking until she received an answer. Finally, I heard," Just because others do it, doesn't mean it is right for me." or a similar variation. The routine changed after Cassie and Ashley became familiar with the posted saying. All I had to do was point to the refrigerator after hearing the initial," But Mom, all the other kids get to____________." Either daughter would say," I know! I know! What's popular isn't always right, and what's right isn't always popular. I KNOW what it means, too. It means..."

My persistent message wasn't popular with my girls, but I knew it was one that they both needed to learn. God, the Father, had an unpopular message for his prophet Jeremiah to deliver to Israel. Jeremiah faithfully and persistently followed God's instructions. Whether they were popular, or not.

 Jeremiah, a Faithful Follower

Jeremiah faithfully followed God,(what's right isn't always popular.) even when confronted by popular worship practices that included idols (what's popular isn't always right). Jeremiah's people lived in a world that believed it was OK to worship more than one god. The Judeans felt it would be politically correct to include the gods of their powerful neighbors Babylon, Canaan, and Egypt,  into their worship service. No one wanted to offend the sophisticated, educated neighbors by excluding their gods, so compromise was the wisest thing to do. Very few of the Judeans remained faithful to the God of their forefathers. The God who commanded,"You shall not have any gods before me. You shall not make for yourselves an idol..." (Exodus 20:3-4) Yes, it wasn't popular to follow the one God, Jehovah anymore.

Jeremiah, a Politically Incorrect Prophet

 God called Jeremiah to be his prophet, equipping him to deliver a message to his fellow Judeans that was seen as politically incorrect to blasphemous. (You could be killed for blasphemy) However, Jeremiah was willing to be bold and and delivered an unpopular, politically incorrect message: unfaithfulness has consequences.

The house of Israel and the house of Judah have been utterly unfaithful to me,: declares the LORD. They have lied about the LORD; they said, "He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine. The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them; so let what they say be done to them."

Jeremiah 5:11-13

Are You Willing?

Are you willing to be bold and deliver a politically incorrect, biblical message that isn't popular? Let's learn a lesson from the prophet Jeremiah. Popular beliefs and standards are incorrect if they do not align with the Bible. Christians cannot allow political correctness, or popularity, to lead them into a life that is not aligned with the Bible, God's Holy Word.  The Bible is the inspired Word of God. The Bible says we are to be Christ-like as we faithfully and obediently follow what Jesus taught during his ministry. (Galatians 3:26-29)

Sallee's Six: Jeremiah's Unpopular Message

Jeremiah was a messenger with a very unwelcome message. However, he remained faithful to God and preached a message that brought him nothing but trouble from his fellow Judeans! Political power and the desire to "fit in" with the surrounding countries led Judah to compromise their faith and break their covenant with God. The compromise involved worshiping other gods, in addition to, their one God. God commanded Jeremiah to remind his people that :
1. He (God)demanded faithfulness and obedience
2.  A new covenant was coming (Jesus).

Jeremiah 11:4

...the terms I commanded your forefathers when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the iron smelting furnace. I said,"Obey me and do everything I command you, and you will be my people, and I will be your God.

Jeremiah 31: 31-34

31  "The time is coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.

32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt,because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them, declares the LORD.

33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

Jeremiah 33:3

'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'
 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Joyfully Teaching Vacation Bible School: The Last Day

The Fifth - Sixth Grade Movie

 Wednesday evening I returned home with more pictures for the Fifth-Sixth grade movie. I giggled and smiled as I added captions to Flat Paul pictures. Finally, about 11:00 P.M., I had the movie completed and burned onto a DVD-R disc. Bill opened up the Blu-Ray player, I popped the DVD in, and we settled back to watch the four minute and forty-eight second masterpiece. The movie had a few tiny glitches, but I was satisfied with my amateur production. Five more DVD-R disks were burned, labeled, and packaged; the movie disks were ready for the students.

The Last Lesson

My goal for today was to have the students reflect upon the VBS activities, their personal relationship with Jesus, and to share three to five minutes of personal testimony.

Reflecting on VBS Activities

Using a scale of 1-5 to rate a personal experience is what I use to help a class reflect on the VBS activities, 1 equals "I hated it" and 5 equals "I love it". After I asked them to rate the activities, the middle schoolers thought about the activities and the bolder ones started the discussion. ( I am amazed at how a group always has a leader or two whom others look to for answers.) The class consensus was a 3-4, or liked it to really liked it. My next two questions were about "best liked and least liked activities". The Unseen Force activity was the most popular and least popular was the signing with the songs. (In my opinion, the signing - dancing - singing required the same level of physical exertion as an aerobics workout.)

Reflecting on a Personal Relationship with Jesus

Now that the students were relaxed and engaged, I asked them to rate their relationship with Jesus using  a 1 to 10 scale; I don't have a relationship with Jesus to I have a great relationship with Jesus. Most of the numbers given by the students were in the 7-8 range, but one honest student answered with "honestly, my relationship is about a 5or 6." At this point, I repeated a silent appeal to the Holy Spirit; I asked the Holy Spirit to work through me as "the wise counselor" that Jesus promised the disciples they would receive.

The Holy Spirit responded as I opened my mouth and found myself talking to the group about how to deepen their relationship with Jesus using their smart phones, ipads, and tablets. Installing a free bible application, listening to contemporary Christian music on Pandora, or having an app to download Christian videos were some of the suggestions that I found myself offering to the boys and girls. Oh Jesus, thank you for using me to reach these young ones that you love!

Christian youth can form their own peer group, or clique, for support at school. Walking together in faith, at school, requires the formation of a support system. Unfortunately, many children go to church together, but they fail to be friends outside of church. Outside of church is where they need peers who walk with Jesus to support them(adults need this too.). This is a point that I focus on with young people and adults.  
 

Personal Testimony  - How VBS Brought Me Back to Jesus

My oldest daughter was five when she attended vacation bible school for the first time. At the end of VBS, at High Gate Baptist Church, Cassie came home with some great news. She couldn't wait to tell me about the school she could keep going to. I thought a minute and then said," Cassie do you mean Sunday School?" Cassie's little face lit up and she said," Yes, Momma. That's IT! Can I go? Please, Can I go?" How could I resist that appeal? Cassie, Ashley, and I began going to Sunday School and church. Before Cassie went to vacation bible school, I had been inside a church five or six times over a sixteen year period. Today, I firmly believe the Lord used my child and my desire to be a good parent to help get me back on a path that led toward Him, not away from Him.
 
I shared this testimony with the class to illustrate the point that a child can make a difference by sharing what they learn about the Lord.
 
VBS is over for another year, but I am already looking forward to next time! Thank-you Lord Jesus, for setting me to the task of teaching vacation bible school. Thank-you for equipping me to share the Good News. Amen.
 
 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sallee's Six: Favorite Verses from the Book of Matthew

 It's Thursday again! Last week I posted Sallee's Six: Favorite Verses from Joshua, Psalms, and Isaiah. This week's focus will be in the New Testament book of Matthew. Enjoy the verses and feel free to share your own favorite verses from Matthew. God bless you brothers and sisters.

Matthew 6:31- 33
So do not worry, saying, : What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father know that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 7:1-2
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Matthew 11:28-29
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Matthew 15:11
What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.' "

Matthew 22:37-38
Jesus replies: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.

Matthew 22:39-40
And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."