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 to 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 the 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”

Monday, March 30, 2015

Psalm of the Week - 42:2 - Week of March 30, 2015

This psalm is a poem and a prayer
David was in exile when he wrote this lament.He felt God was absent and wanted to be in his living God's presence. 

Matthew Henry had this to say about David's faith, our faith, religion, and how we should feel about God:
  • Faith begins with holy desires towards God and communion with him... 
  •  Holy love to God as the chief good and our felicity (great happiness) is the power of godliness, the very life and soul of religion, without which all external professions and performances are but a shell and carcass (dead, without meaning)...  
  • Holy love thirsting, love upon the wing, soaring upwards in holy desires towards the Lord and towards the remembrance of his name (v. 1, 2): "My soul...thirsts, for God, for nothing more than God, but still for more and more of him... 
  • He longs to come and appear before attend on him, as a servant appears before his master, to pay his respects to him and receive his commands,—to give an account to him, as one from whom our judgment proceeds. 
  • To appear before God is...the desire of the upright..."

My Relationship with God
For a long time, my relationship with God was limited to when I needed help. Don't get me wrong, I believed in God and Jesus. I just didn't fully understand how much deeper my relationship could grow to be if I began to focus on God first, my self second, and all other things after that. 

As a child, I had a relationship with Jesus, but as a young adult I walked away from church and Christian life. After sixteen years of living life my way, my life was in a shambles and I had to change. In 1994, I rededicated my life to Christ through baptism. My spiritual relationship with Christ was sealed that Sunday morning. During my baptism, I felt a small core of happiness begin to grow deep inside me that expanded to include my whole self as my face and body emerged from the water. Along with the expanding core of joy, I experienced an internal sensation of something  "snapping into place" and creating a whole, new me - creating a joy filled woman. 

Love Upon the Wing
Today, I so look forward to opening my bible and meeting with God. Today, I want nothing more than to be a servant of God. He is my all, and my everything. Love upon the wing. What a wonderful expression for how each of us should feel about the Lord. 

Verse of the Week - Matthew 16:16 - Week of March 30, 2015

Who is Jesus?
In chapter 16 of Matthew, Jesus asked his disciples,"Who do people say the Son of Man is?" The disciples told Christ that some people thought he was John the Baptist, others thought he was Elijah, and still others were guessing that he was Jeremiah, or one of the other prophets. 

Then Jesus asked his disciples another question," Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered him," You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Jesus was pleased because he had not told the disciples who he was. Then Jesus said an interesting thing. He said that Simon Peter knew this information because his (Jesus') Father in heaven had revealed Jesus' identity to Simon Peter. 

God can and will give the followers of Christ personal revelations. Simon Peter knew who Jesus was. Simon Peter knew that Jesus was the Messiah. He could only know this as a personal revelation from God. 

Do you know Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God? 
I would like to tell you about him.

1. Jesus is God and became human. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." 
John 1:1, 14

2. Jesus died for us on the cross. "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.' 
1 Peter 3:13

3. Jesus was resurrected from the dead. "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification:
Romans 4:25

If you want Jesus to affect your life, you have to receive Him by believing in Him. "To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God"
John 1:12

ABC's of Receiving Jesus

Admit - Admit you need Jesus and repent of your sin. Repenting is not just feeling sorry, but it means we turn our whole life toward Jesus. We want to live differently.
Believe - Believe in Jesus. You have to trust and believe that He is God, He died for us on the cross, and his death is why we will have eternal life in Heaven. You believe there is one God.
Confess - Confess, or say that 'Jesus is Lord.' For it is by your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:9-10 You are giving Jesus control of your life. You have just become a passenger in life and Jesus is the driver. 

Jesus, you are Lord. I believe you are the Son of God and that you died on the cross and were raised from the dead. I know I have not been living right and that I need forgiveness. I am turning from my sins and receive you as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for saving me. 

You have just enter God's family by a spiritual birth. Follow up on your commitment by:
  • reading God's Word, the Bible daily
  • pray  
  • find a church home.  
  • Communicate your faith to others.
  • Share what has happened to you.

Resources used for this post
NIV Disciple's Study Bible Chapter 16 of Matthew
NIV Disciple's Study Bible Life Helps pgs. 1745 - 1748 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Team Bonham - Called and Equipped by God

Ecclesiastes 4 
Bill and I are a team. We are Team Bonham. When we married, we decided to follow the advice in  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. Verses 9-10 says two people are better than one because you get a good return for your labor, one can pick the other one up, you can keep each other warm, and you can defend each other. 

Then, verse twelve states that a cord with three strands is not quickly broken.  We consider our marriage a cord with three strands - God is the first strand interwoven with a Bill strand and a Sallee strand. We are stronger together. We worship Jesus together, we read and discuss the bible together, and we support each other every day. Our goal is to Love God First, then each other. We are entwined spiritually.

We are active in motorcycle ministry, children's ministry in our home church and church association, and evangelism. Now God has called us into a new area - grief.

Sallee's Call I received a call asking me to serve on a grief team at a women's conference. My experience with losing my late spouse and leaning on Jesus the whole time has equipped me to encourage my sisters in Christ. However, I knew I was going to study grief in my discipleship bible. Additionally, I prayed asking for guidance. 
Bill's Call Two days later, Bill was asked to speak at a Saturday memorial service. Bill is ordained and an evangelist. Wedding services, witnessing, and general sermons have been the extent of his experience. He prayed about it and accepted the call to speak. 

God obviously has a plan for both of us in the area of grief ministry.
Bill and I began praying about the memorial service and my counseling call. 

Answered Prayer?
During my drive to work, my thoughts turned to Lazarus, Mary, Martha and Jesus' friendship Answered prayer? Could be. I made a mental note to talk to Bill about using this story in his message and for myself to read the story in John 11 and my bible commentary. 
Working in Tandem
When I arrived home, Bill and I talked about my day and his. Then, I told him how the story of Lazarus and Jesus had occurred to me. Bill considered it for a minute or two, and said he thought that would work. I volunteered to look for a funeral sermon outline that would fit his preaching style. Remember, two people are better than one because you get a good return for your labor. After a quick Google search using the phrase "funeral sermon," a page of search results from results appeared and I just clicked on the first one. 
When God is Involved
You will not believe what happened next, or maybe you will if you know how amazing Jesus is. The first sermon was by a Baptist pastor named Brian Bill. We are Baptist, the memorial service is at a Baptist church, and Bill is my husband's first name. Additionally, the sermon was written in a style that closely follows my husband Bill's preaching. Now here is the really good part, the lesson in the sermon was------Lazarus' death and Jesus arriving four days later. When God is involved in equipping his servants, everything just falls into place!

Bill and I spent a little time copying, pasting, and editing the sermon into a briefer version, a Bill Bonham version. After reading the message several times, we both agreed that it was perfect. 

The Holy Spirit has us both feeling joyful and full of praise for our infinite, living God who is equipping us for a new opportunity to serve him. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Verse of the Week - Zachariah 9:9 - March 22, 2015

Photo by Sallee Bonham Excerpt from Zech. 9:9

Zachariah 9:9 AKJV

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, your King comes to you: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding on an ass, and on a colt the foal of an ass.

Jesus Enters Jerusalem
Jesus was on a schedule that the disciples and his followers did not understand. His arrival into Jerusalem riding on a young donkey that was a colt from a donkey mare fulfilled Zachariah's prophecy. However, the people were celebrating Jesus' arrival because they thought he was coming to claim an earthly throne and deliver them from Roman rule. 

Excitement filled the air as waving palm branches were laid upon the path before Jesus. The Pharisees were not happy that Jesus' arrival was being celebrated so publicly and told Jesus that they should not be so loud. Roman soldiers were watching the celebration closely to make sure Jesus was not trying to challenge Roman rule. Jesus' reply was completely unexpected. Jesus told the Pharisees that if the people were silent, the rocks themselves would shout out instead. Can you picture the Pharisees looking at each other in silence after Jesus said this? Looks of disbelief and then a nod of heads to indicate it was time to leave this crazy Nazarene and make a plan to deal with him. 

Yes, Jesus knew what he had to do. The Pharisees would kill him in the end, BUT that was on his Father's schedule. Jesus knew the end result of his statement would be to increase the hostility of the Pharisees. 

Rejoice Greatly Daughters of Christ
Rejoice greatly, daughters of Christ! Our King came to us and gave us salvation. Behold, He is still with us. Rejoice and shout because Jesus Christ, as a lowly man, fulfilled his role as Messiah by dying on a cross. The Son of God arose to Heaven and brought us salvation. Rejoice greatly, daughters of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Psalm of the Week - 110:1 - March 22, 2015

Psalm 110:1 excerpt. Photo by Sallee Bonham

Psalm 110:1 AKJV

The LORD said to my Lord, Sit you at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.

A Prophecy from King David
"The explicit application of this Psalm to our Saviour, by Him (Mt 22:42-45) and by the apostles (Ac 2:34; 1Co 15:25; Heb 1:13), and their frequent reference to its language and purport (Eph 1:20-22; Php 2:9-11; Heb 10:12, 13), leave no doubt of its purely prophetic character...The Psalm celebrates the exaltation of Christ to the throne of an eternal and increasing kingdom, and a perpetual priesthood (Zec 6:13), involving the subjugation of His enemies and the multiplication of His subjects, and rendered infallibly certain by the word and oath of Almighty God."
Jamieson, Fausset, Brown  Bible Commentary

Friday, March 20, 2015

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

photograph by Sallee Bonham

Random God thoughts appear in my mind when I am driving. I don't know why. It just happens. I want to share a random God thought that occurred to me this week as I drove home from work. 

 I saw a beautiful cloud framed against the deep blue sky. The cloud edges shone  brilliantly white in the afternoon sunlight. The folk saying, "Every cloud has a silver lining." drifted through my mind. Then, my God thought moment occurred," Every child of God has a silver lining too. We are lined by the Holy Spirit that was given to us by God, after Jesus died on the cross."

I picture the Holy Spirit as a silvery white, shining light; similar to the brilliant white of the cloud edges that I saw as I drove home. On the outside, we are a physical human being, but we contain an inner spiritual lining that is the Holy Spirit. This "holy lining" claims us as God's. How cool is that? Every Christian is lined, or given, the Holy Spirit because we belong to the Lord.

The Bible tells us we were given the Holy Spirit by GodThe bold type in the scriptures is my emphasis. 

Acts 15:8 NIV
God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.

1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

John 14:17 NIV
the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you

2 Timothy 1:14 NIV
Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you--guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Psalm of the Week - Psalm 28:7 - March 16, 2015

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

Psalm 28:7 NIV

I love this verse because it states exactly how I feel about my relationship with Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit. 

John Gill, an English Baptist minister, wrote the following excerpt:

"The Lord is my strength...That is, the author both of natural and spiritual strength; ...and my shield; as were the love, power, and faithfulness of God, and the Lord Jesus Christ...since his heart trusted in the Lord; and which shows that his trust was a hearty one, his faith was a faith unfeigned, he believed with the heart unto righteousness; and I am helped: this was the fruit of his trust, even a gracious experience of divine assistance: saints are helpless in themselves...God is the only helper of them; he helps them out of all their troubles; in whatever he calls them to, and to what they want; and the help he affords is sometimes quick, and always seasonable...and this joy was very great, a joy unspeakable, and full of glory; it was not carnal, but spiritual, a heart joy, joy in the Holy Ghost (Spirit);...praise is due to God, what glorifies him, and is acceptable to him; it becomes the saints, is comely(proper) for them, and it is pleasant work to them, when grace is in exercise..."

Heart joy. This is how I feel about the Lord. Joy that starts as a small bubble inside me. A joy bubble that expands until I want to shout at the top of my voice. An amazing, overwhelming joy that Jesus Christ loves ME! 

Waiting On a "Just for Me" Memory Verse

Two days ago, 
I realized that March 15th was nearly here. Lately, my morning quiet time has given way to recorded food programs and a computer game. However, I knew this had to change if I wanted to hear the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit give me my next Siesta Scripture Memory Team 2015 memory verse. 

And I heard.......silence
I opened my Bible, read in the New Testament, and heard..........silence. I praised the Lord in prayer, thanked Him for my blessings, and asked for my next memory verse. Listening quietly I heard...........silence. 

As I studied the 5th/6th Grade bible lesson, I read the lesson's weekly memory verse, John 5:36. 
“I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me.

This morning, I assigned the memory verse to my class. Additionally, I told the students they would get to ask me to recite the memory verse next Sunday. 

Two Memory Verses
In fact, I was planning on memorizing two scriptures. I expected to be given a separate, just for me, scripture for Siesta Scripture Memory Team by the Lord. However, Jesus had a different idea. 

More silence
It is late afternoon as I type this post. About an hour ago, I again turned to the Lord for my memory verse. Thinking I might have missed an internal prompting during church service, I reread the sermon scriptures from church service. I listened quietly and heard............silence.
Q and A
"Father, what do you want me to memorize this week?", I finally asked. Imagine my surprise when the quiet voice I had been listening for said,

"John 5:36." 

Jesus does not expect me to learn two memory verses in one week. I put that task on myself. Honestly, I am relieved to be memorizing one scripture that is part of my task, teaching the 5th/6th grade Sunday School class. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Psalm of the Week - Psalm 27:13-14 - March 9, 2015

Picture from: gallery
13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

I love these two verses of Psalm 27. As I read, I can feel confidence, optimism, and patience rise within me. SalleeB