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, May 25, 2015

Psalm of the Week - 28:2 - May 25, 2015

"David is very earnest in prayer...Believers should not rest till they have received some token that their prayers are heard."  
Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary

 "The use of the expression... "cry" marks the earnestness of the prayers offered. When I lift up my hands,The usual attitude of a Hebrew in prayer (see Exodus 9:29Exodus 17:11, 121 Kings 8:22, 54Psalm 63:4Psalm 141:2Lamentations 2:19;Lamentations 3:41). Originally, the idea probably was that the hands should be ready to receive the blessings which God would bestow. But, later on, the lifting up of the hands seems to have been regarded as symbolizing the lifting up of the heart"  
Pulpit Commentary 

Verse of the Week - 1 Timothy 2:8 - May 25, 2015

Correction:  The scripture is incorrect in the picture above, it should read, 1 Timothy 2:8

"Under the gospel, prayer is not to be confined to any one particular house of prayer, but men must pray every where. 
  • We must pray in our closets
  • pray in our families
  • pray at our meals
  • pray when we are on journeys
  • pray in the solemn assemblies, whether more public or private. 
  • We must pray in charity; without wrath, or malice, or anger at any person. 
  • We must pray in faith, without doubting, and without disputing."
Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary

Saturday, May 16, 2015

I Am The Storm

I have had the feeling that I was forgetting something all morning. Then...I realized today is the 16th of May and I should have posted a new scripture on the Living Proof Ministries Blog...yesterday. 

I sat thinking,"Oh, I will just use the Psalm of the Week, 4:4,  that I posted this week." Since I was already online, I just typed in a search for the psalm, clicked on a the Bible Gateway link, and the King James Version of Psalm 4:4 appeared on my computer screen. 

The KJV Bible has a little different wording than the NIV Bible version that I used this week.
Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.  KJV
Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. NIV
Two words in the KJV verse caught my attention - be still.
Be still, not silent.  All week I have been busy. Busy doing everything except spending time with Jesus. Busy at work, busy thinking about work, busy being sad, busy baking a cake, busy thinking about me, busy talking about how I feel, busy trying to accept the situation, busy, busy, busy.  I have not been silent, or still. 

Do not misunderstand me. I have been engaged in prayer. I have read scripture. BUT I have also had an internal storm inside of me all week  - an emotional gale with an occasional calm in between the squalls. 

As I sat looking at those two little words - be still
I knew in my heart that my Lord and Savior was reminding me of a previous time. Two years ago I wrote a post called,"A Command From Jesus - Quiet! Settle Down!" In that post I was in a similar situation.
Click here to read the post.

I am sitting here in awe at how my Lord and Savior works in my life. 
With two little words - be still, he reminded me of what I need to do. I have to tell myself to be still because, I am the storm and Jesus is in the boat where I need to be!  Are you following me? 

In Mark 4:39,  Jesus calmed the storm by saying, "Peace, be still."  and I think I will. Yes, I am joining Jesus in the boat.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Psalm of the Week - 4:4 - May 11, 2015

Bed time has always been a time for me to think about my day. Good times, bad times, in between times are all looked at and gone through. For years I followed this routine, but I also kept my mind busy with thinking about what I could have, or should have, said to other people. In short, my mind was not silent.

Being mentally silent was not an activity that I had even thought about until I was thirty-three years old and participating in a twelve-step recovery program. People kept talking about "meditating" as part of their daily prayer time. I remember thinking about this as an activity to be practiced. It was an action that I needed to do so I created a "meditation wall" in my tiny apartment.

The meditation wall consisted of a Serenity Prayer plaque, a plaque of Proverbs 3:6, and framed slogans. Each day I would sit on the couch and read my meditation wall. Then I would think about what each one said and what it meant. One day, I realized that meditating wasn't me talking to myself, it was a time for me to be still, or silent. Wow! I had not tried to be mentally silent in a VERY long time.

Today, I am in awe of the Lord and trying my best to not sin. At days end, in bed,  I search my heart, or review my actions and behaviors of the day. Then, I am silent. 

Verse of the Week - Ephesians 4:26 - May 11, 2015

My parents were very young when they married, mom was 15 and dad was 17. However, the benefit to me was that I spent large amounts of time with my great grandparents, especially my Great Grandma Tucker. 

My great grandmother, Ella Mae Tucker, had a huge impact on my faith because I spent many weekends with her. Great Grandma had copies of "The Upper Room", a daily devotional guide, on the table by her chair and I liked looking at the pictures and asking questions about each reading she read to me. 

Great Grandma was the first person I remember telling me to " Not let the sun do down while you are still angry." I do not remember the reason she shared this with me, but I do remember seeing very loud verbal battles between other family members. I imagine I shared this with Great Grandma because I can still remember those fights like it happened yesterday, instead of fifty years ago. At the time, I did not know that she was giving me biblical advice.

The first time I read Ephesians 4:26, I had an "ah hah!' moment and remember thinking," So that's where that comes from!" Today, I still remember to follow Great Grandma's advice," Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry." 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Job Stress and Change

I have worked in my current job position for thirteen years. Next year, my position is going to be in another department that I started in seventeen years ago. I wish I could say that I put this in Jesus' hands and left it there, BUT I did not. Prayer was the first action that I took and the Lord spoke to my heart and told me to stay where I am.

Change is hard for me to deal with - leaving it up to Jesus is easy to say, hard to do. For a week or so, I have been alternating between acceptance, sadness, and anger. The Serenity prayer has come to mind two or three times.
God grant me the serenityto accept the things I cannot changethe courage to change the things I canand the wisdom to know the difference.
The moment the Lord spoke to my heart I should have let things go, but I keep picking at the issue like a child picking at a scab on a healing sore until the sore is bleeding again. 

The position change is not a demotion. My head knows this, my heart doesn't. Part of the problem is that I love my job. Yes, LOVE it. The satisfaction is part of what keeps me going even though the pay is low.

The department I am being sent to isn't quite the same. The five previous years I spent in that department had me feeling burnt out. The gains and goals were much lower. However, you can see that I am still trying to weigh the pros and cons.

The pros and cons keep bouncing around in my head even though the Lord spoke to my heart and told me to stay and it is not time to change. He always has a plan for his beloved, even when I can't see it.  My finite brain trying to understand an infinite God just doesn't work. Acceptance is the answer. HE has spoken. 

As the refrain from the old hym says, "Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. 
Proverbs 3:5-6

Monday, May 4, 2015

Verse of the Week - Colossians 3:8- Week of May 3, 2015

"Letting it all hang out" is easy to do. Being angry, wrathful, or deliberately hurtful requires no self-control. Self-control becomes involved when you and I begin trying to live as Jesus wants us too. Replacing, or putting off, the the behaviors listed in Colossians 3:8 isn't easy. However, it can be done if you have a genuine desire to follow in Jesus' footsteps. Most of the terms in this verse are familiar to me, but I decided to look up the definitions of malice and blasphemy to make sure I understood them correctly.

Malice is defined asa desire to cause harm to another person. Ill will, vindictiveness and revenge are all synonyms for malice. Okay, I do know what malice is. Next, I looked up blasphemy in the dictionary and it was defined as:

Blasphemythe act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane  
Original Greek  blasphémia (blas-fay-me'-ah)

After reading the short definition, I decided to look up the original Greek word using the "Interlinear English to Hebrew/Greek" tool at Interestingly, the original Greek shows a different meaning for blasphemy than the one I am most familiar with.

NOTE: The bolded phrases are my addition to emphasize the information that was new to me.
HELPS Word-studies 
Cognate: 988 blasphēmía (from blax, "sluggish/slow," and 5345 /phḗmē, "reputation, fame") – blasphemyliterally, slow (sluggish) to call something good (that really is good) – and slow to identify what is truly bad (that really is evil).
Blasphemy (988 /blasphēmía) "switches" right for wrong (wrong for right), i.e. calls what God disapproves, "right" which "exchanges the truth of God for a lie" (Ro 1:25). 
Matthew Henry also considered blasphemy as not just speaking ill of God. Here is what he wrote in his commentary:
... as blasphemy, which seems there to mean, not so much speaking ill of God as speaking ill of men, giving ill language to them, or raising ill reports of them, and injuring their good name by any evil arts,—filthy communication, that is, all lewd and wanton discourse, which comes from a polluted mind in the speaker and propagates the same defilement in the hearers,
What do you think? I am going to think about this new information for awhile. 

Psalm of the Week -37:8 - Week of May 3, 2015

In context, this psalm says to not fret because of evil doers. Wrong doing surrounds me today. I turn on the television and see shows that completely disregard the biblical model for living life. Developers displace the poor, widowed, and orphaned to create a new mall.Alternate lifestyles have become so common that they are being pictured in family television viewing. People of every color and culture are compartmentalizing themselves instead of living a life of faith that overcomes all barriers. Christians are heckled, jeered, and persecuted for speaking up about God's word and its model for living our lives. 

Do not be angry about wrong doing, or evil doers. Fretting is something that I can fall into easily. I am a soap box woman. My mom called me, "Sallee, Defender of the Faith" when I was still in elementary school. My being vocal about wrong doing isn't necessarily God's will. In fact, I may actually be doing evil myself, if I allow myself to argue or become angry myself. My test for these circumstances is a single question to myself,"Can I change this in anyway?" Usually, I cannot. 

Focus on living your life for Jesus. Let your life be all about Jesus and let the ripples of your faith expand and touch the lives of those around you. Small actions reap huge results in God's world. A word of kindness, a smile, a monetary gift at the right time, a supply of household goods, a "just because" card, random acts of kindness, are all ways we can let our faith touch other people in love.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Extinguishing the Flaming Arrow of Anger

for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
James 1:20 NASB

Anger is an area of my life that occasionally causes me issues. "Hot-tempered and high-strung" is the phrase that described the earthly Sallee Bonham for the first 33 years of my life.

Over the last twenty-three years, my desire to rid myself of anger has sent me to my knees in prayer many times. Slowly, but surely my anger has been removed by writing to find the source of the anger, by immersing myself in scripture about anger, AND by the grace of God at work in my daily life. 

Writing about my anger is a sure way to reveal the cause. Usually, I find I have a resentment and/or fear that is affecting the following:
  1. My security - fear
  2. My self-esteem - upset with myself/ not being "good enough"  - fear
  3. A personal relationship/pride - fear
I have to be very honest with myself when I am looking at the cause of my anger. However, I want to live an anger free life. Did you see a pattern in my list? It is all about me. Yep, I have grabbed onto my life again and am not trusting GOD and Jesus to take care of EVERYTHING! (sigh) Now it is time to give my life back to Jesus because my heart's desire is to be closer and closer to Jesus.  I do not want to be an angry Christian
It is time to pray this prayer:
Jesus, I am yours! I am giving all of myself to you, good and bad. I am asking you to now remove from me every single imperfection of character that makes me less useful to you. Give me the strength to stay in your will, to do your will, and to be your servant. Amen!
To stop the flaming arrow of the Enemy, I pick up my sword of the spirit (my study bible) and look up anger. Reading through the list of scriptures, I turn to each chapter and read each verse in context. However, I did not feel that sense of "this is it", until I read what James had written in James 1:19-27. 
 "19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
 Righteousness and anger do not belong together. It is time for me to curl up at Jesus' feet and to look intently into the perfect law (the Bible). I am going to win this spiritual skirmish with the Enemy by relying on the Word of God and trusting Jesus to take care of everything!

Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places

Ephesians 6:16
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.