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, October 18, 2017

The Hearts of Men

The Lord knows the hearts of men.
He is the potter and we are his clay. He knows about those who worship with their mouth and speak of his love, but have a heart that is far removed from him. He knows what they are hiding in secret. Never doubt that he doesn't understand that the world around us is turned upside down. Our job is not to doubt, but to believe in the Word of God with all of our heart and to be joyful no matter what happens around us. 

The Lord Sees the Hypocrites and Sinners
Isaiah 29:13
Why the Lord said, For as much as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

Isaiah 29:15
Woe to them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who sees us? and who knows us?

Isaiah 29:16
Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?

Rejoice- The Deaf and the Blind WILL See
Isaiah 29:17-19
Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest?

And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.

The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel
Isaiah 29:24
They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Beware Flattery and Faithlessness - Psalm 5:9

For there is no faithfulness in their mouth
Today, you can find biblical standards in the media, but you have to look carefully for it. However, this isn't a media problem, but a social problem. 
Media is viewer-driven. 
It is all about the numbers. If the numbers go down, changes are made. Apparently most viewers would rather see sex, drugs, and unfaithfulness on their tablets, phones, computers, and televisions than wholesome and godly programs. 
Are you supporting ungodly media by watching, rather than boycotting them? 
Their inward part is very wickedness
People are adept at hiding what they are doing in their personal lives. Ask the Lord for discernment so that you will know who is sincere and who is not. Don't let the outside appearance of people catch you off guard. Pray for discernment and expect to receive it. The Holy Spirit will give you discernment.
Their throat is an open tomb
Cursing makes me wince inwardly. In my before-Jesus life, I cursed quite well. I was in the Navy and sailors are known to curse right? This was my excuse for cursing. Today, cursing makes me wince inwardly because through Jesus Christ, I have become a new person. As a new creation through Jesus Christ, I want to speak encouragement and healing words, not negativeness and ugliness. 
They flatter with their tongue.
The comedian and actress Mae West liked to say, "Flattery will get you everywhere." This is a truism because flattering people can make them want to help you. It may not work all the time, but it will work pretty well.Therefore, the motive behind flattery is that the flatterer wants something from you. It might be your time, money, or a commitment, but they are flattering you to get something in return. 
Compliment or Flattery?
My husband likes to compliment people. However, the only motive he has is to make them feel good because someone said something positive to them. Motive is the difference between flattery and compliments. The flatterer wants something in return, but the complimenter is trying to encourage and uplift the person they are complimenting. Brothers and sisters, make sure you are speaking compliments rather than flattery

Power of the Tongue - Proverbs 18:21

Satan's goal is to divide the children of God. 
Speaking of division and troubles within the body of the church is only giving power to the problem. Let your tongues speak of life, not negative issues. Don't let the fruit of your tongue be destructive. The consequences of speaking negatively within the church body about each other can and will fracture the family of God. 

Let's speak of unity and faith, two issues of life.
Yes, speak of the unity within your church body. Speak of the faith within your church body. Speak words of unity and faith. Pick out the good in your brothers and sisters and speak of that good. Give power to the good. Let the fruit of your tongue be constructive, not destructive. 

The children of God are a world-wide family.
We are not separate sections of the family of God, contained within many church bodies. No, we are one, world wide body of Christ. If we focus on speaking only of unity and faith, can you imagine the effectiveness of our spiritual battle against Satan on a world-wide scale?

Ephesians 4:4-6
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
John 17:21
That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me.
Galatians 3:28
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Monday, October 2, 2017

We are One - Ephesians 4:4-4:6

Satan's goal is to divide and conquer the followers of Jesus Christ.

Don't let man-made labels inspire you to separate yourself from the one body of Christ. We are all part of that body. God is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Don't listen to the whispers of the Enemy. His specialty is causing division and dissension within the church body. Quit listening to his lies.

We all have the one Spirit and are called in the one hope. We have one Lord and one faith. Stay united in your purpose. Do not let Satan divide you from your church and then conquer you because you don't have any support. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Tap Out to God - Psalm 66:3

Mixed Martial Arts
In MMA, or Mixed Martial Arts, a fighter will tap-out, or submit to their opponent when they find themselves in a position that is impossible to recover, or escape from. Most fighters will wait until the last moment possible to tap out. No one wants to admit that they have been overpowered by the greater strength of an opponent.
God is Formidable
In Psalm 66, the writer says to tell God you KNOW how formidable and impressive his works are and through the greatness of his power, his enemies will submit themselves to him. God is the greater opponent and his enemies will surrender, or tap out to him. 
God is with us and for us. 
His enemies will always tap out before him. Isn't that a great reason to make a joyful noise to the Lord today?

Satan the Movie Star - James 4:7

In the final battle of Transformers: The Movie
Optimus Prime and Megatron stand face to face with each other. After a moment, Optimus Prime tells his enemy,"One  shall stand, one shall fall." The battle begins and the rock n roll lyrics tell us, "you got the power" as the giant machines crash, smash, and bash each other. Optimus Prime and Megatron hurl each other around until finally, Megatron is lying on the ground and a wounded Optimus Prime is the weary winner.
Satan the Movie Star
Christians have succumbed to a movie version of Satan that portrays him as being a big, powerful enemy who can easily toss God's people around in a battle. We have to sweat and struggle to win against our towering, formidable enemy just like Optimus Prime struggled against Megatron. However, this is not true! We Christians have been deceived, and who is the biggest deceiver there is? That is right, Satan.
A Good Soldier Will Submit, or Follow Orders
The word, submit, has a military meaning. A good soldier follows the orders of his commanding officer without questioning him. A good soldier resists, or stands fast in a battle because he is following his orders. Our weapons are not fists, feet, knives, guns, or other weapons. Our weapons are knowledge of the Bible, prayer, and reliance on God.
Submit to God
When Christians submit to God and resist the devil, the devil will flee. Yes, that's right, Satan will take flight, fly away, scamper off, or run away.  This is not just an assurance from a Biblical writer; it is a promise of God. So let us get this television movie version of Satan OUT of our thinking. It is a lie. Again, I ask you, who is the biggest deceiver and liar in the Bible? That is right, it is our foe who rules this world. BUT he cannot defeat us when we have submitted to our heavenly Father and resisted him. When a spirit-led, coheir of the heavenly kingdom is wearing the armor of God and stands up against the enemy; he will flee, run away, take flight, or scamper off. Satan cannot make Christians do anything.
And the Victor Is A Child of God
I feel like standing up and cheering aloud. Oh yeah! I am the winner in this fight every time! I can just picture myself standing toe to toe with the Deceiver and claiming God's promise by saying, " I am holding fast against you. You cannot defeat me because I am a child of God!" Then the enemy will turn around and scamper away in full flight from the power of God's promise that I just proclaimed aloud. Amen? 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

I Will Not Fear - Psalm 118:6

The Lord is On the Side of David, Jesus, and Me
The Lord was on the side of David, hence all his prosperity and victories, the wonderful things done by him, his exaltation to the throne, and the establishment of it.
The Lord was on the side of Christ, he was near by him, at his right hand, to guide, direct, and assist him as man
The Lord is on the side of his people and he will:
  • fight their battles for them
  • support them under all their afflictions
  • supply all their wants
  • deliver them from all evil
  • carry on the work of grace in their souls
  • bring them to glory
David Did Not Fear
He was not afraid of ten thousands of men, no, not of a whole army that encamped against him, God being for him, the strength of his life, and his salvation.
Jesus Did Not Fear
He was not afraid of Herod when he was told he would kill him; nor of the high priests, Scribes and Pharisees, though he knew he should fall into their hands, and they would deliver him to the Gentiles, to be scourged and crucified; nor of Judas and his band of men, who came to take him; nor of Pilate his judge, who had no power against him but what was given him.
Believers Should Not Fear
 The utmost any man can do is to kill the body; he cannot destroy the soul, or hinder the happiness of it.
Adapted from Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible 

Believing is Essential - Mark 9:23

Jesus Has Power Over Satan
Jesus demonstrated his power over Satan and the spirits that answered to Satan repeatedly. He gave the disciples the power to also cast out spirits and heal people. The disciples tried to help a suffering boy, but they couldn't cast out the demon. Why?
Jesus felt it was because of unbelief on the part of the father AND the disciples. Perhaps the disciples had quit relying on God as much as they should have and had begun to rely on themselves. 

According to Matthew Henry's Concise Bible Commentary for Mark 9:14-29:

  • The father of the suffering youth reflected on the want of power in the disciples; but Christ will have him reckon the disappointment to the want of faith. 
  • Very much is promised to our believing. If you can believe, it is possible that your hard heart may be softened, your spiritual diseases maybe cured; and, weak as you are, You may be able to hold out to the end. 
  • Those that complain of unbelief, must look up to Christ for grace to help them against it, and his grace will be sufficient for them. 
  • Whom Christ cures, he cures effectually. 
  • Satan is unwilling to be driven from those that have been long his slaves, and, when he cannot deceive or destroy the sinner, he will cause him all the terror that he can.
  • The disciples must not think to do their work always with the same ease; some services call for more than ordinary pains.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

How to Live Life - Psalm 119:9-10

Psalm 119 is an amazing psalm to study. 
Study will reveal that this psalm contains instructions on how to live life every day. This life outline includes the following four instructions:
  • Study God's commands
  • Live according to the word of God, the Bible
  • Seek God with all your heart
  • Ask God to help you stay focused on his commands
Think About the Word of God Like This
Each verse is like a seed of wisdom that contains his instructions on how to live according to his will. When you bury these seeds in your heart, each word will sprout and give you understanding and insight into God's commands. This is the insight that will keep you from leaving his path for you. The more seeds you bury in your heart, the more insight and understanding you will have about the Lord's commands.  Seek him with all your heart. The rewards will be great. This isn't my promise, it is God's promise. 

No Spiritual Roots - Luke 8:13

For a long time, I was like the seed on the rock.
I love Jesus. I feel great joy in talking about him and studying the bible. However, my faith was an emotional response to belonging to Jesus and interacting at church. I wasn't a disciple. I was a church member.

I have always known that I belong to Jesus.
However, somewhere in my bible reading I missed that I am not a belonging, but a new creation whose life is changed by knowing Jesus as lord and savior. My life didn't change. My life didn't change because I wasn't allowing Jesus into all areas of my life. I was only allowing Jesus into one area of my life that was labelled, church.

I am a social person and I enjoy being a member of a church. 
Volunteering regularly, participating in Sunday school, and reading my bible was part of my church life. I wasn't doing any of this because I wanted to serve Jesus. I was doing this because that is what church people do. See what I am getting at? I was receiving the word with joy, but I wasn't growing any spiritual roots.

Here was my temptation, I was a housewife who KNEW she had a problem with alcohol and wanted to quit drinking.

In fact, I was leaving church buoyed up by joyfulness and telling myself I wasn't going to drink anymore alcohol. Happiness filled me from worshipping Jesus from 10:00 to noon. However within a couple of hours after I arrived at home, I found myself reaching for a drink.

I couldn't understand why the feeling I felt at church, Sunday school and bible study wasn't lasting after I reached home. 

I had no idea that the problem was that I didn't have spiritual roots. My faith wasn't rooted in Jesus. My faith was an emotional faith that was rooted in being a church member, rather than a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Today, I no longer have an emotional faith that has no spiritual roots.
During my recovery from alcohol,  I learned how to let go of living my life my way and let God take control of my life. Jesus is with me all day long, everywhere I go. He is driving the car  and I am riding in the backseat.

Church isn't a building and activities.
Church is being a member of the body of Christ. Now joy fills my heart and floods me from the inside out because I am a disciple of Jesus who is willing to share what Jesus has done for me where ever he leads me.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Satan the Deceiver

The Dragon, or Satan  
Satan is a leader who prefers to use his own wisdom in achieving his goals and believes he needs no one. His rebellion against his creator shows the full extent of his self-will.

Satan is willing to say or do anything in order to have his way. 
He befriends people and uses power, money, and material things to achieve his goals. He appears to be a wise counselor who wants only the best for his friends, but in reality he is only interested in creating death, destruction, and famine. 

We are living in a spiritual battleground. 
For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world. Let us not be deceived. Satan is powerful as the “god of this age” BUT disciples of Jesus Christ need not cower before him in fear, BECAUSE “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)

from the short bible lesson, "Superhero Discipleship" by Sallee Bonham

Monday, August 21, 2017

Jesus, Sun of Righteousness - Matthew 27:45

Today, Bill and I stood in darkness for about two minutes.
All was still. No vehicles were heard. Tree frogs and insects could be heard as the dusk to dawn light came on. As we stood in total darkness at 1:15 P.M., we wondered if this is what it was like the day Jesus was crucified.

Matthew wrote that the land was in darkness from noon until three.
It wasn't an eclipse that day because Jesus was crucified during the full moon. However, other writers than the biblical ones also recorded that a supernatural darkness occurred on the day Jesus was crucified.
The only cause of this was the interposing power of God - furnishing testimony to the dignity of the sufferer, and causing the elements to sympathize with the pains of his dying Son. 
It was also especially proper to furnish this testimony when the "Sun of righteousness"was withdrawing his beams for a time, and the Redeemer of men was expiring.
A thick darkness, shutting out the light of day, and clothing every object with the gloom of midnight, was the appropriate drapery with which the world should be clad when the Son of God expired. 
This darkness was noticed by one at least of the pagan writers. Phlegon, a Roman astronomer, speaking of the 14th year of the reign of Tiberius, which is supposed to be that in which our Saviour died, says "that the greatest eclipse of the sun that was ever known happened then, for the day was so turned into night that the stars appeared. 
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Rescued and Redeemed - Psalm 105:28

Psalm 105 was speaking of the plague that God sent so the Egyptian pharaoh would release the Israelites from bondage. 

Matthew Henry wrote this about Psalm 105:24-45:

As the believer commonly thrives best in his soul when under the cross; so the church also flourishes most in true holiness, and increases in number, while under persecution. 
  • Yet instruments shall be raised up for their deliverance, and plagues may be expected by persecutors. 
  • And see the special care God took of his people in the wilderness. 
All the benefits bestowed on Israel as a nation, were shadows of spiritual blessings with which we are blessed in Christ Jesus. 
  • Having redeemed us with his blood, restored our souls to holiness, and set us at liberty from Satan's bondage, he guides and guards us all the way. 
  • He satisfies our souls with the bread of heaven, and the water of life from the Rock of salvation, and will bring us safely to heaven. 
  • He redeems his servants from all iniquity, and purifies them unto himself, to be a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Adapted from Matthew Henry's Concise Bible Commentary

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Nothing to Prove

Matt. 4:3-4 and Deut. 8:3 The tempter came to him and said," If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' " Satan wanted Jesus to prove he was the Son of God by doing a miracle. Jesus wasn't about to do anything for Satan! Instead he answered the request with scripture from Deuteronomy 8:3. Remember, you do not have to show people you belong to the God. You just need to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. For me, every word from the mouth of God means my Bible. I need to live a bible-based life.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Give and Receive Comfort - 2 Corinthians 3-4

Photo by Sallee Bonham April 2017
As a self-centered addict,
I had to learn to reach out to others and work the steps of recovery with them in order to maintain my own sobriety.
One of the helpful recovery sayings that stresses the need to focus on others is:
"You have to give it away to keep it."
In my walk with Jesus I can also apply this spiritual axiom to comfort.
Here is an example of how I can give away the comfort that I received from God. As a new widow, I was given comfort from the Lord in the form of people, bible lessons, and personal revelations from studying my Bible.

Today, I can use those experiences and give comfort to another new widow because I truly know what it is like to lose your spouse. It doesn't matter how terrible my trouble was or is, I can take the comfort that I am given and give it to others who need the same comfort that I have received.

Power and Strength is Yours - Psalm 68:35

Troubles? God Will Help You
No matter what trials or struggles you are going through,God will give you the power and strength you need because of Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross. Through Jesus, you will be given the same power and strength that Jesus received from God. 

However, there are three things that you should do as one of his people. 
  1. Give God the glory for all that you do - praise him and tell others what he has done for you. 
  2. Humbly thank Him for enabling you to do all things - thank Him for giving you the power and strength that you need to make it through your trouble, trial, or struggle. 
  3. Accept the work of God's hands in you - be willing to be shaped and molded according to God's plan. 
To sum this up, give praise with thanks and be willing to accept the change that God's hands will bring as you face each challenge with his power and strength. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Tears Today, Joy Tomorrow - Psalm 126:5

Try to remember three things when you are struggling with grief, upsetting circumstances, and life:
  1. Suffering saints are often in tears; they share the troubles of human life, and commonly have a greater share than others. 
  2. Weeping must not hinder sowing; we must get good from times of trouble. 
  3. When we mourn for our sins, or suffer for Christ's sake, we are sowing in tears, to reap in joy. 
adapted from Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary

Your Grief will Turn into Joy - John 16:20

Ours isn't a life focused on the world, ours should be a life focused on Jesus Christ. 

Knowing Jesus and being comforted by the Holy Spirit, should turn our grief into joy. Grief is a natural feeling, but it shouldn't take away the joy that believers have in Christ. 
  • The sorrows of the disciples would soon be turned into joy; as those of a mother, at the sight of her infant. 
  • The Holy Spirit would be their Comforter, and neither men nor devils, neither sufferings in life nor in death, would ever deprive them of their joy. 
  • Believers have joy or sorrow, according to their sight of Christ, and the tokens of his presence.
The believer is an heir to joy which no one can take away.     
adapted from Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary

Friday, July 21, 2017

Jesus Felt Grief Too - Matthew 26:38

Jesus' Soul was Deeply Grieved
As Jesus sat in the Garden of Gethsemane, he knew his terrible death was near and he would be leaving the disciples. How did he feel? He felt grief and sadness, just like I felt when my husband died. Knowing that Jesus also felt this soul-deep grief, helped me to feel closer to him. 

Facing the death of a loved one is tough even when you know Jesus. 
I remained with Jesus in the midst of my grief. I read bible verses about the bridegroom, and I read about Jesus' ministry. I may have lost my earthly loved one, but I had a heavenly bridegroom who wanted me to be comforted and gave me a strength I don't have on my own. Jesus was faithful and kept watch with me. 

When I wanted to isolate myself, I didn't. When I needed a hug, I asked close friends and coworkers for one.  At work, I could focus on the job and forget about the grief for a little while. It brought me out of myself and kept some normalcy in my life.  

Then, I started walking three times a week and somewhere during my walking, the deep grief lifted a bit. It wasn't overnight. No, it was a long process. However, by seeking Jesus and walking, I unraveled the blanket of grief that I was wrapped in.

 Grief Has Passed
A blanket of grief wrapped itself softly around me,
gently insulating me from life.
I looked down one day and saw a thread lying upon the blanket.
Slowly I reached out and grasped the thread clumsily.
I wearily pulled on the thinly spun cord,
numbly going through the familiar motion,
not realizing I was unraveling my grief-woven wrap.
A year has passed since I saw you last.
The grief of your passing slowly merged with life’s passion.
My tears dissolved so many fears.

From Chapter 7 - Walking Through Widowhood of Fractured into Faithful: Poetry from the Heart by Sallee Bonham   Available at

Look for the Bright Side - Psalm 42:5

  • There are two sides to the events which occur, and which seem so discouraging to us - a dark side and a bright side. 
  • We are prone to look only at the dark side, to see only what is gloomy and discouraging.
  • Looking only at the dark side, often becomes in a sense voluntary, and we find a melancholy satisfaction in being miserable, and in making ourselves more unhappy, as if we had been wronged, and as if there were a kind of virtue in dejection and gloom. It can be because we are mad at God, or we don't want to accept what has happened.
  • God's beloved children need  to look at the bright side of things; to think of the past mercies of God; to look at the blessings which surround us still; to look to the future. in this world and the next, with hope. 
  • God wants us to come to him, and cast the burden on him. 
  • Every sad and grieving Christian ought to say to his soul, "Why am I in despair?"

Adapted from Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Riding Bikes and Witnessing

Our Trip
Bill and I rode our bikes to West Plains, MO yesterday. It was a wonderful 125 mile ride. We stopped for gas about halfway to West Plains.
Team Bonham Works Together
As I was standing in line for the restroom a woman engaged Bill in conversation saying she would like to buy a motorcycle, but her husband was against it. Bill then directed to conversation to me by saying," This is my wife and she rides her own bike." Bill and I are a tag team.
Do You Know Jesus?
The lady and I chatted for a minute or two and then I asked her if she knows Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. She smiled and said he was a good friend of hers and I said I was happy to hear it because he is amazing to have in your life!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Put God First, One Day at a Time - Matthew 6:33-34

Easy to Worry
Isn't is easy to get caught up in worrying about bills, food, and clothing instead of trusting God to take care of everything? My natural tendency is to be a "worry wart." 

Trusting God to provide for my needs isn't my natural tendency. No, I have had to learn how to do this by focusing on today and today only. 

Replace Worry Thoughts with God Thoughts
Once my focus is on today, then I have to consciously make my thoughts turn to trusting God. I do this with self-talk. Yep, I just kick those worry thoughts right out of my head and replace them with Jesus and God thoughts. 

Here are some examples:
1. Worry Thought - Hmmmm...I wonder if I will be able to buy a new pair of jeans after I pay the bills.
God Thought - I know God will take care of everything I need. He has taken care of everything so far and he is faithful. 
2. Worry Thought - I don't know if I will have enough gas to get to work this week.
God Thought - Lord thank-you for taking care of my needs. I know you will make sure I have enough gas to get to work today and every day. 

Once my focus is on God; worry, stress, and anxiety go away and are replaced with calmness and peace. 

Barnes Notes on the Bible states it this way:
  • But you, who have a knowledge of your Father in heaven; who know that He will provide for your needs, should not be anxious. 
  • Become interested in His favor, and all necessary things will be added to you. 
  • He has control over all things, and He can give you what you need. 
  • He will give you what he deems best for you.                                        
  • Commit your way to God. 
  • God will be the same Father then as today, and will make then, as he does now, proper provision for your wants.
  • Though you will have needs, yet God will provide for them as they occur. 
  • Do not increase the cares of today by borrowing trouble from the future. 
Adapted from Barnes Notes on the Bible

Scripture Prayer
Thank-you Lord for taking care of my needs and smoothing out each trouble that is in my path today. Thank-you Lord for helping me to stay in today and helping me to seek your kingdom and righteousness. Father God, help me to continue seeking your kingdom and righteousness first, not last. Help me to stay focused on today. I ask these things in the mighty name of your Son, Jesus Christ who died on the cross for me and is my Lord and Savior. Amen. 

The Pit of Doubt and Fear - Psalm 40:2-3

Jesus is My Rock 
 My experience with being in a horrible pit of fear and doubt, feet slippery with miry clay, is a distant memory. However, I know that the minute I stop letting Jesus be in charge of my life; I am in danger of slipping back into the pit of doubt and fear that he took me out of. I am glad that he is firmly in charge of my goings, today and every day.

Jesus did indeed put a new song in my mouth.  
I continue to praise Him daily. Today, my worst day is still better than the best day of my pre-Jesus, pit-dwelling life. 

Doubts and fears are a horrible pit and miry clay to many a beloved child of God. 
  • There is power enough in God to help the weakest and grace enough to help the unworthiest of all that trust in him. 
  • The psalmist waited patiently; he continued believing, hoping, and praying. 
  • This verse is applicable to Christ. His agony, in the garden and on the cross, was a horrible pit and miry clay. 
  • Those that wait patiently for God do not wait in vain. 
  • Christ is the Rock on which a child of God can stand fast
  • Where God has given steadfast hope, he expects there should be a steady, regular walk and conduct. 
  • God filled the psalmist with joy, as well as peace in believing and he will do it for all of his children.
  • Multitudes, by faith beholding the sufferings and glory of Christ, have learned to fear the justice and trust in the mercy of God through Him. 
  • Many are the benefits with which we are daily loaded, by the providence and by the grace of God.
Adapted from Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary
Psalm 40:2 Scripture Prayer
Fill in the blank with whatever doubt or fear you see as a pit in your life and pray this prayer to Jesus.
Lord, I need your help. I know you can hear my cry. Lift me up out of the slimy pit of________________that I find myself in. I know you will lift me out of the mud and mire because you are faithful. You will set my feet on a rock so I will have a firm place to stand. Lord Jesus, put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to you. I will praise you Jesus so that all will see how you helped me and be in awe.  Amen.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Stand Firm, Stand Strong

The Sunday sermon had me saying,"Amen" softly to myself. 
Bill heard me and turned his head just enough for me to see his face and smiled at me each time I said it.  Honestly, Jesus was in the house! I could feel the Holy Spirit swell inside me and fill me with joy.

I wish I could convey that moment to you!
Listening  to one of God's called pastors giving a sermon using the Sword of the Spirit and letting the Spirit of God through Jesus Christ be in control is unmistakable. To me, the excitement of the indwelling Holy Spirit being joyful because the gospel is being preached feels like an internal bubble that expands as it is filled with the truth and joy of the Word. Leaving church, I felt light and joyful from worshipping the Lord through his holy word and singing praises to Him. 

Taking Notes
I love immersing myself in the Bible and studying what it says so I take notes during sermons. I carry 3 x 5 index cards and a couple of pens in the pocket of my bible cover so that I can take notes during sermons, or just to write a thought down. Sunday, I used the scripture insert from the bulletin that is provided for taking notes during the sermon. My notes are below. 

Sunday Sermon Notes - July 9, 2017

First, the background information about Paul when he wrote to Ephesus. 
Paul was under arrest and chained to a Roman soldier 24 hours a day when he wrote the Ephesian church. Therefore he used military terms for the spiritual battle that each of us must face alone and together as the body of Christ. 

Our pastor started out with Ephesians 5:21:
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

And then he moved on to Ephesians 6:10-14

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 

Click on the verse number to see the parallel bible versions and commentaries at 

Our pastor emphasized three points from the verses in Ephesians 6:
  • Stand strong in God's might.
  • Stand armored against evil.
  • Stand firm through everything
Standing firm within the body of Christ means to:
  • Trust each other
  • Join and work together
  • Practice discipline and be coordinated
  • Pour love out upon each other and others
  • Pray

Monday, July 10, 2017

Trust God - Psalm 56:3-4

David was not bragging, he does not claim never to be afraid.
  • He saw the imminence of his peril, or danger from the Philistines, and was afraid.
  • He feared, but that fear did not fill the whole area of his mind, for he adds, "I will trust in thee."
It is possible, then, for fear and faith to occupy the mind at the same moment. 
  • We are strange beings, and our experience in the divine life is stranger still. We are often in a twilight, where light and darkness are both present, and it is hard to tell which dominates. 
If I fear man I have only to trust God, and I have the best antidote. 
  • To trust when there is no cause for fear, is but the name of faith, but to be reliant upon God when occasions for alarm are abundant and pressing, is the conquering faith of God's children.
Though the verse is in the form of a resolve, it became a fact in David's life, let us make it so in ours. 
  • Whether the fear arises from without or within, from past, present, or future, from temporals, or spirituals, from men or demons, let us maintain faith, and we shall soon recover courage.
"In God I will praise his word." 
  • Faith brings forth praise. 
  • He who can trust will soon sing praise. 
  • God's promise, when fulfilled, is a great subject for praise.
It is in or through God that we are able to praise. 
  • We praise as well as pray in the Spirit. 
  • Or we may read it - in celebrating the Lord one of the main points for thanksgiving is his revealed will in the Scriptures, and the fidelity with which he keeps his word of promise. 
"In God I have put my trust. I will not fear what flesh can do to me." 
  • Faith exercised, fear is banished, and holy triumph ensues, so that the soul asks, "What can flesh do to me?" 
  • What indeed? He can do me no real injury; all his ill will, spitefulness, or hatred shall be overruled for my good. 
Man is flesh, flesh is grass - Lord, in thy name I defy its utmost wrath. 

adapted from The Treasury of David by Charles H. Spurgeon

How Do I Love Thee Jesus? - Romans 8:38-39

Cloud picture taken at Sertoma Butterfly House, Sioux Falls, SD                 Photo taken by Keren Shafer  7/4/2017

I too am convinced that nothing can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. Jesus is Lord of my life. I love my husband. However, Jesus is my first love and I love Jesus in the same way as the Apostle Paul obviously did. Similarly, my husband loves Jesus first and myself second. This is the way it should be. Jesus is first in both of our lives.

These two verses from Romans have always reminded me of Elizabeth Barret Browning's sonnet:
How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
I believe Elizabeth Barret Browning may have been expressing her love for Jesus as much as she was expressing her love for her husband Robert. After all, she had read the New Testament and was familiar with these two bible verses. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Seek God and God will Speak

Psalm 8:1-4
1 O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth! who have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings have you ordained strength because of your enemies, that you might still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained;
4 What is man, that you are mindful of him? and the son of man, that you visit him?
  • Lord I find you in the sunrise, the sunset, and the passing clouds in the sky.
  • You give your strength to the weakest. I have your strength to still those who stand before me and have ill will.
  • Lord, I find you in all of your creations, from the tiniest flower to the expanse of the night sky full of fireworks.
  • I am so small, yet you are mindful of me. You visit the son of man. You are infinite, yet you pay attention to the smallest of your creations. 
Psalm 19:1-2
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork.
2 Day to day utters speech, and night to night shows knowledge.
  • God will speak to me day and night, through his handiwork that is all around me. The heavens themselves show me the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 6:19
20 For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
  • God owns me because Jesus paid the price on the cross. I will live in a manner which will glorify God in my body and my spirit. All of me belongs to God.
Jeremiah 29:13
13 And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.

  • I have found the Lord because I sought him with all my heart. 
  • Thank-you Lord for speaking to me through your people, creations, the Holy Bible and through the Holy Spirit.