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”



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 Amazon.com


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. lol...lol
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 biblehub.com. 

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.
 1850
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.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Have a Happy and Safe 4th of July 2017!

Father God, as we celebrate the independence of the United States from Great Britain, let us not forget that this country has always been a Christian nation. Thank-you Lord for making this a great and united country.
Amen

Praise the Lord - Psalm 100:4

Great encouragement is given us, in worshipping God, to do it cheerfully.

If, when we strayed like wandering sheep, he has brought us again to his fold, we have indeed abundant cause to bless his name. The matter of praise, and the motives to it, are very important. 

Know what God is to you. 
Know it; consider and apply it, then you will be more close and constant, more inward and serious, in his worship. 
                                                                                                                                                      adapted from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

Worship In The Spirit and Truth - John 4:23-24



23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

Spiritual worship is that where the heart is offered to God, and where we do not depend on external forms for acceptance.                            Barnes Notes on the Bible

Worshiping in the Spirit and in Truth Is:
  • in our spirit, or inwardly in our minds and hearts
  • adoring his majesty
  • revering his power
  • humbled before his purity
  • confiding in his mercy
  • praising him for his benefits
  • loving him for his extraordinary and transcendent love to us
  • being subject to his authority
  • obedient to his will
  • devoted to his glory
  • and striving after a closer union with him
  • and a more full conformity to him. 
And all this is through the enlightening, energizing, and comforting influences of his Spirit, the Holy Spirit.                                                                                    adapted from the Benson Commentary