My First Blog Post

The lies we believe…

What you focus on the longest is what becomes the strongest.

— Pastor John Gray

“You should write books to encourage women.” “Have you ever considered publishing the Bible studies that you have written?” Those are just some the comments that have been made to me in the last number of years. With those and many others I just rolled my eyes or laughed internally. Obviously these people didn’t have any credibility! Because…Mr. Brown knew the truth. After all, he was my 11th grade English teacher. The expert in writing. So when others were prophesying over my life, their words did not hold any weight. However, there was one stranger who came up to me in a conference who got my attention. She told me that God told her to share with me that I needed to write books to encourage others. I had never seen her before. She went on to say that there was something that someone said to me that was in the way of me believing that I could actually do it. How did she know about Mr. Brown?

In the 11th grade, on the second floor of our high school, in the English room at the back of the building, Mr. Brown called me to his desk. Holding one of the papers I had written, he boldly declared to me that I should never take up a career that involved writing because I was no good at it. And it stuck. It was a seed planted that grew over the many years following. And I made sure that I would listen to his advice and I promise you, I foolishly believed every world he said.

We tend to live out what we believe about ourselves. God desperately wanted me to believe differently. Because truthfully, He had put it so heavily on my heart to build up those I knew and didn’t know around me. More than anything, I want people to believe the good about who they are. If I saw someone afraid because of a terminal diagnosis, I wanted to speak God’s words of life, healing, and truth over them. When I saw people shrinking back because of an impossible situation in the natural, I wanted to remind them that God specializes in impossible and to not give up. In doing so, often during my quiet time with God, I would feel like I needed to text someone or call them to encourage them. To give them a special word from God. Or to simply text a prayer to encourage them through a tough time they were going through. It’s like He would unload this special message just from Him…to them. Initially, I thought I was just so easily distracted in my quiet time. It really bothered me that I couldn’t concentrate on the Bible passage I was studying or trying to read. But then I realized that it was because I was spending that time with God that it was there where He was able to communicate those things with me.

A year ago I started doing online Bible reading programs with two different groups. With our reading, we were encouraged to comment on the group chat about how God was speaking to us. I fell in love with this way of going through scripture with others. I would get in the Word and I felt like God was saying so many things to me. So I would share them with the groups. Then it dawned on me one day. I was writing. I was wanting to encourage other women with what God had put on my heart from the reading that day. It’s like God had to trick me into writing so that I wouldn’t realize that I was doing it. I realized I was no longer believing the lie that was spoken over me back in high school. It didn’t matter what Mr. Brown said. If God called me to write and encourage others, He was going to make it happen.

Oddly, this lie was about not being able to write for others. That was one of the ways God wanted to speak through me to encourage others around me. And I have to communicate it through written word in order to share it with you. This isn’t to show you that I have the ability of a scribe. The inability to write just so happens to be a lie that I accepted about myself and lived out. There are many more falsehoods that I have believed. What lies do you believe about yourself? Are you living out that fabrication because it has become a deeply entrenched belief system? My hope is that as we spend time together, you will discover that you have been brilliantly created to do amazing things that will impact the world and people around you. That you will believe it. I’m excited that together, we will work to reach our fullest potential. Maybe you are starting from a pretty dark place. Perhaps you are letting life happen to you instead of living it on purpose. Or possibly you are already running the race that God has called you too. Regardless, I look forward to inspiring and encouraging you to be all that God created you to be. And I know He made you pretty incredible. So thanks for joining me. Let’s become who we were designed to be and go make a difference in the world around us. Let’s make sure we are listening to the right voices. To life giving truths about who we are.

You may not want to give any more weight or attention to some of the words you have been listening to. So when you believe something about yourself, I simply ask you today…”Who told you that?”

Some…or ALL?

“I can do SOME things through Christ who gives me strength.” declared the pastor from the pulpit.

The twisted  version of the verse caught my attention a number of years ago while sitting in a church service.  The majority of us knew that was not the way Philippians 4:13 went.  The congregation was quick to respond in disagreement along with a little chuckle.

After the short pause that allowed us to reflect on what had been said, the pastor proceeded with a question…”but isn’t that how we live it?”

Busted!!  I had grown up in a Christian home all of my life.  Growing up I memorized many passages and verses in the Bible.  I had heard all of the stories, attended Bible College, worked at Bible camp, sang all of the worship songs, belted the alto harmony in the church choir, led Bible studies and Christian clubs.

Yet, I did not live my life as “ I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength.”  I wasn’t rebelling.  So I thought.  But I had to say that I wasn’t really believing either.  

Sadly, what dictated my belief system over the truth from the Bible was my circumstances and experiences. Live long enough and there are enough of those situations to create a theology that does not line up with what God says in the Word.  So what is the purpose of the Word of God if it doesn’t trump life’s issues or influence decisions that needed to be made.  Is it a book just filled with “nice” stories?

That Sunday morning jolted me into reading my Bible through a new lens.  What other passages did I “know well” but didn’t live as if they applied to my life?  

What was I going to do with verses like…

“God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7?

If He has not given me that fear, why would I accept it as if it was my lot in life?  What would cause me to live like I have to consent to, make room for, or own fear?  God is telling me there is a way out of fear.  The answer was in those very pages and in the finished work on the cross.

Do I believe it?  Do I react in faith, trusting God to be true to His promises?

“The Word of God is alive and powerful.  It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow.  It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”  Hebrews 4:12

The Word of God IS relevant for today.  It is accomplishing and achieving.  My circumstances do not change the truth in the Word.  But…the Word can and will alter the experiences in my life or how I respond to them.  It brings healing, encouragement, comfort, protection, wisdom, peace, joy, courage, boldness, and so much more.  Do I know it?  Do I believe it?  Does how I speak or live line up with the truth in God’s Word?

On my mirror above the sink in my bathroom, I have written Psalm 119:5 –

“Oh that my life would consistently reflect your Word.”  

It was my verse of the year many years back. After 365 days I did not feel like I had mastered it and was convinced it would be my lifelong journey. That is my desire. I want to live my life as a reflection of God’s Word not as a victim to my circumstances. It will take knowing and believing the power made available in the Word of God. But…

“I CAN do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

God Help Us

Father God,

We love you and humbly come to you as your children.  Thank you that we can boldly approach your throne where your river of mercy flows out towards us.  Thank you for your grace, love, forgiveness, and compassion.

Father we are in a time globally that has caused such fear, uncertainty, division, anxiety, loss of loved ones, loss of income, loss of hope, loss of physical connection with each other, loss of ability to meet together as the body of Christ.  There has been so much opportunity in this isolation to listen to the lies of the enemy that only rob us of our hope, strength, courage, and more.

Today we come before you.  We ask that you forgive us where we have been petty, seeking the wrong things, causing division amongst your children, and walking in unforgiveness towards others.  Father, you are softening our hearts and asking us to turn our posture towards you, and you alone.  Your way is one of love, compassion, forgiveness, generosity, community, worship, healing, encouragement, joy, and peace.

I pray for the global crisis going on with Covid and the effects because of either the disease or decisions made due to it.  I pray in the mighty name of Jesus against the plans and schemes of the enemy to cause your creation harm.  Father, in Jesus name, I pray that every deceiving and lying spirit be brought into the light, fully exposed, and become completely ineffective.  I pray that blinds would be removed from our eyes and that the spirit of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and revelation would follow your children wherever they go.

I pray that we walk in the boldness, wisdom, confidence, and courage that Joshua, Caleb, Daniel, David, Joseph, Esther, Paul, and more did.  That we would not be swayed by circumstances, but instead stand firm on your truth.  Looking only to you for guidance, healing, and provision.

Father I lift up our brothers and sisters who have lost loved ones in the middle of all of this and have not been able to be at their bedside or have a normal good bye.  Heal their hearts.  Encourage them.  I pray for those who cannot hold the hands of their loved ones who are in the hospitals or hug their families because of this isolation or distance that does not allow them to cross borders.  Encourage them.  Restore hope.  You created our bodies to need touch and to see each other’s faces.  Father, do the supernatural, and be more than enough to make up for that. I pray for a speedy reuniting and ability to embrace each other as you intended for us to do.

I pray for our President, Vice President, judges, governors, physicians, and others in authority.  God that they have the boldness, courage, wisdom, and integrity to do what is right and deliver message of hope and peace to the people.  I pray that you will bring confusion and chaos to the enemies plans.  That those plans will be easily identifiable and dismantled – never to be seen again.   I pray that you shut down media that instills fear and lies and instead raise up people in those industries that want to bring truth and encouragement to the people.  As David prayed in the Psalms many times, I declare you will shut lying lips.

Father, you say that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  So I stand on it boldly today and declare that your Word is truth.  That we can rise up and be a modern day Joshua, Daniel, or Jehosaphat.  We stand bold and courageous.  Unmoved by the enemies schemes but in awe of what you will do on our behalf.  As your obedient children, we do not operate in the world’s economy, but instead, we operate in your economy.  You are our provider, source, healer, protector. 

 We thank you that you are a shield around us and that no weapon formed against your people will prosper.  We dwell in the shelter of the Most High and find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  Though a thousand fall at our side, though ten thousand are dying around us, these evils will not touch us.  We do not fear the terror of the night nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the disease that stalks in the darkness.  Your Word says that the Lord is our refuge and we make your Most High our dwelling.  No evil will conquer us and no plague will come near our home.  For he orders his angels to protect us wherever we go.  Thank you Jesus for that.

Father, we ask that you supply all of our needs according to your glorious riches.  You say as your children we will not lack what we need.  Encourage those who need a source of income.  I pray that you will provide above and beyond anything they could ask hope or imagine for.  And that the world will look at them and know that the hand of God is on them and takes care of His children.  That your supernatural provision will bring people in awe of you and to their knees.

Father, we confess where we have been so divided and at odds with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Forgive us.  When we pray united and in agreement, there is power.  You said in Genesis at the tower of Babel, when we pray and speak with the same language, there is nothing that can be withheld from us.  Though their purpose was to be god, our purpose in our prayer is to bring healing to our world, to your people.  May we stand united on your truth and your Word, and be determined to do your will, not our own.  May we unite in prayer with one heart and purpose.  Yours.   May we do a better job looking out for the homeless, hungry, poor, those caught up in bondage or slavery, the oppressed, the downtrodden.  May we be obedient to your Word and not our own selfish desires.

Father, I pray for my brothers and sisters in the Lord, that you would remove depression, anxiety, fear, false beliefs, sickness, discouragement, bitterness, and resentment.  Replace it with your love, joy, peace, courage, hope, wisdom, healing, protection, creativity, favor, comfort, and new zeal, provision, outrageous generosity, and deep desire and obedience to spend time with you.  Speak to us through your Word, in dreams, visions, prophecy.  May we hear only your voice as we look to you alone.

I pray you would bring unity, healing, joy, and peace into homes and marriages.  I pray against pornography and any other kind of evil pleasure that is flowing into so many homes to captive audiences and I speak that you cut off that source in Jesus name.  May we instead diligently teach our children your Word.  May we love and honor our spouses as you intended.  May we fill our homes with worship music, your Word, your truth. May we be a light in our communities.  That people will be drawn to us because of the Hope that is on the inside of us.  May they desire what we have and find that you are the only way.

Thank you that you are bringing what’s hiding in the dark into the light.  You are the solution. Thank you that we are going to see you do what only God can do.  Thank you that you still do miracles today.  Thank you that you are encouraging our hearts and drawing us closer to you.  Thank you that greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.  Our God is bigger.  He is a miracle worker.  He is our healer.  He is our vindicator.  He is our provider.  He is our hope.  He is our joy.  He is our protector.  He is our creator and God.

And Father I pray, that those who do not know you, will come to know you as their Lord and Savior.  May they come to know the loving Father, healer, protector, and provider that you are.

Just as you rescued your children throughout the Word, we thank you that we will see it again.  In Jesus Mighty Name.


After the Lockdown, Will I Look Spiritually Plump or Emaciated?

Can I let you in on a secret?  On Easter morning when everyone was texting “He is Risen!”,  I was having to force some enthusiasm when texting back “He has risen indeed.”  I did not wake up excited to yet again, turn on a screen and watch a sermon online.  I certainly was not interested in this way of  life continuing on as is.

During this lockdown time, it has been disheartening for me to watch so many fearful reactions of people. While there have been some people realistically in the frontline facing this virus, it has been the minority here in my community.  I see some individuals driving alone in their cars with masks on.  It is not uncommon on a walk to see people hold their breath as they avoid you and cut through the grass off the path when going by. Many have forgotten how to smile or have conversations.  It is almost like they will catch this virus if they do either.  People look upset if you get too close in the store.   

I’m just ecstatic when someone at HEB is wanting to have a conversation.  Please!  Someone talk to me.

Our world was in a crisis before Covid-19.  Suicide rates were on a rise.  Teens were dealing with incredible issues of depression, self-worth, insecurity, and belonging.  Phones screens had become their dominant companion instead of good old fashion face to face conversation and interaction.  And really, who are we kidding?  Many adults were struggling with those same issues.

Needless to say, I was having a bit of a bad attitude Resurrection Sunday.  I did not appreciate this new norm at all.  Isolating people in a time when we were already having to fight to help people connect just seemed like going in the wrong direction…fast.  The devil loves isolation.

Thankfully, God got my attention the next morning in my “unhurried” devotion time.  He made it clear that I had the wrong perspective.  You see, one of my pet peeves is a very common response you get when you ask people how they are doing.  The reply I would get before the lockdown was frequently “I’m soooo busy.”  To me that’s code for a few things…well, we all have our interpretation of what that phrase may mean.  Were those the excuses we were also giving God before this lockdown when He would ask to spend time with us?  So many people talked about how depleted and exhausted they were because of the insanely full schedules that we maintained prior to being forced to stop.

When life is hectic and our schedules are full, our time with God tends to be more like snacking.  That may be part of why the spiritual condition of America was struggling so much.  Our lack of really taking in the nourishment of time in the Word and with God has led to us being spiritually anorexic and malnourished.   It is really no surprise that this has led to a lack of strength, stamina, and faith when faced with challenges.  How can we be strong in our faith, believing God’s promises and who we are in Christ, if we just snack on His Word?

God quickly pointed out that one of the things that I could be very thankful for during this lockdown is unhurried time with Him.  There is no excuse to not spend time in the Word and in prayer.   To feast in His presence, not snack and run.   It’s true.  Where do I really need to rush off  to these days?  We have the opportunity to take in full meals in His presence and to let him speak to us because we have the opportunity to be still.  That’s a new concept in some ways for me.  While I feel I am in constant prayer and in the Word as I normally run around in my days, this being still before Him to really listen to and let Him minister to me is a bit of a new but peaceful experience.  I have learned to be grateful for that.  

There are many days now where I get to the end of my quiet time and there isn’t anything on my calendar that I have to run off to.  I am not required to cut off that communion with my Heavenly Father.  One thing I will be very disappointed in at the end of this lockdown is if I come out looking spiritually emaciated.  Oddly, it still takes discipline and an intentional spirit though.

While I am not crazy with what Covid-19 has done to society in creating fear and isolation, I am now so very thankful for the gift of more time to spend with God.  It is only in these now unhurried moments with Him where we can fatten up on heavenly peace, joy, faith, wisdom, provision, healing, and protection.  This is a fantastic time to allow Him to fully equip us to further walk out His purpose in our lives.  

So let’s put our clocks, social media, and news feeds away, and pull up to His banquet table and start feasting on full meals in His presence.  No more snacking.  Let’s come out of this most unusual time well nourished, rested, healed up, restored, and refreshed because of unhurried time with Jesus, our Savior.

Now excuse me.  I need to go and “eat”.

I’m Sorry

Surrounded by thousands of others, I was excited and ready to enter into a time of passionate praise and worship.  This was my place where I could connect with God, where I heard from Him, where I would lose myself in His presence.  This is where healing, peace, encouragement,  and revelation took place.  I live for this time in my week and nothing makes me feel closer to God than when I am lost in song to Him.  As the music began, I told God I was excited to be with Him and get a special Word.

As quickly as I had communicated that, I heard His voice in my head saying, “Bonnie, I’m glad you want to have unhindered time with me, but in order to have that freedom, you first need to get on your knees before your husband and apologize to him for the lack of respect and honor that you have been showing him.”

Perhaps the music was too loud and I didn’t hear correctly.  I thought that maybe I would check in with God a little later after the “what now seemed like noise” stopped.  Had God cut me off?

Turns out God was still saying the same thing once the music stopped.  Of course there was a list of excuses that I wanted to give God for why I was acting the way I was.  Finger pointing is so easy to do.  I’m convinced the devil gives us a million lies to believe as to why the other person is the instigator or guilty party.  And when we fall for that deception, pride and stubbornness finds a way to settle in and make itself at home.

Truth be told, I crave open communion in worship with God, and I don’t want to be cut off from His blessings or our intimate time together.

“The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.  You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”  Psalm 51:17

We got home from church and in our bathroom, I humbled myself, got on my knees, and apologized to Glenn for the way I had treated him.  No excuses or blame.  No matter what, I was responsible for my behavior and actions.  Why on my knees you may ask?  For my tendency to be a domineering or strong personality, I needed to be in a humble position.  I was to ask nothing in return.

In my filing cabinet of sermon notes, I can’t seem to find too many on the need to say sorry to others.  We have a lot of messages on having to forgive and let go of offense, which is so necessary.  At the same time then, the focus is strongly on how others are committing the offense, which excuses us from any responsibility.

It just so happens that there is a pretty popular character in scripture that learned the price of sin and an unrepentant heart.  I love Psalm 51 which was written by David after having to be confronted by Nathan. Nathan pointed out David’s unconfessed sin which he was carrying around from his affair with Bathsheba and from murdering her husband Uriah.  Yes David.  The man after God’s own heart was very guilty.

In Psalm 51 though, it talks about his broken relationship with God because of his unconfessed sin.  David gives us a window into his heart and soul and the place he was in during this dark time.  He felt stained, shame, guilt, broken, that his joy was gone, and that he had been removed from the presence of God and the Holy Spirit (vs. 1, 2, 8, 9, 11). 

What I love about David is that he was not proud and arrogant when Nathan approached him.  He immediately humbled himself.  Why he could not figure out the reason for his dark place before that I have no clue.  Adultery and murder seem to be pretty obvious offenses.  

Sometimes our sin seems to be less obvious.  Or maybe again we are looking at the other person being the one at fault.  How often though,  have we provoked the behavior or treatment that we are receiving from another and then turned it on them?

Regardless of our responses, once confronted, David was very quick to repent.  I absolutely love the worship song that was created out of the confession of his heart in verses 10-12.  

“Create in me a clean heart, O God.  Renew a loyal spirit within me.  Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and make me willing to obey you.”  Psalm 51:10-12

When I personally am in turmoil and feeling upset with someone else, I will sing these words over and over again until I have allowed God to soften my heart and point out where I may be at fault.  Sometimes I have had to walk for miles in stubbornness, singing it on repeat before my posture has been corrected to one of humility and repentance.

I may have been that child that my parents needed to consistently make apologize to others for wrongdoings.  So perhaps by default, apologizing is now part of my DNA.  But I desperately want that open relationship with God and others.  The inability to confess when I am wrong gets in the way of that very quickly.  

2 Timothy 2:8 makes it clear that controversy, wrath, dissension, and strife are not what He desires in our lives when we come to worship.

“In every place of worship I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.” 2 Timothy 2:8

I don’t know about you, but when I am in a “space” that may not resemble a renewed mind or perhaps a right spirit towards someone else, I find it hard to raise my hands in worship.  There is that unconfessed sin that needs to be taken care of.  It may be just my attitude or it may be  brokenness with another that I need to go and make right.

Let me tell you, at that moment, you are not to just think and pray on it.  You need to RUN to that confession.  Make it right so that you can experience the fullness of joy and blessings that God wants to shower on you.  There are so many benefits to confession or saying “I’m sorry.”

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”  James 5:16

That moment on the bathroom floor apologizing to Glenn was the start of healing that needed to happen in our relationship.  Beautiful things started to take place in the days that followed.  I promise you that was absolutely not the last time I needed to say sorry.  Unfortunately, or maybe not so unfortunately, if you are in a relationship with me, you will have had to hear me say those very words to you.

Freedom in my relationship with God means everything to me.   Who might you need to say sorry to today?  It is a humbling but freeing experience.

“The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.  You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”   Psalm 51:17

Psalm 91 – My Declaration

Just another reason why we can walk in peace and confidence when there is so much unrest around us. Of one thing I am sure…I can trust God and His Word. This is the unshakeable truth that I focus on.

My Psalm 91 Declaration (With the use of NLT)

Because I live in the shelter of the Most High, I will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  This I declare about the Lord:  He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;  he is my God, and I trust him.

For He will rescue me from every trap and protect me from deadly disease.  He will cover me with his feathers.  He will shelter me with his wings.  His faithful promises are my armor and protection.

I am not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day.  I do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.

Though a thousand fall at my side, though ten thousand are dying around me, these evils will not touch me.  I just open my eyes, and see how the wicked are punished.

Because I make the Lord my refuge, because I make the Most High my shelter, no evil will conquer me;  no plague will come near my home.

For he will order his angels to protect me wherever I go.  They will hold me up with their hands so I won’t even hurt my foot on a stone.

I will trample upon lions and cobras;  I will crush fierce lions and serpents under my feet!

The Lord says, “He will rescue me because I love Him.   He will protect me because I trust in His name.  When I call on Him, He will answer;  He will be with me in trouble.  He will rescue and honor me.

He will reward me with a long life and give me His salvation.”

To Forgive Or Not To Forgive… That Is The Question

“Am I God, that I can punish you?  You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.  He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”  Genesis 50:19-20

What drives me to be involved in the fight against human trafficking is probably a deeply rooted and strong sense of justice.  Well, at least that is what I thought.  I was in a passionate discussion with my niece about wanting to see wrongs righted when she said… 

“I don’t like to say I have a strong sense of justice because it sounds like someone has to pay.  I like to say I have a high moral compass.”  

I was suddenly and unusually silenced…It’s always a bit humbling when someone less than half your age has a more mature perspective on hard situations.  Don’t get me wrong, I do think that traffickers and buyers need to pay.  Not today’s blog focus though.

This may seem like a brave topic right after Easter weekend where we had a big emphasis on the forgiveness that was extended to us by Jesus Christ  taking our place where we rightfully should have paid for our own wrongdoings.  I am far from a theological expert.

Truthfully, I do not necessarily equate a strong sense of justice as lack of forgiveness though.  But there are times where acting on it may seem graceless or merciless.  That can be a discussion for another day as well.

My attention is brought to the topic of forgiveness here because I have been reading the story of Joseph in Genesis this last week.  Here is a guy who was hated by his jealous brothers, almost savagely killed by them, and unfairly sold by them into slavery.  He had a whole lot of other situations that were extremely unjust but we never read about him being bitter, discouraged, or giving up.  He had plenty of time and opportunity to be offended and come up with a revengeful strategy.  

However, we see NOTHING that resembles resentment or an offended spirit when we read about the story of Joseph.  In fact, it is actually convincing that he has all along either known or been able to trust God with his circumstances.

“So it was God who sent me here, not you!”  Genesis 45:8

Who says or thinks that?!? It would take a person with incredible character and faith in God to truly believe that statement after all that he went through.  I am fascinated by him and the fact that he got it.  He couldn’t see God, but he most definitely had a special and trusting relationship with him.  

His ability to walk in complete forgiveness allowed him to be highly favored, clear headed, trust with and given authority over a whole Kingdom, have supernatural wisdom, develop leadership skills, and love unconditionally.

Joseph’s humility and ability to forgive challenges me to want to be more like him.  How incredible it would be to completely trust God with every opportunity where I am given to walk in offense.  I desire the wisdom, leadership ability, favor, and ability to love that Joseph genuinely lived out.  When I am convinced that God has a plan that is good, it will be easier for me to also say…

“Am I God, that I can punish you?  You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.  He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”  Genesis 50:19-20

What voice am I going to listen to?  The one that wants me to hold onto unforgiveness and make someone pay (which in the end will be me) or the one of my Heavenly Father who asks me to trust Him and forgive those who have wronged me – just as He has forgiven me.  I certainly am not deserving of His forgiveness. 

The choice is mine.  To forgive or not to forgive…that is the question.

Who Told You That?…about THEM

I was beside myself!!  I could not believe it!  He had been good friends with her.  The two had spent quality time together and shared moments of vulnerability, pain, and laughter.  And here in an instant, two other work colleagues deceivingly convinced him that she was using him to get a promotion that she wanted at the hospital.  Without asking her or standing on what he knew from their relationship, he chose to believe them, and quickly dismissed who had been his trusted friend.  And just as fast, she stumbled off stunned and wounded.  I was nothing less than infuriated as I witnessed the scenario actually play out in front of my very own eyes.

Ok, I sheepishly admit, my family and I were watching a Hallmark movie last night.  I was all in, gloves on, dialoguing with the TV screen in the last moments of this romance.  What makes me even more upset is that she still went back to him.  He could not have groveled enough for me to pardon what had just happened (alright, maybe that is a blog post on forgiveness and grace for another time).

The purpose behind the Who Told You That? blog was to challenge false thinking about ourselves, OTHERS, and God.  We probably have all felt the sting of pain from a failed friendship or relationship that died due to lies told about us or misunderstanding.  I will always be baffled at how some people are able to believe others over the history and track record of a solid relationship.  We see it in families, friendships, churches, work groups, etc.  Ok, well basically anywhere human beings congregate.  

Let me emphasize that I am talking about lies – not truth.  Because with certainty, I do hurt those I love around me.  If I am  in a relationship with someone for more than a day, I will have an opportunity to say sorry and have to make things right.  (Just refer back to my previous post on “Me and My Big Mouth” for further details).  

I’m a big believer in “Love rejoices when the truth wins out.” 1 Corinthians 13:6 NLT.  As I want people in my world to never have to wonder about where we stand in our relationship, I have made some personal rules that I live by:

  1. What I believe about others will be based on my experience with them or what God says about them.  NOT what someone else says.   I stand firm on that
  2. If I hear something contradictory to what I know about someone close and have cause for concern, I will either dismiss the comment completely or approach the close friend about it…if necessary.
  3. Regardless of whether what is said is true or not, I need to choose to walk in love and forgiveness as Christ has instructed me to (yes, this is sometimes a continual commitment that I have to make).
  4. I will not avoid a person because of what someone else said about them.
  5. I have to ask myself why a person would feel they could share something with me that is trying to create division in another relationship I have.  Especially if they are not willing or aiming to see this relationship healed, saved, or mended.  Whose character should actually be questioned?
  6. Reconciliation is always the goal and it may mean I need to apologize for something.
  7. Situations are often not as they appear through my wounded, exhausted, or any other filter that I may perceive them through.  If it appears negative, I need to challenge my perception.
  8. I will not be a person who speaks that lie about another person.  God help me.

I just want you to know that I think you are great!  You should be happy to know that no one could convince me otherwise.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else…Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense.   Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong.  Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others.

I Will Not Fear

2 Timothy 1:7

 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Deuteronomy 31:6 AMP

“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble in dread before them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.”

Isaiah 41:10 TPT

Do not yield to fear, for I am always near.  Never turn your gaze from me,[a] for I am your faithful God. I will infuse you with my strength and help you in every situation. I will hold you firmly with my victorious right hand.’

Psalm 56:3 TPT

But in the day that I’m afraid, I lay all my fears before you and trust in you with all my heart.

Philippians 4:6-7 MSG

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

I Will Lie Down In Peace and Sleep

In times where fear has attempted to put it’s grip on a member of our family, especially at night, we have often gone back to the story of David.  It is quite remarkable that while enemy soldiers were outside, he was able to peacefully fall asleep in a cave.  David fully trusted his faithful God to look after him.  My prayer is that these 5 verses, and others that you find, give you a peace tonight that allows you to fall into a deep and restful sleep. While there is chaos and uncertainty in the world around us, we can cast all of our cares on our God who is ready to give us a peace that passes all understanding.  Sweet dreams.

Psalm 4:8 NLT

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.

John 14:7 AMP

 Peace I leave with you; My[perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]

Matthew 11:28-30 NLT

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Psalm 29:11 NLT

The Lord gives his people strength.  The Lord blesses them with peace.

Proverbs 3:24 NLT

You can go to bed without fear;  you will lie down and sleep soundly.

A Funk Interrupted

I was in a bit of a funk as I sat down to blog today.  In these Covid-19 days that seem to repeat like in the Groundhog Day movie, I have to be intentional about purposefully being productive.  However, an hour earlier I had come out of a conversation that presented a problem that seemed to have no agreeable solution.  I was struggling with it as it was trying very hard to steal my peace.  

How can I write when my mind isn’t clear?  Actually, I don’t do many things well in these states of mind.  I thought I would sit down and read my Bible before tackling my blog entry for the day.

I wasn’t even playing Russian Roulette with the Word, as sometimes I do when I have no plan as to where I want to read.  But as my Bible fell open unguided, there it was, Isaiah 8:11-17 (NLT).  A passage filled with prophetic encouragement for you and me.  I couldn’t help but park there and read it over a few times.  It was as if God had a special Word for this time where our new social norm, isolation, and rules can so easily lead to worry, fear, frustration, and restlessness.

“The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does.  He said, ‘Don’t call everything a conspiracy like they do, and don’t live in dread of what frightens them.  Make the Lord  of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life.  He is the One who you should fear.  He is the one who should make you tremble.  He will keep you safe.’  So…I will wait for the Lord.  I will put my hope in Him.”

In times of earthly uncertainty like we are in, there is no shortage of people in the news, hospitals, politics, schools, churches, and communities telling is how we should feel and respond.  And the temptation is to fear.

We have a choice in what and who we will believe.  When fear and unrest are knocking at the door, don’t answer.  Instead, let’s send God and His unshakeable, life changing, miracle working, lie destroying, accomplishing, achieving, undeniable, peace-giving, healing, mountain moving, historically proven, accurate, protecting, wisdom giving, rest inducing, relationship restoring, WORD to answer that knock.

Just as Jesus did when He was tempted in the wilderness by the lying, deceiving, fearing provoking, devil, our answer can confidently and boldly be…


“No weapon formed against me (my health, my family, my peace, my home, my finances, my relationships) will prosper.  That is a benefit enjoyed by me, a servant of the Lord.  The Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 54;17


“Because I dwell in the shelter of the Most High, I WILL find rest in the Shadow of the Almighty…This I declare of the Lord.  He ALONE is my refuge, my place of safety.  He is my God and I TRUST HIM.  For He WILL rescue me and my family from every trap and protect us from deadly disease.  His faithful promises ARE my armor and protection.”


“I do not need to be afraid.  Not afraid of terror, disease, or disaster…”


“He orders His angels to protect me wherever I go.”  Psalm 91

It’s possible to keep going with the IT IS WRITTEN promises from the Word.  What are the promises we are standing on during these days?

More than ever, it is also important that we share this incredible HOPE with others.  There will be opportunity for any of us to slip into a funk as we are out of routine and in unusual and for some, very stressful conditions.  We have something so much more powerful in us than any disease, report, lay-off, food shortage, and more.  It is the truth and promises in the Word of God.  We have the answer that shows us how to go from being in a funk to being encouraged and hopeful.  IT IS WRITTEN.  

Love you all.  Praying for courage, peace, provision, health, and renewed hope in these days we are in.

Confessions of a Control Freak

I don’t know why the tears were there today.  I wasn’t really unhappy, just emotional.  My husband, two kids, and I were sitting at the table, having lunch after our 3rd week of watching church online due to Covid-19.  But I was being brought back to a place in my life that I regretted.  While we laughed at these stories from the past, I also was embarrassed that so many of my actions that we were laughing about, had been driven by fear, the unknown, and the feeling of being out of control.  How I wondered what kind of damage I did to my kids and husband because of believing the chaos of my circumstances over trusting the truth in God’s Word.  I don’t ever want to return to that unsettling and extreme state of mind again.  

While my situation more than pales in comparison, I now often think of the story of Jehosaphat when I am in circumstances outside of my control.  The king of Judah and his people were facing an inevitable death in 2 Chronicles 20 (NLT) as they realized 3 merciless armies were coming to devastate them.  It was going to be more than ugly.  But God did the impossible and I believe and am more than certain this is who He is today. 

The story is full of amazing lessons to learn from and apply, now more than ever, as we stare in the face of Covid-19.  This very virus has managed to shut down society and our economy.  So where do we find our peace as we sit in our homes waiting for this “spirit of death” to pass over us?  Explore this hard to imagine account of Jehosaphat with me.

Scripture says that King Jehosaphat was TERRIFIED and BEGGED God for guidance.  Who hasn’t been tempted to be caught up in fear in the last few weeks with all that we read or watch on the news?  But Jehosaphat called the people around and told them to start FASTING as they sought the Lord’s help.

Jehosaphat also acknowledged that God was “POWERFUL AND MIGHTY.  NO ONE COULD STAND AGAINST HIM.” (vs. 6).  He brought up accounts from the past where God had done the miraculous for His children.  What a great prompt for us, to get in the Word and remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness to the generations that have gone before us.

The people’s posture was completely toward God in this impossible situation.  They said, “Whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war, PLAGUE, or famine, we can come to stand in your presence before this Temple where your name is honored.  We can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear us and rescue us.” (vs. 9)

“We are powerless against this army that is about to attack us.  We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.” (vs. 12) Where do I look for truth, peace, answers, and comfort in the middle of confusion, quarantines, people losing jobs, isolation, empty shelves in the grocery store, financial markets collapsing, and widespread fear in the news of the potential of sickness and death touching us and our loved ones? Jehosaphat pointed his people to the One they were looking to for help.  He pointed them to God, our creator, savior, protector, deliverer.

At that point, the Spirit of the Lord came upon one of the men standing there.  He had a special word from God.  One that stands for you and me today as well.

Do not be afraid!  Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.  Tomorrow march out against them…But you will not even need to fight.  Take your positions; then STAND STILL and WATCH the LORD’S VICTORY.  He IS WITH YOU.  DO NOT BE AFRAID OR DISCOURAGED.” (vs. 15-17)

Then they did what we would benefit from today as well.  They “bowed low with their face to the ground and they worshipped God.” (vs. 18)  Their posture was towards the only One who could save them from sure death.  That continued into the next day as Jehosaphat put singers at the front of the line to continue in praise and worship as they headed toward the battlefield.  Jehosaphat called out “Believe in the Lord your God and you WILL be able to stand firm.  Believe in his prophets and you WILL succeed…At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves.” (vs. 20-22).  Not one of the enemy escaped or survived and Jehosaphat’s people only had to observe the Lord acting on their behalf. “The Lord gave them victory over their enemies and what resulted was PEACE, for his God had given him rest on every side.” (vs. 30)

I can’t help but be excited that we serve that very same God today.  Hebrews 13 says that “He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”  Today in uncertain times, God is the only thing certain and we can more than trust Him in what may seem like an impossible situation.  What an incredible peace that offers us.

Get into the Word to see who our God really is.  His Word is accomplishing, achieving, relevant, peace and life-giving.  It is our hope.  I love the passage in Jeremiah 23:29 where it says,

“Does not my Word burn like fire?’ says the Lord.  ‘Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces?”

Stand on that Word.  There is power, peace, and hope made available to us today.  We can take our economy, retirement savings, businesses, families, health, protection, and more and believe what He says in His Word regarding what is dear to us.  He is faithful. He does the impossible!!

Take a lesson from Jehosaphat.  If you could have a conversation with him today, He would possibly encourage you to do the following regarding the issues that have developed because of Covid-19 or other challenges out of your control that you may be facing:

1.    Seek the Lord – He rewards those who earnestly seek Him…Hebrews 11:6

2.    Fast – remove things of the world so that you can see and hear Him more clearly…Isaiah 58:6-7

3.    Acknowledge who God is in the past and today – He is faithful still…Romans 14:11

4.    Take time to pray and bow low– He will hear you and rescue you…Philippians 4:6

5.    Do not be afraid – Cast your care…Psalm 55:22

6.    Worship God – He is the only one who will see us through this…Deuteronomy 10:21

7.    Believe – Spend time in the Bible so you know what to and who to believe in…Isaiah 40:31

8.    Go out in faith, knowing that the battle is God’s not yours…Hebrews 11:1

I love you and pray with confidence for you in these days of earthly uncertainty. We have a God who loves us and who can be counted on. He is ready to do the impossible for you as He did for Jehosaphat and many others before us. You will not even need to fight. Find your peace in trusting Him today.

Objects In The Mirror May Be Closer Than They Appear

I stood there about to lose it in the middle of a church parking lot.  I was stuck.  I had exhausted all of the obvious solutions in finding a venue for the A21 Walk for Freedom – at least in my limited thinking.  I was stunned that I had not gotten the response from the Christian community that I thought should have been an eager “yes”.  The temptation at that moment was to get upset at the “church”.  However, contradictory to where my thinking was tempted to go, the church, or it’s leaders, were not my enemy.

I’m sure anyone looking my way was wondering who this lady was waving her hands to the sky and talking passionately to herself.  I had said “yes” to God’s call for me to host the A21 Walk for Freedom (which is to bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking).  In the natural, there was no possible way I could get permission or a venue in our community this close to the event date.  I had started too late.

I figured I would knock on church doors after the community association had said all desirable town venues were booked.  I didn’t need the church’s help or money, I just needed their property to start a walk from.  The parking lot where I was having my toddler fit was the perfect location for the event.  The visibility required for the community to become aware of the issue would have been textbook.  

So I decided to have a candid conversation with God.

“God.  I pushed past my fear and gave you my yes.  I’m sure you asked me to do this.  There is no doubt that you want to free captives.  Everywhere I have gone the doors have been closed.  I thought your people would be more than willing to help out.  I assumed this would be an easy open door.  The “obvious” yes in my mind, has instead been a loud and definitive “NO”.  Are you working out the pride in my life?  Then ok.  Let’s work it out.  I know you told me to put on this event.  I am convinced that you called me to it, and I believe you will see me through it.”

At that moment I was at a crossroads where I could choose what I was going to believe.  

  1.  The temptation was to become angry and bitter with the Christian community.  That didn’t sound like a fun option.  God had closed the door, not the church.  The enemy wanted me to blame the church.
  2. I could question my faith.  However, I was too convinced from years of studying and experiences that I was not going to doubt it.
  3. I could trust what the Holy Spirit had made clear to me earlier; that if I wanted to see miracles, I needed to be in a place where everything was out of my control so that I could not take the credit for it.  I had to say yes to what seemed impossible, and believe that He would open the right doors at the right time.

The correct answer was obviously number 3.

I found out that the Holy Spirit is not intimidated by a short haired woman feeling sorry for herself or having a fit on asphalt.  As He listened to my rants of immaturity, He interrupted and told me something quite clearly.

“Bonnie, I didn’t ask you to hold the walk on church property.  I want all religions, political stances, ages, races, and genders to feel welcome.  Human trafficking is no respecter of those groups.  You are thinking too small.”  I understood what was said, but now I was running out of time.  

I’m not sure if you can relate to needing an answer with none in sight.  That is where I was.  At that moment, I thought a good connecting point would possibly be our Interfaith organization that was associated with everyone in the community.  However, I did not have an easy way in.  Little did I know that while the Holy Spirit was asking me to change my direction in thinking, He was working something out that I could not have even imagined or thought up (Ephesians 3:20).  The answer that I needed to make the event happen was closer than it appeared.

A couple of days later, I walked into my hair salon for my appointment.  As I settled into the chair for my monthly pampering, my trusted hairdresser turned me to the mystery customer sitting next to me and let me know that she was the president and CEO of the Interfaith organization in our community. “Bonnie, tell her about the walk that you want to put on.”  

What??  This was exactly who I had needed to meet with, but didn’t know how I would make it happen.  While we sat there in our capes and foils, she eagerly connected me with multiple influential people in the town who could help me out.  At the end of this unanticipated divine appointment, she told me she wished she could be at my event but had her own gala that she was putting on that same day.  It was to raise research money for a rare and incurable disease that her son has.  

That moment was humbling and thought provoking on many levels.

Not only did God unpredictably open doors for me that day, He also introduced me to a unique individual who was incredibly selfless, willing to share her resources, and full of incredible hope in her own very challenging circumstance.  He opened my eyes to see and allowed me to meet a very strong woman who had faith to believe God where there had not been answers.  I was starting to catch on.

A few days earlier I had no idea how God was going to answer my prayer, nor that it would be so soon.  He was asking me to trust Him with this process and not fall for the temptation that my struggles were related to man.  That thinking would have taken me off course – and it always will.  His plan for this event was to serve a much bigger purpose that I was not even aware of at that moment.  That day I realized that the answer to my prayer was indeed closer than it had appeared.  It was important to walk with this new faith I had discovered.  God had put me on an assignment.  I was required to say yes.  He was responsible for the outcome.

Me and My Big Mouth

Maybe I could blame it on cabin fever.  Afterall, it’s always great when you can divert responsibility for your mistakes on something other than yourself.  Unfortunately, there are many times this last week where I wish I had not spoken.  Most of the situations were simply where it showed I had put no thought in what I said and assumed it was “harmless”.  It has not been uncommon for me to hear “mom!  I can’t believe you just said that!” (After all of these years, I’m amused by the fact that my kids are still surprised).  

However, there were a couple of times over the past number of days where I truly regret having said too much.  Whether revealing an area of desperation as a mom that was meant just for God, or thinking I was “motivating” an individual who possibly just needed a listening ear and validation;  I went away from those moments very critical of myself and full of disappointment.

This “social distancing” is a somewhat cruel test for people like myself.  My personality, while I can learn restraint, is one that has a moving mouth attached to it.  I am often amazed at how comments come out of it before I have even thought them.  I used to blame it on being in the medical profession.  Afterall, you see everything there.  Really nothing is a shock and you just say things as they are.  When I have shared “fun” hospital stories with others, I have noticed at times that maybe my audience wasn’t quite ready for what I just communicated.

While it would be great for my ears to dominate, I have learned that loving to be in conversation with others is a big part of how I was created.  I enjoy people and love encouraging friends, family, and strangers alike.  My desire is to infuse loving truth and encouragement into every person that I meet.  I want people to know how valuable and important they are.   

Along with that freedom to connect with everyone around me though, I have also learned that lack of fear of conversation and premeditated words has given me many opportunities to say sorry.  Something I have had to become very comfortable with.

What I have learned over the last number of years is while I will continue putting myself in situations where I am opening my mouth, what is coming out of it is directly correlated to what I have allowed into my mind.  It shows the condition of my heart.  

It was such a strong realization when I noticed that my children did not have peace when I was stressed out focusing on hard circumstances and not surrendering it to God.  There was a distinct moment where I saw fear in their young eyes as they witnessed their mom beside herself, very unsettled.  At that instant, I made a rule for myself; my children did not deserve to be around me unless I had spent time in the morning with God and had at least a somewhat renewed mind.  I owed it to my kids, my husband, and myself, to spend time with God at the very start of each day so that it would be His peace, joy, kindness, and faith (fruit of the Spirit) that would come out of my mouth.  

What comes out of my mouth will depend directly on where I am anchoring my heart, soul, and mind during these uncertain times.

This last week I was really out of routine, as was the rest of the world.  While I was still having my time alone with God in the morning, I was sometimes snacking instead of feasting on what He was saying to me.  The pandemic that we are experiencing has not created a fear in me, but I would say I have definitely been in more conversations, read more articles, and seen more newsfeeds where Covid-19 dominates as opposed to the time in the Word, worship music, or listening to great teaching podcasts in a way that is normal for me.  It’s a challenge to go anywhere (if you can) or talk to someone without it being part of the dialogue.

As I look back over my regrets,  if I want to be the person I desire to be and who I believe God created me to be, I may need to overcompensate in these times.  I will have to spend even more guarded time receiving encouragement in the Word, prayer, worship, teaching online, etc, so that it overflows out of me wherever I go.  It is His thoughts and peace that I want to have come out of my big mouth.  If it is His hope that dominates in my heart and mind, then by all means, let it flow.

I have come to peace with the fact that I was made to enjoy dialogue with others.  What I meditate on and allow in my mind during these days ahead will determine what my part of the conversation will be.  My desire is for others to experience encouragement, peace, hope, healing, and a word from God if they spend time with me.

What’s in my heart, without fail, IS coming out of my mouth.  Since I’m not the quiet type, I’ve learned that in order to be successful, I best not step out until I have renewed my mind in the Word, and prayer at the start of each day.  

Matthew 12:34b in TPT says it in a similar way, “For what has been stored up in your hearts will be heard in the overflow of your words.”

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 NLT

More Verses For Me and My Big Mouth…

Proverbs 17:28 The Passion Translation (TPT)

When even a fool bites his tongue he’s considered wise.  So shut your mouth when you are provoked—it will make you look smart.

Proverbs 10:19 The Passion Translation (TPT)

If you keep talking, it won’t be long before you’re saying something really wrong.  Prove you’re wise from the very start – just bite your tongue and be strong.

Romans 12:2 NLT

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.