Whose Report Will You Believe?

With the issue of the Covid-19 Pandemic going on, the story of Moses and the 12 spies in Numbers 13 and 14 keeps coming to my mind.  The Israelites were being brought from Egypt to the Promise Land.  Here they were.  Pretty much at the door of Canaan, ready to go in.  Moses picked 12 scouts, one from each of the tribes, to go and search out the land and give a report.  All 12 spies saw the very same thing. No one denied anything – there was incredible land and food.  And there were also…GIANTS.  On that the 12 agreed.

10 of the spies went on and on with a negative account that stirred up incredible fear and panic in the people.  2 spies, Joshua and Caleb, did not deny that there were giants, but were convinced that God would help them.  There was confidence and faith in their reaction to the same circumstance.

The spies witnessed the same scenario but perceived it differently.  The response and recommendations that came from the two viewpoints could not have been more opposing.

And as the majority of the people were busy reacting in fear, God looked down from above and asked… “Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them?” (14:18).  The giants existed.  But in reality, the Israelites had come upon even bigger giants in their past and experienced God’s hand of protection, healing, provision, rescue, and more.

Because of the response of Joshua and Caleb versus all of the others, they were the only ones that were allowed to enter into the promised land.  God rewarded their faith, courage, and willingness to stand on the truth.  They believed in the God of the impossible.  They remembered His faithfulness to them over and over again up to this point. 

Currently, I am reminded that I have a choice as to which report I am going to believe in regards to the Coronavirus Pandemic that has appeared to shut down society and our economy.  I have been in many conversations where there is fear and panic at the foundation of belief systems.  Our empty shelves in the grocery stores are a manifestation of what people are feeling within themselves.  How is it that toilette paper is what people are hoarding?  Who’s report was that?  Truthfully though, I do understand that the unknown can be very scary when we don’t place God in our situations.  But what will we gain from fear?

Today, even medical experts do not agree on the details of the Coronavirus.  While I am not an expert on this infectious disease and the earthly seriousness of the issue, I am convinced that our response is to be like that of Joshua and Caleb.  Yes, there is a giant.  But, our God is bigger than the colossus Covid-19.  God is a God of peace, order, provision, healing, protection, and more. He is faithful.  He is the same as He was back then.  And He will continue to be faithful.  This is an opportunity for us to see Him do miracles in what is an unusual and challenging circumstance.  This is our opportunity to share hope with those around us and lead with courage.  Let’s take this time to focus on His promises of protection.  With our focus and faith in HIM, we will surely conquer the giant we face today.  Peace will be the outcome.  Who’s report will you believe?

Hope…Desire or Trust? I’m

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I found a couple of definitions for the word HOPE.

1. A desire for a certain thing to happen.

2. A feeling of trust.

The first one can still involve worry and fear because of uncertainty or the unknown. The second brings in peace and joy. An assurance. It allows you to let go or move forward with confidence.

In order to trust someone, you need to have spent time with them. You know their reputation. They have come through for you before. They are good to their word.

Right now that CONFIDENT HOPE is available for you and me in Christ. We trust whom we believe. And we believe whom/what we give our time to. Today spend time in the Word and with others who have testimonies of God coming through in challenging times.

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

My Focus Today

“Perhaps we are here for such a time as this…”

While the world has changed around us as we have known it, and I know I will do my part to help society, I will be the most useful if my mind is grounded in the truth, peace, and hope found in God’s Word. Today I’m focusing on these truths…

“I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:13‬ ‭AMP‬‬

“Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Praying that you are convinced that God has given us everything that we need for today. We are bold, courageous, peace filled, strong, well-able, generous, protected, wise, creative, and more. May we push fear aside and be able to rest in Him and then step out to help those around. In a time of fear and uncertainty, let’s trust the one who gives us a peace that passes all understanding. Our reliance is not on self but on Him.

Is The Coronavirus Bigger Than Our God?

Amazingly joyful but disillusioned.  That may be how many people would have described my grandfather.  It seemed that no matter what kind of chaos, tragedy, or negative situation would happen in his life, He would somehow respond to it singing a line from a hymn.  

NEWS – “Grandpa, Grandma has cancer.”

Grandpa’s Hymn Reaction – “Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well, with my soul.” and “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our griefs and sins to bear. Oh what privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer.”

NEWS – “Your son, Brian has died.”

Grandpa – “When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be.”  

NEWS – “You need to sell your farm.”

Grandpa – “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”   

Those are a handful of his pretty heavy and tough circumstances.  What was a constant was what would come out of His mouth.  He literally would respond with lines from hymns and remind us of how big God was in the middle of these trials.

Except one time.  Betting on his past performances, without fear, I informed him of an incident that I had. “Grandpa, I just wrecked your riding lawn mower. “ Let’s just say… the hymn that comes to my mind is “That Fearful Day” when I think of the response I got.

While all of the above is true, what I completely admired about my grandfather was that he was convinced that God was bigger than any unbearable and heart wrenching circumstance that came his way.  He had incredible trust in his Heavenly Father.  So if my grandfather was considered delusional but joyful in the midst of overwhelming circumstances, I perhaps would like a double portion of what he had.  His faith in God in spite of trial made me admire him greatly.  He chose to listen to what God said about his circumstances…and to believe Him.  We act out what we believe about any of our situations.  He was no exception to that rule.

Fast forward to the NEWS on my laptop today…

World Battles Coronavirus – BBC   

The World Health Organization Says It’s a Pandemic  – BBC

NBA Suspends Season  – NBA.com

Dow Ends 11-Year Bull Market as Coronavirus Defies Economic Remedies – New York Times

Trump Suspends Travel From Europe to US – BBC

School Districts, Colleges Announce Closures Due To Coronavirus – Eyewitness News

Ok people, I just need some toilette paper and hand soap for my sinks, and the shelves are empty at the grocery store!!!  My son was supposed to be in a speech tournament over the next few days and it was cancelled due to the coronavirus.  We have 15 documented cases in a state with the population of 28.7 million people.  In February, there were a confirmed 41,000 cases of the flu in Texas…and we were living life as usual.

Are we being fearful or responsible?  Is the Coronavirus too big for our God?  Where is my focus? Maybe it is a legitimate concern that needs attention. But what is my response. What do I believe about God in this officially declared pandemic?

In the middle of this new found chaos and confusion in our world, I am reminded of a story in the Bible (1 Samuel 17) where a bunch of warriors were paralyzed due to a certain giant that stood in front of them…Goliath.  Everyone, including the king, was afraid of the taunts and threats coming from the giant’s mouth.  However, this puzzled David the shepherd, who was the cheese and bread delivery boy to his brothers at the battle front.  “Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?”  David asks in 1 Samuel 17:26b.  

Why would a little shepherd boy not be afraid of what was making mighty warriors and a king cower?  I can’t help but think that it had everything to do with who and what his focus was on.  David spent hours, day after day, writing poems and songs with and to God.  His walk with His Creator was so close that he fearlessly would kill lions and bears with his own bare hands.  He continuously saw the work of God over and over again.  This was the God he understood.  He knew him personally and spent time with him.  Of course God was bigger than any giant! There was nothing to think about or challenge beyond that.  God had always come through for David.  Why would it be any different now?

This greatly influenced David’s perspective of the situation.  While the Israelite army thought Goliath was too big to fight, David saw that he was too big to miss with his sling shot.  It was a guaranteed win.  Didn’t the Israelites serve the same God as David?  Well yes, but did they spend the same kind of time with God that David did?  Both David’s and the warriors actions were a reflection of what they each believed about God and the time spent with Him.   Both reflected what they were focusing on.

What am I fixating on today?  What do I choose to believe about God in the face of global chaos?  If I am reacting in fear, maybe I am spending more time paying attention to the news than I am in the Word of God.  

I love what David (some argue it was Moses) penned in Psalm 91.  We serve that same God who in this passage is described as the peace giver, protector, rescuer, refuge, healer, and shelter for those who dwell with Him.   That is my God.  He alone needs to be my focus and on whom I give my attention to.  He is the same today as He was back them (Hebrews 13).

Thank you grandpa and David for living a life that points me to an unshakeable and unchanging God.  

Some rules for me to follow to keep me in peace during this Coronavirus Situation:

  1. My time in the Bible needs to be greater than my time reading or watching the news.
  2. Play worship music in my home and vehicle to keep my mind on a very big God.
  3. Do kind deeds for people around me.
  4. Don’t stop living.  Be responsible but not freaked out.

Psalm 91 New Living Translation (NLT)

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    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 you from every trap
    and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
    nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
    though ten thousand are dying around you,
    these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
    and see how the wicked are punished.

If you make the Lord your refuge,
    if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
    no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
    to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
    you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.”

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

In the Face of Fear

False Evidence Appearing Real

Paralyzing.  Regret inducing.  Dream stealing.  Success squashing.  Relationship destroying.  Finance draining.  Time wasting.  Health robbing.  Sleep depriving.  Mind games playing.  Trust slaying.  Growth inhibiting.  Life killing.  FEAR.

I wish I could say that I have always walked bold, courageous and fearless.  However, there are a number of situations that have caught me by surprise and planted a seed of fear.  

In college, I visited a concentration camp over in Austria.  The death camp, along with the pictures that I saw, birthed a fear as I was in shock with the reality that man was capable of being so brutal to another human being.  

In becoming a mom, fear is what I had to fight and overcome at yet another level.  Prior to giving birth to a child,  these next thoughts would have seemed so silly.  “Why does he have that fever?  Why can’t he sleep at night?  Is it cancer?  Will anyone talk to my child and include them in?  Will she be safe at camp?  Will my children make good life decisions?  We need more money.  Why hasn’t my husband come home from the office yet?  Why hasn’t he phoned?  Why is the campus on lock down?  Maybe my kids are too young to drive safely.  The kid next to my child in school has lice, strep throat, chickenpox, pink eye, a club foot, ugly shoes, and on and on and on and WILL THEY CATCH IT?!?”

Fear is a liar that gets in your head and is a horrible “reality” to base any decision off of.  I have way too many times made bad calls due to the fact that I was operating in fear.  Fear brought on in the circumstances of sickness, rejection, relational hurt, loss of a job, political unrest, loneliness, exams, hearing gossip about me, reading or watching the news, a bad report, etc.  

Possibly none of you have ever had to deal with the issue of fear.  However, the fact that the Bible says 

“DO NOT FEAR” 

over 365 times is a pretty good indicator that I am not talking just about myself.  I guess God knew that we would need a daily reminder.  

I read a quote earlier today by an unknown author, 

“Fear is not real.  Danger is real.  Fear is a choice.”  

I think that it probably couldn’t be more true.  It is a choice in how we will respond to the situations, good or bad, around us.  In fact, dare I say that when we allow fear to rule, it also alters our ability to perceive a situation correctly and respond appropriately.  Fear never makes a situation better, but it sure does a good job of robbing us from functioning well in the present.  

You can take the most talented athlete or musician who has put in hours of practice and has skill that outperforms everyone else.  Insert fear into their mind and you will not see that talent when they perform.  

We live out what we are thinking and believing about ourselves and situations in our mind.  Whether it is truth or a lie.  

There is a word that describes exactly where I place myself when operating in fear…

BONDAGE.  I hate that word.  And I despise living in that prison even more.

In an earlier posting, I quoted Pastor John Gray.

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

I have good news for you.  We can focus on the Word that brings a peace that passes all understanding.  The Bible is not a book of good suggestions.  It is powerful,  accomplishing, achieving, useful, and very relevant.  It is filled with a peace that Christ offers us.  And yes, even in the midst of chaos and storms.  Because as long as we are on planet earth, life will be messy.

John 16:33 MSG says it best…

“I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”

All throughout the Bible, we see examples of the peace and confidence that God offered to those that trusted Him in the face of frightening and daunting situations.  The danger was real, but they made the choice to not fear.  Or maybe, to do it afraid.

  • David was frequently running from someone who was trying to take his life.  Yet he was convinced that God was bigger than his problem and trusted him.  He penned while on the run…

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.”  Psalm 4:8

  • In boldness, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked into the fiery furnace.
  • Daniel slept in the lion’s den.
  • Esther approached the king unsummoned which could have lead to her death.
  • Jehosaphat lead his people singing praises to God to what should have been their demise but instead trusting God to be good to His Word.
  • Joshua lead the people into the Promise Land successfully that was filled with giants and enemies.
  • Peter walked on water.
  • Paul shook off the poisonous snake and continued to minister to the people on the island.

These Bible hero’s had something in common.  Instead of believing their circumstances, they put their faith in God and His promises.  They were not moved by the mountain in front of them, but instead trusted the mountain mover.  They believed God in the face of the impossible and intimidating situations in front of them.  And God was faithful.  

“What we focus on the longest is what becomes the strongest.”  If we are looking for peace in the middle of turmoil, we need to focus on the promises of God.  They are still yes and amen (2 Corinthians 1:20).  I assure you that when we meditate on His Word for our circumstances, His peace will start to dominate in each situation.

He is faithful.  He has given us everything we need for this moment.  We lack nothing that we require today.  We are overcomers and are more than conquerors because we are in Christ Jesus.  He has given you and me the ability to be strong and courageous.  Today.  For such a time as this.  

What will you do in the face of fear?  I encourage you to focus and meditate on the truth in His Word and experience the peace, strength, and courage that He has for you.

Bible Verses When Facing Fear – NLT

Job 11:18-19

Having hope will give you courage.  You will be protected and will rest in safety.  You will lie down unafraid, and many will look to you for help.

Proverbs 3:24

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

Joshua 1:9

This is my command – be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid or discouraged.  For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Psalm 34:4

I prayed to the Lord and he heard me.  He freed me from all my fears.

2 Timothy 1:7

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

Hebrews 13:6

The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear.  What can mere people do to me?

Isaiah 43:1-2

Do not be afraid for I have ransomed you.  I have called you by name;  you are mine.  When  you go through deep waters, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty you will not drown.  When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

Psalm 23:4-6

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  I will fear no evil, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 91:4-5

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge;  his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day.

Psalm 27:3

Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid.  Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.

Running From Nineveh

My middle initial is “J”…which during today’s post, will stand for and be relatable to the female version of Jonah (yes, the famous Jonah and the whale guy).  I guess for more reasons than one.  Not only can I relate to running away from a calling, I also have been good at whining, complaining, and other characteristics of this chicken and self-absorbed prophet that I don’t really want to admit to.

          A number of years ago, I was shockingly exposed to the reality that human trafficking was happening right here in Houston.  I’m embarrassed to say, at that point in my life, I thought of that as being a problem that happened in other countries – not here in the “land of the free”.  As I was being educated by this individual and hearing about all of her brave and heroic efforts and time spent in fighting the problem, I was experiencing a different reaction internally.  Fear.  Shock.  Anger.  Disbelief.  Denial.  Oh, and…Run!  I wish I could tell you that at that moment I put on my Wonder Woman suit and went to courageously fight this hideous crime.  I didn’t.  However, over the next few years, I was exposed to this issue from time to time through various situations or when Christine Caine, from A21,  would come to speak at our church.  So to appease this feeling of needing to do something about the problem, I decided that we would give money to the efforts of A21.  Now I would feel like I was doing something.  Right? True, but also wrong at the same time.

          2017 came and I was feeling a bit restless.  I was getting caught up in petty issues in life that really did not matter or serve any meaningful purpose.  There were situations that I was too focused on that were frustrating to me and I was wanting to just “take care of them” with my unrenewed mind.  I wasn’t seeing miracles like I had seen in previous years.   Why was God not taking care of these paltry issues with the lightning bolts that I was calling down from heaven??  

         News Alert!!  It’s not fun sitting in the belly of a whale.  And I think that is exactly where I was.  It may as well have been an audible voice, but God had made it clear that He wanted me to host the A21 Walk for Freedom here in The Woodlands and bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking to our community.

           That year I had some amazing excuses and quite “valid” reasons as to why I couldn’t do what I thought God was “suggesting” I do.  After all, we had been overseas and missed the application deadline.  But that made sense as I was doing other “important” things for non-profit organizations.  In fact, one event for an organization was on the day of the walk – so naturally it could not have worked.  God knew that.  I couldn’t have heard correctly from Him.  But that wasn’t really the case.  While they were “good” things that I was doing, they were not what God had asked me to do.  I’m just going to say here that extended time in the whale does not mean you adjust to the misery or that it gets better after a while.  In fact it becomes more rancid in that environment.

          God has a sense of humor and different ways to get us on the path He has called us to.  My event that I was responsible for got cancelled the day of.  Coincidence?  Hmmm.  That morning, my husband strongly recommended that I find the closest Walk for Freedom and see if I could still go and join it to see what it was like.  And that’s what I did.  It was emotional on many accounts.  First.  It was humbling “partially” carrying out, but heading more toward, the action that God had asked me to do.  Second.  This isn’t a chit chat, brisk, fun, feel good, walk with your girlfriends.  It is a single file, silent walk, where everyone is wearing black, carrying signs, handing out flyers, and interacting with bystanders and letting them know what human trafficking is and how they can recognize it in their community and what they can do about it.  It’s about a very dark and hideous crime that has 40 million people being tortured daily in this world.  It’s about setting captives free and preventing others from becoming those victims.  I believe it was a turning point for me.

          I wish I could proudly say that I immediately went to Nineveh.  That wasn’t the case.  In fact, the following year, we were overseas again during application time.  Obviously, that wasn’t supposed to be my year either.  However, God had other plans.  

          One night my daughter and I decided to go to a women’s meeting with the church that we were attending abroad.  The speaker was from Texas, so we knew that English would be spoken.  The talk was on living above average.  I sat there convicted.  I was not living above average at all.  I still was not seeing miracles happening.  I asked the Holy Spirit “Why?”  He clearly pointed out that it was because I wasn’t giving Him my “yes”.  While He had my attention now, I had dodged the application process for the walk once again, so it was too late to make good on that request for that year.  At that moment, my daughter leaned over, without knowing what was going on in my mind, and said, “Mom, I think you are supposed to host the A21 Walk for Freedom in The Woodlands this year.”  What?  How did she know what was going on in my mind?  I was too late though.  Then the Holy Spirit spoke up again and pointed out that I was looking to see miracles once again.  At that moment, I made up my mind. Against all odds and past deadlines, I was still going to say yes and proceed.  God needed to work out some things in my life.  I didn’t have a clear path or an easy ticket. I didn’t have a plan or connections. In fact, I had no clue what I was doing, but I was now officially headed, against all odds, to Nineveh.

          To start on what happened because of the “yes” is the beginning of another story.  But I will let you in on something…I did see the impossible happen over and over, met amazing people that I would have never met, had a lot of pride worked out of me, did things I had never dreamed of doing or even thought was possible, learned a new level of faith in God, and learned how to do things afraid.  I have never looked back.  I know that God is responsible for the outcome and I am responsible to be obedient and give Him my “yes”.  And I definitely do not think life is less than average anymore.  What is your Nineveh?  I encourage you to go.  It beats the belly of a whale.

Who Do You Think You Are?

Last month I was asked to speak at a meeting that was being simulcast around the world.  I was honored to have been asked as I am passionate about educating people about human trafficking and I actually, really enjoy public speaking.  In preparation for the meeting, the organizer called a joint phone session with all those that would be presenting that morning.  I showed up to the call and found myself feeling suddenly, a little out of place.  On the call we had a CEO, a couple of directors, a PhD., a Vice President, and me,  Just Bonnie – JB.  It dawned on me very quickly that I didn’t have the credentials or position that these people were wearing.

Truthfully, those things do not normally bother me.  I could list my education and all that I did to “oo and ah” you…before choosing to stay home with my children.  And while I have volunteered to do some big things as a mom, for some reason, I heard a voice saying I wasn’t enough at that moment.  Who do you think you are Bonnie to be up there with all those highly qualified individuals?  Position and letters have never intimidated me before.  My own thoughts felt foreign to me.   

While some people do wave their badge of position or title around, normally those are the insecure few.  But for some reason, there are voices that pop up in our heads that cause us to compare and feel “less than”.  Too often, because of those internal conversations, we quit before we even step out to do what we were called to do.

I actually did not ask to be on the journey of the fight against human trafficking.  It chased me down while I resisted and ran “to Ninevah” for a number of years.  So all that has happened in regards to being part of ending human slavery has been orchestrated by God.  He has made it clear that He does not call the qualified, but qualifies those He calls.  This is what I have to trust.

Very quickly, I  put the wrong thinking about my “lack” of position out of my head. I moved forward, looking forward to the event.  With less than 24 hours to going live, the director from the organization I was representing, contacted me to say he couldn’t make it to Houston to do his part – I had to fill in.  There were also some other unexpected circumstances that came up in that time that should have thrown me off.  But I was confident that God called me to this and He would see it through with excellence.  Here’s the kicker, by my standard, I did awful.  I stood there and had a major brain freeze.  I wasn’t nervous or intimidated.  Just stuck.  Not myself.  I’m never at a loss for words (an actual downfall of mine).  I fell way short of what I normally do.  As I drove home I asked God…”what on earth happened?  I was completely trusting you.  By human standards, I should just not do this again.  What am I supposed to learn from this?  Help me learn it quickly.”  This really was a challenge to see whether it would make me doubt myself or get back up and try again.  Fortunately, by the grace of God, I got back up and killed the next one.

There are passions that are birthed in us which are beyond our natural abilities.  But I am convinced that God wants to do big things through us.  He wants our “yes” so that He can change the world.  He wants to set captives free.  I am certain that He needs us in a position where we cannot take credit for accomplishments ourselves.  I do not doubt that He adds His  power, favor, abilities, anointing, and more when we say “yes” (His super to our natural).  In fact, we get to see the impossible happen when we put ourselves in that position of obedience.  We are not defined by our education, position, income, name, brand of clothes we wear, where we live, etc.  We are defined by our Creator.  I am proud to be JB – Just Bonnie.  It puts me in a position to rely totally on Him.  Of this I am convinced…”The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for He has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” – Luke 4:18-19  God’s promise is the same for you.  So who do you think you are?  

We are shedding a light on this dark and hideous crime of human trafficking. Join the End It movement. One person alone cannot do everything. But everyone can do something. Education is key to prevention and recognition. Together we will abolish modern day slavery everywhere forever.

It’s Not About Me

In one of my Bible groups, we just finished the book of Esther. I love that book. Disney most definitely needs to make it into a movie.

While there is no mention of God in the book of Esther, it is very evident that both Esther and Mordecai are living out their faith. Mordecai is passionate about the Jews being delivered and Esther is obviously living a purpose way beyond herself. To the point she is risking her life. But she does it. For others. Because life… isn’t about me. Am I willing to risk my comfort, “friends”, time, money, etc., to free someone else?

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?”

This is me…Bonnie.

Oh that my life would consistently reflect His Word.” – Psalm 119:5

More than anything, I want to be obedient to what God has called me to be. Nothing less. Not shrinking back. Living for a purpose and calling that is much higher than myself.

I am a Canadian born mom living in Texas. Our family loves to travel the world, watch and play sports, read, watch movies, and play a lot of table games. My passion is to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. This has lead me to jumping into hosting the A21 Walk for Freedom in our city which is a global awareness event bringing exposure to the issue of human trafficking. I love speaking and teaching, helping others to learn about the issue as well as their value to decrease their risk of ever being a victim. I have a burden for our vulnerable youth and young adult population whom is at risk more than ever due to isolation and seeking validation from “relationships” found through social media and gaming.

What has brought me to starting a blog is the lies I have believed about myself that have kept me from being all that I was truly created to be. We act out what we accept to be our truth…which can be a total lie. But oddly, when we believe it, becomes our reality. I had to put an end to those belief systems and continue to have to do so. My hope is that people will see the truth of who they are and live out the real purpose that God has set out for them. We know His plans are for the good. I desperately want you to know that you matter and hold a lot of value and purpose. Our past is not what defines us. God is. So as we move on together, may we not be moved by our circumstances, but instead by what God says about us. There is a world out there where we can make a difference for the better. I look forward to this journey with you. Thanks for joining me on this blog.