Solo – Write a letter to God

2 06 2009

In my devotion time this morning, I read the passage of Jeremiah 20:7-10. It talked about how Jeremiah was God’s mouth piece and how he was ridiculed for obeying God’s will. In the application portion of the devotion, the action said to “write a letter to God.” The letter should be completely honest and raw about the good, bad and ugly in how God is a part of our life.

Never really thought about writing a letter to God. He wrote a series of letters and stories for us and that is how we got the Bible. But, that is our instruction manual, love letter, story book, center of truth and the list continues. What would a letter of us pouring our heart, thoughts, dreams, frustrations and feelings toward God look like? Would it be simple or deep?

Here is a thought. Write that letter today. Better yet, write it tomorrow and the next day, too! In fact, we do write a letter to God when we have a relationship that is vibrant and ongoing. Notice I did not say “happy, sad, positive and negative.” Our relationship should not be on one side of the spectrum because it has to be genuine and real. When we can be real with God everyday, then we can truly write a letter to God each day of our life that reflects a true sense of who God is to us. And, all around us get to enjoy a good, God book!


Solo – New Name

26 05 2009

Isaiah 62:2-5

“…You’ll get a new name straight from the mouth of God…”

Great passage of scripture out of Isaiah. It talks about how God delights in you and is happy with you. One of the exercises the devotion tells you to do, is to answer this question, “If you were to ask God for a new name, what would it be?” Wow! What a phenomenal question!

If you had the opportunity to give yourself a name, what would you do with that? Would you focus on the what you feel on the inside about yourself? Would you look at making a statement of who you are or want to be? Would you be about other people or centered on your own identity? Would you seek input from others to see how they see you?

This is a lot deeper than a name – this is a journey into seeing yourself as God sees you. We will never meet the total love for ourselves that God has for us. Either we will over inflate our view and elevate ourselves to a place of self importance. Or we will under appreciate who God created us to be and walk in a self imposed limitation. So, if God was standing in front of you and asked “What do you want me to call you, what would you say?”

I don’t even have an answer for myself. I am taking it to my prayer time…not for an answer. Instead, I want to journey on this thought for a while. There is so much for depth to me beyond a name and I guess, God is taking me there. But to be known as … well, that is pretty cool too.

Solo – Like the back of my Hand

12 05 2009

Isaiah 49:16 “Look, I ‘ve written your names on the back of my hands.”

Recently, I was watching a show where a paramedic was called in to take care of a contestant. Out of all the things the paramedic did, the one thing that stood out to me was something very small – and it intrigued me. On his left rubber glove, he had written some numbers and scribble. Now I was hooked. I was trying to read it and figure out if it was blood pressure, pulse, etc. I realized that when the segment was over, I hadn’t listened to a word he said – I was glued on his hands.

Why did he write that stuff on his hands? For sure, it was so he had the information right at his fingertips. (Ok, bad pun.) But in reality, yes, he wanted that information in the easiest place to access it. It was so important that it put in a place that at a moments notice he could get to it.

Our scripture today tells us that we are in the same place with God. He wants us so close that he is willing to inscribe our names on the back of His hands. It is also interesting to note that He has already put us there. Which leads me to a question – why do we feel distant from God. Who moved? We move, not Him. We need to realize how important we are to Him. We are like those statistics for the paramedics only this time, we are not just numbers. We are lives that the Lord wants to have complete access to in a moments notice.

Why? So He can say, “I know you like the back of my hand…”

Solo – The Incomparable

6 05 2009

Isaiah 46:1-2, 5
“The god Bel falls down, god Nebo slumps. The no-god hunks of wood are loaded on mules and have to be hauled off, wearing out the poor mules. Dead weight, burdens who can’t bear burdens, hauled off to captivity…So to whom will you compare me, the Incomparable?

I am pleasantly surprised when I read a passage in the Bible that I feel like I never read before. I have been a Christian since I was in seventh grade and never heard God’s name as “the Incomparable.” Once I get past the big, blond character out of the Disney movie, the Incredibles, it just sinks in. This is one of the most amazing names ever ascribed to God. The line after it in the bible asks, “Can you picture me with reducing me?” Simply, “no.” I cannot picture God or his abilities without the human filter of human limitations.

This has been a rough week. It seems like a lot of challenges whether physical, spiritual or even emotional. The scripture in verse two really hit it home – “Dead weight, burdens who can’t bear burdens.” That is exactly what they are – weights who have purpose to bring me down with no added value. They are just weights. Burdens which bear no fruit. The more you focus on them, the more I become the mule who get worn out.

These two passages are perfect contradictions. Do I want to carry a parasitic weight around whose whole purpose is to slow me down? Do I really want to serve a God who is bigger than all that I can imagine? Will I continue to carry the weight? Will I continue to put him in a box?

When it comes to the Incomparable….there is no comparison.

Solo – You are Mine

4 05 2009

Isaiah 43:1-4

“Don’t be afraid. I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called you by name. You’re mine.”

This verse has a great place in my heart. All three of my children are very special to me. Each of them are unique, colorful and vibrant in their own way. Each of them have a talent in music and get to express their gift in different ways. I remember the first time I heard one of them sing this song in a church service. It is a song by Mutemath and the chorus is simple – “You are mine.” (over and over again). It struck me so powerfully that the song expressed not power driven ownership but instead, a humble expression that says, “I am totally head over heels in love with you and paid a price for you.” It is exactly how I feel about my kids – as many times as they do great and bad, I am passionate about their being everything God wants them to be. For every success and mistake, they will always be in my vision of love for them.

On the flip side, it is the same heart that God has for us. It says in Isaiah, that God says the same thing about the children of Israel. God is speaking to you and I through this passage. He is a jealous, ardent God who paid the price for you so he could say, “You are mine.” You know your victories and your challenges and yet, He still loves you as a complete package. You will always be in His vision of love.

You can almost hear him whisper….”You are mine.”

My Journey – I am what I am #3

27 04 2009

I Corinthians 15:10 “But because of God’s grace I am what I am. And his grace was not wasted on me. No, I have worked harder than all the other apostles. But I didn’t do the work. God’s grace was with me.”

In the old Testament, when Moses asked God “who should I tell Pharoah sent me,” He answered tell him “I am” sent you. How does that apply here? Is it a cool, play on words that sounds confusing or is there a principle? The principle is as simple as “I am” is God and “I am” is Chris. This is not a humanistic view saying that humans are God. Instead, look at it this way. Genesis 1:26 says, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.'” We are not Gods, but made in his image and in his likeness. Therefore, I am like I am. I can reflect all that God has poured into me – His love, His mercy, His grace, His compassion, His wisdom, His Spirit and His ability to forgive. I understand that we are not equals because He extends his love and character to me and I choose to accept it.

The line – “By Gods grace, I am what I am.” It is truly a loving, compassionate God who doesn’t create and wire me so that I can be an outcast to Him. It is that same love and compassion that forms me to be drawn to Him so we can have the ultimate prize. Relationship. That grace created me to desire and love my Heavenly father. It is that relationship that brings joy, contentment and fulfillment in life. God’s grace provides me with the one thing that makes life more than existence. A relationship with God that lasts now and throughout eternity.

My Journey – God’s Grace allows me to be me

23 04 2009

I Corinthians 15:10 “But because of God’s grace I am what I am. And his grace was not wasted on me. No, I have worked harder than all the other apostles. But I didn’t do the work. God’s grace was with me.”

Blog entry #3 on the same scripture. First line – “Because of God’s grace…” Grace is such an amazing journey by itself. It truly is a diamond that every time you turn it a fraction, a different aspect is illuminated for all to see. A couple of “definitions” – “God’s unmerited favor,” “the ability to turn the other cheek,” “looking past the now,” “mercy” and “forgiveness.” I have to imagine that all of us have experienced grace at some point in our life. In doing so, it is usually undeserved and humbling.

I remember as a child getting busted for shoplifting by my mother in the second grade. She told me that I would be punished by my dad when he got home. I was waiting in the other room when he came in the door. He came in, shut the door and sat down. I had my head down looking at the floor, when he asked, “Do you understand what you did was wrong?” Waiting for the paddle to appear, still looking at the ground, I heard crying. I looked up to find my dad with tears. He said, “Your mother and I didn’t raise you this way. Don’t do it again.” I have a pretty vivid memory of that day. It is one of those days where you deserve the punishment and it should be severe. Yet, my dad owned it and extended grace to me.

“Because of God’s grace, I am what I am.” Like my dad in that situation, how many times has God extended grace when I deserve the punishment? Just as that memory is etched into my life, God brands us with experiences that mark us for life. I would hope all of us embrace those experiences with gratitude, humility and growth. He never asks us to be something different than how he made us in our mother’s womb. He never says, “I wired you with all this gifting, talent and personality so you can be someone else.” Instead, He says, “I made you and knew you.” He doesn’t ask us to be something we are not.

Ultimately, He asks me to be exactly what I am – a flawed diamond, but nonetheless, His diamond.

My Journey –

21 04 2009

I Corinthians 15:10 “But because of God’s grace I am what I am. And his grace was not wasted on me. No, I have worked harder than all the other apostles. But I didn’t do the work. God’s grace was with me.”

“I am what I am.” The last post talked about living in the present. Today, my focus is on what am I. This one has gotten very simple over the years. Before, I would talk about my roles or job description. Here what it is today.

Chris Bonham

Love God, Love People
Kristin’s Husband
Taylor, Abby and Casey’s Dad
Grace’s Biggest Fan

What are you today?

My Journey – I am what I am

20 04 2009

I Corinthians 15:10 “But because of God’s grace I am what I am. And his grace was not wasted on me. No, I have worked harder than all the other apostles. But I didn’t do the work. God’s grace was with me.”

I have been chewing on this verse for ten days now. And honestly, I cannot seem to shake it. There is so much to play with in this verse that applies to my life right now. It cuts deep not in a correction or reproving manner. More of the opposite – understanding and contentment in what God is doing in my life.

So, lets dive into the phrase that started it all. “I am what I am.” Who knew that Popeye was quoting the Bible all this time? When I hear that, I think of all the peculiar things I do in my life. I do not each chicken with bones in it. I will not request friends on Facebook. I jump before I speak on stage. I do not long prayers. I really like getting up at 4:15 am. I must be early for an appt. or function or it will bother me. I find that as I get older, I develop more habits that really don’t make sense. Somewhere in the vastness of God, He said, “Here is a good mix that I will put in Chris.”

“I am what I am.” In the Greek, it means “I exist to exist” or “I exist to be what I be” or “I am present to be present.” (Realizing the words have multiple meaning) Or my favorite, “I exist to be present.” God created me with all my quirks, gifts, talents and abilities to be exactly like I am. Instead of asking God to change the wiring, I have found my life a journey of lining up my wiring to maximize what God wants me to do. I want to be fully present in every step of the journey. I used to dwell on “in the future” but have changed it to “in this moment.” This has been monumental in my growth and contentment because I cannot satisfy the future, or the past for that matter. Only in the present can I do something that will impact my world. Living in the past or future is a trap. God didn’t create me to live in either realm.

There is more to come on all this…I am what I am!

Solo – Living in the Moment

6 04 2009

Ecclesiastes 11:9, 12: 1-7

Today’s scripture is a marvel. The book of Ecclesiastes is like life perspective of the irreverant. It says things that many times, people would be a little hesitant to say. Not that it isn’t true, just a tad uncomfortable. Vs. 9 says, “You who are young, make the most of your youth…If something looks good to you, pursue it. But know also that not just anything goes; You have to answer to God for every last bit of it.” Jump to vs. 6-7 in chapter 12, “Life, lovely while it lasts, is soon over. Life as we know it, precious and beautiful ends. The body is put back in the same ground it came from. The spirit returns to God, who first breathed it.”

All true – just enough twist to feel a little twinge of “yikes!” So, if it is all true and we know that, how does it challenge us to live today? I am no longer a youth but I am not old either. Like the scripture says, I know I have to answer for every bit of my life and I live it accordingly. But the end seems so far away that I don’t think it is anywhere time to pack it in. Today, I will live in the moment. Whereas I cannot change yesterday and I am not promised tomorrow, I will live today for all that it offers me today.

There is the answer…