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…

Solo – Staying Alive

2 04 2009

Ecclesiastes 9:7-10

Vs. 9 “Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one!”

In the movie, The Last of the Mohicans, the the protagonists are trapped under the waterfall and the antagonists are about to capture them. Hawkeye tells the young lady he loves, “Stay alive – I will find you.” Then he jumps through the waterfall to live on and eventually, reclaim the young lady from the indians. I always thought that was a funky scene. But it makes sense. He knew they would kill him right there or be captured and his chances of saving her would be greatly diminished. Only by staying alive could he actually be in a position to help the rest of the group.

I have seen way to many motivational talks on 24 hours in a day. I love this devotions thought – “the hard work of staying alive.” Life is hard – physically, mentally and emotionally. Already this week, I have met with people who are dealing with marriage struggles, health issues, child situations, personal problems, etc. I have realized again that we are all broken people. When the Bible says, “there is none that are perfect, no not one,” it is accurate. We are all products of a sinful disposition, in a sinful world with an enemy who continues to try to thwart us. Depressing – no! It is life and it is worth working hard to stay alive. With all that is against us, look at what is for us. God is for you and will never, never leave you nor forsake you. His Word gives us His promises to live by that will give us victory in defeating situations. People – yes, broken people – who can come alongside us and help us grow. And blessings – love, joy, peace in a world searching so desperately for all three.

Today’s assignment – Stay alive! Whether hanging on by your fingernails till the calvary comes or continuing to live attacking the hurdles of every day. Stay alive – and the struggle will give way to victory.

Solo – Pain

1 04 2009

Ecclesiastes 7:2-3

“You learn more at a funeral than at a feast-after all, that’s where we’ll end up. We might discover something from it. Crying is better than laughing, it blotches the face but scours the heart.”

Pain hurts.

When I began working out two and a half years ago, I began to see the power of pain. I often joke with my amazing trainer that I am always in pain. She’ll see it to by the way I walk slowly into the gym or struggle to do simple push ups after a chest and tricep work out. Since I have never broken a bone or torn a muscle, the pain is relegated to intense fatigue and then three days of tightness and aching. Ironically, the only times I haven’t felt pain over the last two and half years, is when I stopped working out due to vacation or time away.

Here is the kicker….I am not growing if I am not working out. Therefore, I am not growing if I am not experiencing pain. I will endure the pain of working out so that I can be in the best shape of my life for a couple reasons. First of all, I want to live as long as God wants me here. I do not want to knowingly shorten my life potential. I want to be able to do whatever one of my family members wants to do. If Tater wants to run a marathon, I want to do it with her. If Sunshine wants to play tennis, I am in. Same for the Abby and the interns doing a triathlon – ready to Go! And if God says “Go” to anything, I am physically ready to do it. In essence, me enduring pain really puts me in a state of readiness.

Spiritual application – Have you taken your pain and allowed it to put you into a state of readiness? Have you allowed the aches and disappointments cause you to grow so you are ready for the next challenge? You don’t have to ignore pain and push through but you do have to capture the nuggets from painful experiences to make you stronger and wiser. If you stay in pain, just to stay in pain than you are not building up your “muscles” you are tearing them down.

Final question – Are you ready?