Archive for the 'Encouraging Word' Category


The Encouraging Word

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Speaking Life

The other day I was having dinner with a friend. She said something to me which made me smile. She told me that my girls were so encouraging. She said all of them were (I have 5) and that they always were!

My “girls” are all young ladies now and it is so rewarding to hear that they are living and speaking in such a way that they are producing life and joy in the hearts of those that know them. For that is what encouraging words do: They enter into the soul of those that will embrace them and produce life.
The Bible tells us that “ (a person) speaks from that which fills his heart.” “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good.” Luke 6:45
If we are to have good things come out of our mouth we have to put good treasure into our hearts. I know of no better way to do this than the way which the Bible teaches which is to meditate on those things that are true, honest, right, pure, loveable and gracious, attractive, virtuous and praise worthy (Phil 4:8). When we read the Bible, it is these kinds of thoughts that can and should be the end result of our meditation before God: Thoughts that we activate by belief and that we express towards ourselves and others.
Since these encouraging thoughts are “treasure” the enemy will try to steal them away. We must “guard our heart with all diligence for from it flows the springs of life (Prov4:23)”. That which produces this life that flows from us to others is also that which serves to protect it…Reading and meditating on the Bible.

I taught my children when they were young to respect others and to be kind and to read the Bible every day. I know that these teachings have produced this fruit of encouragement that my friend sees in them. It is a fruit that so many people love to enjoy and it is so simple to give.

May we encourage one another daily and see how many smiles it produces in those we love!
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.” Ps 19:14

Note to Phil Bonasso: You are the best husband in the whole world!

The Encouraging Word

Friday, April 4th, 2008

THE EASTER SEASON

Although Easter Sunday has passed, the Easter Season has just begun. For the next 40 days the Church will continue to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a good thing to think about the fact that Jesus has overcome death and offers us His Resurrection life. The power that brought Jesus up from the grave is the same power that is available to us as His children every day: It is the power of the Holy Spirit.

In Eph 3:16-21 Paul prays that we would “be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man” and continues on to write that God “is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us. “ It is this very power that saved us and it is this very power that can strengthen us daily for all that the Lord has called us to do as His Servants and as His Church. We should remember this daily.

When my children were young I composed a prayer for them to say before they went to

sleep. It was a prayer of confession based on the Promises that the Bible had for them. Part of this prayer focused on my hope that they would come into the salvation experience of the Lord…”I Thank you, Lord, that by Your Grace I understand that Jesus died on the cross, rose up from the grave, and lives today that I might have eternal life through the gift of Repentance.” Certainly it is a simple prayer but it takes the power of the Holy Spirit to truly understand the impact that such truths can have upon our daily lives and in our inner man.

May the events of Easter fill our hearts and minds every day of our lives that we might be encouraged to know the amazing power that is available to us, to the Church and for the world. Jesus, indeed, is the Resurrection and the Life for all and for all times.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened…” Eph 1:18

Note to Phil Bonasso: Thank you for leading your family into the hope of the Resurrection through your steadfast love and faith towards God and towards us.

The Encouraging Word with Karen Bonasso

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

The Seven great “I Am” statements of Jesus

One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible in the Gospel of John is”he who loves Me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him andwill disclose Myself to him.” (Jn14: 21) Just the thought of the Lord”disclosing” Himself to me is so amazing. The Lord Jesus in Whomdwells all the riches of knowledge and wisdom; in Whom dwells the fullexpression of love (Jn 3:16; 1 Jn 4:18); and in Whom dwells all powerand authority and dominion in heaven and earth (Eph1:21). Jesus inWhom “we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) This is Hewho wants to reveal Himself to me in the relational intimacy of lovingdisclosure. In other words, He wants to tell me who He is…for me!And of course this disclosure is first and foremost through the Bible…His Word.In the Gospel of John, seven times Jesus says, “I am” followed by aself-description.These “I am ” Scriptures are listed below. As I meditate on them, I find in the person of Jesus Christ everything I need… and I feelstrength… and I feel loved! I AM:

  1. THE BREAD OF LIFE (Jn 4:48)
  2. THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD (Jn 9:5)
  3. THE DOOR OF THE SHEEP (Jn 10:7)
  4. THE GOOD SHEPHERD (Jn 10:11)
  5. THE RESSURECTION AND THE LIFE (Jn 11:25)
  6. THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE (Jn 14:6)
  7. THE TRUE VINE (Jn 15:1)

Note to Phil Bonasso: Thank you for so many merry Christmases!

The Encouraging Word with Karen Bonasso

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

“EVERYONE IS IMPORTANT”

The other day I went to a Shakespeare Play performed by the LA
Shakespeare Co. It had an Ensemble Cast of about 15 people, which
made it very enjoyable to watch. There wasn’t much to the stage, nor
to the small room that held the stage. There wasn’t even a set, just a
few props. The costumes were simply well picked, contemporary clothes.
All of these factors together made it a unique experience. Unique
experiences always make me think and pray!

An Ensemble Cast, simply stated, means that every performer in the
cast has the talent to play the principal character. Because the
actors were professionals each played their own part, whether small or
large, with great skill and passion. It was marvelous to watch even
the smallest line and part to be brought to the stage with such life.
The strengths that each actor brought to the scene filled the stage
with energy. The performers themselves became the set!

It took a lot of preparation time to bring such an Ensemble together.
With everyone so creative, the Director, I’m sure, would have to make
the final decision among several great ideas being offered. But the
Director of an Ensemble Cast would have to be very unique himself. He
would have to allow for the full expression of each player, yet
harness it in such a way that a cohesive unit would form and the play
performed well. Since I have a close relationship with one of the cast
members, I am also aware that the performance grows and changes each
time. The Director has to give his critique after each of the
performances to make sure that, in the midst of the freedom of
expression he allows the actors, the integrity of the initial vision
of the production is not compromised. It is at once consistent and
dynamic!

I can remember every actor and actress and appreciate what he or she
brought to the stage. The play would have been very different if just
one of them were missing.

This wonderful experience made me think of 1 Corinthians 12 in the
Bible. This is the Scripture where Paul is explaining to the
Corinthians how important each person is and how important the gifting
of God that each person brings is to the proper working of the Church.
If the Church could work with the attitude of an Ensemble Cast how
amazing it would be! And what a delight, I’m sure, to the Lord who
watches.

” …the (Holy) Spirit…distributing (gifts and ‘parts’) to each
one individually just as He wills. For even as the body is one and yet
has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are
many, are one body… for the body is not one member, but many… now God
has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He
desired… if they were all one member where would the body be? ” 1
Corin 12: 18-19

Note to Phil Bonasso: Thank you for the joy of waking up to a man
excited to see me every morning.

The Encouraging Word with Karen Bonasso

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

What is destiny? It is our mission in life. It is the answer to the question, “Why am I here?” It is what gives meaning and cohesion and expression to all our talents and personality traits. It is a journey. In the book of Ephesians in the Bible, chapter 2 verse 10 says “…we are His (God’s) workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in the them.” As we “walk” on life’s path, opportunities to do “good works” will present themselves and we will sense God’s grace to do those things. Philippians 2:13 says, it is “God who is at work in you to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

I think one of the appeals of “super heroes” like Superman and Wonderwoman, and the Flash is that they have obvious super power traits that dictate their mission in life. It is not so obvious for us. Our gifts and talents and strengths are discovered along the path of life. As we sense God’s pleasure in the things we do and we allow the Holy Spirit and the guidelines of Biblical principles to forge our character we will fulfill the mission in life God created us for.

One of my favorite movie scenes is in the movie “Chariots of Fire”. It is a story of an Olympic Gold medalist runner who comes from a ministry family. In this particular scene his sister was challenging his decision to “run” instead of preaching the Gospel. His response was “all I know is that I feel the Lord’s pleasure when I run…” What a wonderful thing to experience the Lord’s pleasure in the activities of our life. We are created by Him and for Him. It is our life’s quest and mission to do God’s will. Our destiny is a step by step process of revelation. It is an adventure. It is a daily decision. It is the Gift of God.

Ecclesiastes 3: 13 “…that everyman… sees good in all his labor – it is the gift of
God.”

Note to Phil Bonasso: Thank you for pursuing God with all your heart…every day. It’s never been boring to follow God with you.

The Encouraging Word with Karen Bonasso

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

The Bible says it is the kindness of God that leads people to repentance (Romans2: 14). In Proverbs 15:1 it says that kind words turn away anger. The definition of the word kindness according to Strong’s concordance is “goodness in action, sweetness of disposition, gentleness in dealing with others…” Jack Hayford writes “The word describes the ability to act for the welfare of those taxing your patience.” The kindness of the Bible is also called a” fruit “of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5: 22), in other words it can flow from our heart and soul but it takes a choosing of our will combined with the activity of the Holy Spirit to introduce the presence of God into a situation. It is a response as well as an instigator: It can be a first move or a second.

In the Gospels we can often see how kind Jesus is. One instance I noticed was the time He healed the man who had been blind since birth. The story is in the Bible in John chapter 9. The move of kindness occurs sometime after his healing.

The Pharisees were very upset because the man’s eyes were “opened” on the Sabbath. They couldn’t rejoice over the incredible and amazing miracle that had occurred to deliver the man from darkness but instead were offended by his joy and boldness and confidence that he had been healed and set free by an act of God. At this precious moment in his life when he wanted, like never before, to come to the Temple and worship his God, the Pharisees “put him out”.

At this point we see the heart of Lord Jesus: “Jesus heard that they put him out: and finding him…” (John 9: 33) Jesus went looking for him! He was not afraid that the man would now be able to identify Him to the Pharisees. (That was the information they were really after.) Despite the risk, He was not afraid to associate with the “delivered”. At times kindness can be risky.

Why did Jesus go to find him? He already healed him? The next few verses give us the answer. Very simply, it was an act of kindness. He wanted to give him the opportunity (which the Pharisees denied him) to express his heartfelt worship unto God and to comfort the man. When the healed man “saw” that Jesus was indeed the Lord, he worshipped Him. ( John 9: 38) He comforted him by bringing forth a righteous judgment for him. “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see…” (verse 39) The Pharisees’ unrighteous judgment “put him out” of the Temple but Jesus’ righteous judgment invited him into His Kingdom. How much better would the church and the world be if we all let the fruit of kindness flow through us! It’s always a winning move… and never too late.

Micah 6: 8 “ What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and
to walk humbly with your God?”

Note to Phil Bonasso: Thank you for consistently leading our family in prayer together. I love to hear you play the guitar and worship the Lord.

The Encouraging Word with Karen Bonasso

Monday, September 24th, 2007

I was at Disney’s Magic Kingdom last night with my family. We were standing in line for the new “Nemo” ride when the fireworks started. We were excited that we could see them from the line and so were the people around us. But I found it interesting that even the workers, whom I’m sure see them every night they work, also stopped to view them with the same expression of awe as everyone else
.
There’s something about fireworks that makes them “new” every time you see them. There are so many variables to their nature that causes this to be so:
The color and multitude of the lights;
The patterns they form which is different depending on your viewing angle;
How they “fall” from the sky;
The explosions themselves;
How they can layer upon one another;
And of course the “surprise” factor in every moment.
These are a few of their many facets that our eyes can enjoy and that causes our souls to leap in awe (That’s the “oohs” and “aahs” you hear in the crowd!).

This is how the Word of God, the Bible, can be. As we read and study and meditate, it can produce in our spirits an awe and excitement that is “new” everyday. The Words of the Bible never grow old or rote because life is always changing. There are always changing variables internally and externally in our lives that can find expression and reflection and solutions and meaning in the Bible. Meeting the Lord in His Word can cause your “inward parts” (Bible terminology!) to leap and your mind to brighten with truth and wonder.

There is nothing more precious and stimulating to me than the revelation of the Word. Jesus promises to disclose Himself to those that love Him (That’s amazing!) and that if we search for God’s Wisdom with all our heart we will find it (Incredible!) (Jn 14: 21 and Prov 8: 17 ) It is this type of “heart” that gives us the eyes to see the “fireworks” of His Kingdom …everyday.


“ Open Thou my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy Word”
Psalm 119: 18

Note to Phil Bonasso: Thank you for making my daughters laugh with your funny faces and light-hearted sense of humor. They loved it as children and still love it now

The Encouraging Word with Karen Bonasso

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

In Psalm 57:2 of the Holy Bible we read that it is God who accomplishes all things for us. In the New Testament Paul tells us in Heb 1: 3 that our Lord upholds or holds together all things by the Word of His power and again in Col 1: 17 we read that in Jesus all things hold together. If God “does” everything and “secures” everything, what then is our responsibility in life? Not to give into the schemes of the devil; What the devil can’t stop he will try to neutralize.

In Luke chapter 10 the Lord addresses three aspects of life and some neutralizing factors that can affect them.

1.Verses 1-24: Jesus is sending His disciples out to do a mission. Put very simply, He tells them not to let rejection keep them from their God given mission and also tells them how to handle such rejection.

2.Verses 25-37: Jesus uses the story of a man beaten by robbers to make another point.
Three men were given the opportunity to help this unfortunate man. Two passed by and went on with “their mission”: One showed kindness and helped the man and then went on with “his mission”. It’s quite clear that the Lord does not want our identity in our mission to keep us from living the biblically principled life of kindness and service.

3. Verses 38-42: Jesus addresses Martha in her complaint against her sister Mary. When the Lord came to visit the sisters and Lazarus, Mary sat to listen to Jesus while Martha served. In simple summarization the Lord shows us not to let our serving keep us from the one thing that is necessary for everything…our undivided attention and devotion to Him.

It seems quite logical that - if indeed God is the one who makes things happen and maintains them; - if He is the One who gives us our mission; - if He is the one who encourages and strengthens us to serve one another; - if He is the one who wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him - then we should follow His priorities. As we do this we may avoid the strategies of the Devil to stop us or dilute our effectiveness.

“… you are worried and troubled about many things. But only one is needed, Mary (who is listening to the Word) has chosen that good part and it will not be taken away from her.” Lk10: 42

Note to Phil Bonasso: Thank you for being kind to a stranger and filling up a distressed person’s car with gas. It makes me so proud that you are so tender hearted.

The Encouraging Word with Karen Bonasso

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

When I went to school, dates were written with B.C. or A.D. after them : A.D. is the initials for Latin words which mean “In the Year of our Lord”. Jesus Christ came and historical time has since been marked by that reality: We are in “the years of our Lord”. Ps 72:7 in the Bible says that in the year of the Lord righteousness and peace will be in abundance. The Pharisees of Jesus’ time looked for these things externally however, peace and righteousness are of the soul and immediately available internally before they can be experienced externally.

Peace in the Old Testament of the Bible is the word “shalom” which means completeness, wholeness, health, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, fullness, rest, and harmony. It comes from a root word in Hebrew which means “to be complete, perfect and full”. Jack Hayford concludes that “shalom is much more than the absence of war and conflict; it is the wholeness that the entire human race seeks.” One place we find this word “shalom” in the Bible is in the book of the prophet Nahum. In Nahum’s time Israel had been conquered and was greatly oppressed by a very powerful and arrogant people. God was prophesying through Nahum that He was going to change that. In 1:15, He ” proclaims peace” telling Israel that they will soon be able to “keep (their) appointed feasts and perform (their) vows.” In other words they will be able to freely worship once again.

Freely live in such a way that you can experience God anytime and all the time. Isn’t that what brings a sense of completeness and wholeness to our soul? Don’t we find soundness of mind and rest of heart in God’s presence? Isn’t that what peace is?

Internal Peace has to be sought after and guarded. Peace was one of the topics of our Lord Jesus’ last moments with his disciples. “ Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you…Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (Jn14: 27). Our Lord connected His peace to the working of the Holy Spirit in conjunction with His Word (Jn 14: 23-27). The peace of the Bible is a fruit of the operation of the Holy Spirit in your spirit and soul (Gal 5: 22). It involves a choice of your will just like love and goodness and joy and faithfulness.

Now in 2007A.D., in the Year of our Lord 2007, peace is available to us in abundance!

“ Let your requests be made known to God…and the peace of God…will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus…” Phil 4:6-7

Note to Phil Bonasso: Thank you for making a special trip to the grocery store and buying rolls for our dinner. You were so happy to help me and it blessed me so.

The Encouraging Word with Karen Bonasso

Sunday, September 9th, 2007
    Psalm 100 is such a happy and hope filled song. It sets forth our identity as servants of the Lord in the midst of a sound of:

  1. Loud praise, “Shout to the Lord all the nations”,
  2. Pronouncement of His power, ”He has made us and not we ourselves”,
  3. Eternal presence, “His mercy is everlasting and His truth endures to all generations”.In general, a servant is one who does the bidding of his master or superior.In John12: 26, Jesus says, “…Where I am there will my servant be also”.God expects us, as His servants, to do all that He asks of us. A good attitude, ”come before His gates with thanksgiving”, on our part is what opens our eyes to the adventure and security of it all. The God that we serve is one “Who only does wondrous things Ps 72:18”. Jack Hayford writes, “God values and is kindly disposed to His servants. Unlike human overlords and masters, God is deeply concerned with the total well-being of each of His servants.”

    This is expressed with vigor by David in Ps 35. After incredulously recounting to God how terribly he had been treated by those he once cared for as friends and brothers, David comes to this great conclusion: “Let the Lord be magnified who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant…my tongue shall speak of Your righteousness and of your praise all the day long!” It was David’s insight into the nature of God as Benevolent Master and his own position as his servant that enabled him to continue to pursue God’s destiny on his life and come to such a happy and hope filled conclusion. And so we end with the joy expressed in Ps 100:

      “Serve the Lord with gladness…we are His people…the Lord is good.” (more…)