Archive for December, 2016

 

Dec. 16, 1995 Gary Benton of St. Louis Missouri, committed a violent act of murder against my dad, William Bonner, known as Uncle Bill.  A carjacking, fight between 2 gangs, drugs, all of these things Gary was involved in, took his life.

I have been forever changed.  In some ways, I see life as a puzzle – every experience I have had forms a piece of my unique puzzle. When combined, they form the entire picture of my life. My Dad took a piece of my puzzle with him to Heaven, a piece that will never return. He replaced that piece with his beautiful memories.

I lost my dad but gained something in return. He loved and adopted me at the age of 6 shortly after my mother was violently murdered.  For 30 yrs my dad taught & groomed me to learn of the Grace of God.  Would I give up everything I’ve learned if I could have my dad back? I don’t have that option. The only option I have is to make the changes I’ve gone through as valuable as possible.

I refuse to waste my life devoted to the horrific violent crime Gary Benton now living in Atlanta, GA, committed. I will spend my life as he taught me…to try and see beauty and His grace in all things…And fight like the devil against drugs, abuse, injustices, and offer God’s Simple Plan of Salvation.

pretzel These are an easy treat especially for the holidays –
They are so versatile. You can use a mixture of milk chocolate and/or white chocolate. You can use pretzel sticks, squares or twist and whole pecans or pecan pieces. I had a batch done from beginning to end in about 45-1 hour.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Bites

Ingredients
24 pecan halves
24 mini pretzel twists
24 individually wrapped soft caramel squares, unwrapped
8 ounces milk chocolate, melted
Sea Salt

 

Lay out wax or parchment paper, using a spoon, drizzle a little chocolate on the paper and smooth it out a little with the back of the spoon like you are painting a circle. Drop three pretzels, slightly overlapping onto the chocolate and spoon a little melted caramel over all three. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and then drizzle a little more chocolate. Let set and store in Tupperware.

1. Put the pecan halves on a baking sheet, single layer and bake, shaking the sheet once halfway through, until lightly toasted, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a plate to cool.
2. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking matpretzel2
3. Arrange the pretzels on the baking sheet
4. Top each pretzel with an unwrapped caramel
5. Bake until the caramels soften (but NOT melting), 4 to 5 minutes
6. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and press a pecan half onto each caramel, using just enough pressure for the caramel to fill the pretzel
7. Set aside to cool completely.

pretzel5

 

Remove the cooled pretzel/caramels from the baking sheet
1. Drizzle or spoon small dollops of the melted chocolate all over the pretzel & caramel. Sparsely shake sea salt over the top of drizzled chocolate.
2. Allow them to cool completely before serving (you can cool in the fridge).

 

love

Christ calls us to become His image- to reach out to a hurting world and bring His Spirit to that world.  We’ve had too many years of talking – it’s time to get  busy. Let’s pray for His leadership and direction so we can go out and live His love. The world needs you. The world needs HIM!

Mark 12:29-31 29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
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We as Christians are to reflect the heart of Christ, to love the way He loves.  If we do not love with the love of Christ then all we do is a hypocritical devotion, flowery language and our church attendance and such are just empty gestures. God did not want us to attend church on Sunday and turn our back to the pain in this world the rest of the time. He wants us to seek justice for the mentally ill, to protect the defenseless, to set captives free, to live a life of compassion and unselfishness.

Too often we stress on saying and believing the right things, that we turn a blind eye to our piousness and conceit. We have a lack of compassion for the hurting. We have become legalistic and satisfied with our devotion and our good works that we develop an attitude of superiority towards those we deem to be less righteous than ourselves.

Matt. 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

Is it any wonder too many of the world run from us?

We take pride in doing and saying all the right things, but we are absolutely lacking any joy, peace, gentleness, or any love. In the first century, people would exclaim, We tend to forget our real spiritual goal should be to live closer to God and have him form in us the character of the heart Christ. We, as Christians should die daily to our self and learn to love the way Christ loved. If we are truly filled with His Spirit it should be evident in our lives.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Jesus told his disciples a very clear plan that others would recognize them. He didn’t say it was all this legalistic stuff, it is not your church attendance, how you tote your Bible BUT it is how you love!

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

We are so full of dramatization even in our church services and our lives. We want God to be awe stricken with our fancy worship and slick tongued sermons. Why do we spend so much time talking about what we allegedly believe yet so little time living it. Why are we satisfied with following rituals yet neglecting our heart.

Why are we so content with our empty gestures?

google imageThis past week has been an incredibly difficult one. The desperation and brokenness some are suffering with is becoming heavy to bear.  So many who battle physical ailments, addictions or mental issues.  The cancer rate is staggering.  A little 11-year-old girl’s body has been invaded  by this vile diagnosis.

We have had stories of the abuse some are enduring now and some who have had it in their past.  Suffering with abuse causes much anguish whether it is sexual, physical and emotional.  The unbelievable amount of those caught up in sex trafficking is staggering. This is the new form of slavery! If we fight against slavery we must fight against slavery in the sex industry!  Seeing more and more the perversion of the world can cause me to become totally expended. causing feelings of hopelessness.

As I recalled the incidents that were troubling me, I began to sing…

Abide with me: fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

As I sang it over and over, I could feel God touching my spirit and drawing me close to him. What comfort I began to feel.

There is assurance in Christ that HE IS in the middle of all our darkness.  God IS unchanged in His Goodness and Love. His Sweet mercy and truth extends far beyond the contamination of this world and beyond any bounds of our wasted lives.

While we know there is more beyond what this world can offer, we still long to have someone jump in the middle with us to help bear the burdens we carry.  This is exactly what being a Christian is all about!  We put on the Hands and Feet of Jesus and walk in the shoes of another to help in their struggle.

This isn’t about going to church, teaching a Sunday school class or having a theology degree, this is about being and doing -Jesus- This is our only hope in reaching others.linen-paper

And though the evil around me may feel like I am drowning, I will still beg out to God for healing, rescue and deliverance for those who are struggling.

Having the heart knowledge that HE is in the middle of our battle and there is NO darkness!