Author: ronda

What Stirs and What Stinks

Romans 8:30-31

And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified. What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

When we feel defeated in life, this passage reminds us that God has a purpose for us, and He has already planned our victory. From start to finish, God created a plan for us in Christ, called us to His plan, justified us so we would be worthy of our calling, and glorified the end result. What else can we say, but if God is for us, who can stand against us to destroy His plan? No one can; God is greater than any assault that comes against us. In fact, He uses the Devil’s assaults to perfect His plan for us.

Romans 8:28

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.

God uses all things – hurt, disappointment, loss, attack, failure, success – to work together for those who are called to His purpose. If life just doesn’t seem to be working out, the first question you should ask yourself is “Whose purpose am I serving?” If you aren’t living life out of the purpose to which God has called you, it might be time to reassess. If you are living life simply to fill your own desires, you will find yourself empty and longing for more. You have a purpose greater than yourself, and your only hope of finding real joy is to start living that purpose – the plan to which God predestined and called you.

Part of our growing process as a Christian is to abandon ourselves and our own plans to pursue that thing to which God has called us. God will let our flesh fail enough times as it takes to surrender to His plan. Our failures and disappointments only serve to get us on the right track with God. They have their own purpose in His plan for us.

In order to pursue our God-given purpose, we have to realize what stirs and what stinks in our lives. Where is God stirring you? What is He stirring up in you? Concentrate on that. What stinks? What can you not change or have any control over? If it stinks, stay away from it. God will plant a passion inside you and stir it as a direction of the purpose to which He has called you. He will plant roadblocks of denial, rejection, loss, and closed doors in the places that will steer you off course. All things work together for your good and His glory, so follow the stirring in your life and abandon the stink!

Have a blessed day!

Turning Mourning into Joy

Jeremiah 31:13

Then the virgin will rejoice with dancing, while young and old men rejoice together. I will turn their mourning into joy, give them consolation, and bring happiness out of grief.

We serve a restoring God whose ultimate goal is to see us rejoicing! He never promised that sorrow would not visit us or that difficult times would avoid us. On the contrary, Jesus warned in John 16:33 that we would experience tribulation (trouble) in this world, but to have hope in Him because He has overcome the world.

In this verse, God is promising a day when He will bring His people out of captivity and back to their homeland. He will gather them from the nations where they were dispersed, and they will have new reason to rejoice. While they may return in tears over their loss, they will once again rejoice together as God turns their mourning to joy and consoles their hurt. They will once again be happy, and grief will no longer be their constant companion. There is hope to overcome loss, and it is found in Jesus!

God brings His people out of captivity – out of mourning – out of grief. Our rejoicing awaits only if we are willing to be led out. If we insist upon hanging onto grief, we will continue to hurt and feel loss. We must be willing to let go and come out.

Grief is an emotional process we encounter to help us deal with loss. Grief enables us to accept loss and takes us to a place of growth. If we refuse to let go of the loss and insist upon hanging on to what used to be, we will find ourselves caught in the grip of depression and unable to move forward. Acceptance moves us to grow, where God is able to do marvelous things in our lives if we are surrendered to Him.

If you are tired of grieving, believe that God has more for you. He is a restoring God and wants to see you rejoicing again. He can bring happiness out of your grief and use your loss for greater things than you ever imagined. Let Him lead you out of grief and into something that will make you dance and sing for joy! Accept the loss by accepting Jesus. He is your hope to overcome.

Have a blessed day!

Risk Coming Closer

Matthew 14:28-30

“Lord, if it’s You,” Peter answered Him, “command me to come to You on the water.”

“Come!” He said.

And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Take a close look at Peter’s request in this passage. If the seemingly familiar figure on the water in the midst of the storm was actually Jesus, Peter desired to go to Him. He asked permission to come to Him. Jesus affirmed His presence and invited Peter to come. Peter got out of his boat and began walking on the water toward Jesus.

Peter did not ask for authority over the wind and waves. He did not ask for power. He asked for permission to move toward Christ, and Jesus granted that permission. There may be times in life when we sense God’s presence, and we want to move toward Him in risk. While we begin to move toward Him, we can easily become distracted. We must remember that God will always move us toward Him. Anything that threatens our coming closer to His presence – sin, pride, self-indulgence, fear, anxiety – will cause us to sink. We must always consider whether an attitude, thought, or action would lead us closer to Christ or farther from Him. If we are already out on the water in the midst of a storm, the last thing we want to do is to turn toward something that takes us away from Christ! When God is leading you closer to Himself in a risky situation, the Devil is sure to try to distract you because he desires to see you sink. Keep your eyes firmly planted on Jesus, and walk only toward Him.

Jesus did not allow Peter to sink. He only allowed Peter to see that he could not walk on water in his own strength, and he could not focus on the things that frightened him. To walk on water, he had to stay focused on Christ and have faith in His calling. Jesus allowed Peter to experience the thrill of walking on water with the safety of the boat close by. His was not a “sink or swim” proposal. Peter’s invitation was “Come closer to me, and I will take care of you.” To walk on water as Peter did, he had to trust the One who invited him to come.

If you are considering a risk today, determine if it will draw you closer to Jesus Christ. Your focus should always be in moving toward Him. If you are simply trying to move closer to His presence, you will succeed. If, however, you are trying to impress others, you will fail. Whatever God is calling you to do will move you closer to Jesus Christ. Don’t be afraid to move toward His presence. God never promised you life without failure or complete happiness. He does, however, invite you to come closer to Him with the promise He is right there should you start to sink. How close to Jesus do you want to be? Your risks will show you.

Have a blessed day!

The Power of Proclaiming

Psalm 71:20-21

You caused me to experience many troubles and misfortunes, but You will revive me again. You will bring me up again, even from the depths of the earth. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.

David wrote this Psalm, perhaps in his old age. In it we find a man who had learned the pattern of God in his life. Although he had experienced trouble, God would not leave him in it. David had faith that God would revive him, bring him from the pit, increase his honor, and comfort him once again. His struggle was not the end of the story.

If we look only at the present, we will fail to capture God’s vision for our life. We must consider where we’ve been and the things God has placed in our heart in order to see where He is taking us. David knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that God was taking Him somewhere wonderful, and he proclaimed it. He didn’t accept his current troubles or misfortunes as permanent, and neither should we. Like David, we need to verbally state our faith that God is taking us to a better place. Our ability to see a clear path before us begins by believing it is there.

Stop whining and complaining about your current trouble, and start proclaiming God’s faithfulness to you. God has something better for you, and you will begin to see it as you walk forward in faith. Seek Him, and watch your direction become clear in the light of His presence. Anything He allows us to experience is designed to draw us closer to Him and to increase our faith. Don’t waste your pain; learn from it. Like any good parent or good teacher, God responds to faith – not whining and complaining. The journey to victory begins by believing God’s plans are good for you, as His word says, and stating it.

Have a blessed day!

No Darkness in God

1 John 1:5

Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him.

When someone has a dark side or a dark streak to them, we find it hard to trust. While things may appear well on the outside, we may not trust the motive of someone who has previously hurt us or others. This verse teaches us that there is absolutely no darkness in God, and we should be able to trust Him completely. If there is no darkness in God, our inability to trust at times must only reveal a dark side in us.

If we think there is a dark side to God or that His motives are impure in any way, we have incorrect theology. We do not serve a God who is out to get us or seek revenge in some way. While He does reserve vengeance for Himself, everything He does is just and good. He seeks vengeance only upon His enemies, who seek to harm His children. We must believe in the goodness of God – His love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness – if we will ever be able to trust Him. Otherwise, we will live a life always watching our backs and looking for the next shoe to fall as we try to move forward. If you have sinned against Him and need forgiveness, He has provided a sacrifice that is ever cleansing to our need, and all we need to do is repent and turn to Him.

Once we are in Christ, we have fellowship with God. In Christ, we are able to walk in the light. If we continue to walk in darkness, there is still some place where we have not fully trusted God’s love for us. Insistence on doing things your way proves you do not trust what the Father has for you. Know for certain that whatever He has for you is good, and there is no darkness in it. You will not be disappointed. Dare to trust Him completely, and begin to walk in the light in any area of your life that may be dark. As you submit your own darkness to Him, you will find His light will lead you to the solution you need. Let His light dispel your darkness, and you will find your path illuminated by His love for you. There is no better path to walk!

Have a blessed day!

With Power

Psalm 77:15

With power You redeemed Your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

We must never forget that God moves in power. Just because we see chaos in the world right now and our own little worlds may be stressful and frustrating, that does not mean God doesn’t have the power to change things. He is God. While all you may see in the natural is the power of the enemy, God has greater power, and He will not remain silent.

While God richly blessed Jacob and Joseph, we must remember that their own lives were filled with suffering and injustice. God’s power helped them overcome. They both had to endure difficult and deceiving times before God exalted them. They both suffered at the hands of their own family members, but God’s power worked those very things into the fabric of His destiny for them. He still used the bad things to lead them to the good things He planned for them.

God still redeems with power. He will use all the bad things we see now to lead us into our destiny. Hold on tightly to what you know to be true. With great power, God will move again and redeem His people.

Have a blessed day!

The Warrior’s Prayer

Psalm 20:4

May He give you what your heart desires and fulfill your whole purpose.

This psalm was written by David as a part of a song for the choir director. The first four verses of this psalm were records of intercession of the people on behalf of David as he prayed for victory in battle.  They asked God to give David that for which he was praying specifically.

Today, you and I are in a battle. Without a doubt, you must feel its stress upon you at times. Something in your life is missing or threatened. Something afflicts you, annoys you, antagonizes you, or outright attacks you. Something or, perhaps someone, doesn’t want you to fulfill your purpose in Christ. You face opposition, and it weighs heavily upon you at times. During those times, it is very important to pray specifically for what you want. Don’t lose hope, even though you are in the thick of battle and things are not looking well. Continue to pray, and surround yourself with intercessors who will lift you up and pray for you. 

If God has placed a desire in your heart, the devil will try to snuff it out because it is a threat to him.  Your God-given desires are linked to your purpose, and your purpose is to defeat the enemy and glorify God. Pray specifically for what you want. It is a powerful tool against your enemy! His greatest tactic against you is to try to steal your hope so you will cease to pray. Pray anyway, knowing that God will finish what He started in you. He designed you, and He will declare the victory for you. 

May God give you what your heart desires today so that He may fulfill His whole purpose in you. This is my prayer for you today as you battle your enemy. Pray this prayer for those around you and for those you love. David was the greatest warrior king Israel has ever known, and we serve His descendant today as our risen Savior! He intercedes for us daily, and we know God always answers His prayers. Be encouraged today, knowing that prayers of intercession are lifting you up and declaring God’s glory be revealed in your life.

Have a blessed day!

The Power of God’s Word

Isaiah 55:10-11

For just as rain and snow fall from heaven, and do not return there without saturating the earth, and making it germinate and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat, so My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please, and will prosper in what I send it to do.

God’s word is as powerful and as nurturing as the rain and snow that fall from heaven. Without moisture, everything would become dry and brittle, producing nothing. With the moisture from heaven, however, the earth can produce and flourish with vegetation that nourishes and keeps a multitude of ecosystems intact.

If God says it, you can count on it. He does not give empty statements or shallow promises. His word will accomplish what He sends it to do, and the best thing we can do is to saturate ourselves in it. Knowing His word will help us distinguish His voice from the voice of the enemy, who will often tamper with our emotions. You cannot trust your feelings, but you can trust God’s word.

If you are in a difficult or fearful situation, find a promise from God’s word and stand on it. Meditate on it, and claim its promise as your own. Begin to apply that word to your situation, and know that God is in the midst of it.

I have a personal favorite that I’ve shared many times. God gave this verse to me right after my husband died, and it absolutely exploded in my soul when I read it. Psalm 86:5-6a states, “A father to the fatherless and a defender of widows is God in His holy dwelling. He sets the lonely in families.”  He has certainly been a father to my son in times when he needed a father to intervene. God just turned things around in a way I never could. The word, “defender,” here also means “champion” or “judge.” God knows my heart and the intentions that lie within. I can trust Him to defend my case before the accuser.

God has a promise for you, too. Don’t let your feelings or your emotions take you captive or send you running in the wrong direction. Find God’s promise and stand on it. His word will not return to Him void. It will accomplish what He sends it to do.

Have a blessed day!

Seasons of Refreshing

Acts 3:19-20

Therefore repent and turn back, that your sins may be wiped out so that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and He may send Jesus, who has been appointed Messiah for you.

Peter was speaking to the crowd that gathered around to witness a lame man from birth who was healed in the name of Jesus. They were astonished at the sight, and Peter explained that this healing came because God glorified the name of Jesus, whom they had killed. Jesus was God’s gift to them, and they crucified Him. He urged them to repent and turn back to God so they could experience the forgiveness of sin and live a healed life spiritually.

Nothing burdens or enslaves us like sin does. Each time we engage in sin, we add another heavy block to the load we carry. The only way to free ourselves is to cast those burdens upon Jesus in repentance and accept the sacrifice He made for us on the cross. When we do, we find seasons of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord. His presence gives us peace because He has paid the price for our sin, and we can live without the heaviness. He paid the debt for us, so we don’t have to work as a slave to try to pay what we cannot afford. His death is our debt eliminator, and He gives us life in abundance in return!

If you are longing for a season of refreshing, repent and turn back to God. Lay down your burdens and look to Jesus. You will find a season of refreshing in His presence that will liberate you like nothing else. He died for you so you could live for Him. Don’t miss what He has in store for you. Let it go!

Have a blessed day!

Through Prayer and Praise

James 5:13

Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises.

Have you ever felt intense anguish of heart? That is the time to pray. Many people look for someone to whom they can pour their sorrows, and that is exactly who God wants to be for us. Others often shut down and bury their feelings, falling into depression. For these people, there is no hope. God is our hope, and He wants us to come to Him in these times. There is nothing too great for Him to answer, and there is nothing too small that is not important to Him. If it causes us anguish, it is serious enough to take to Him. Prayer allows us to release those negative emotions into God’s positive hands and get His perspective on the entire matter. He sees the beginning from the end and can intervene in a way that is always in our best interest.

Have you ever been so excited and cheerful that it just spilled over into everything you did? These are the times to sing praises to God. He brings the delightful times into our lives, and giving Him praise is the best response we can make. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him, and we can only appreciate it more when we give Him the glory for it. When praise comes naturally, it is most enjoyable! 

Whether today finds you suffering or cheerful, let it be known to God. He can turn the darkest times around and make the cheerful times even brighter. When our natural inclination is to turn to Him in whatever state we find ourselves, we know we have a relationship and not just religion. He wants to hear from you today, so make sure to make Him a priority. He made you a priority by sending Jesus, and a little conversation with Him will make your whole day better.

Have a blessed day!

PHOEBE Connections, Inc. is a 501(c)3 dedicated to enhancing the lives of widows by building relationships and helping them find new identity in Jesus Christ through serving others. We promote an atmosphere of fellowship, where the widow can connect with other widows to develop friendships and supportive relationships. 

PHOEBE Connections does not provide professional counseling. We are simply women who are engaged in the journey of widowhood and have learned from our experiences to look to Jesus Christ as our provider and sustainer

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