Author: ronda

Shiloh

1 Samuel 3:21

The LORD continued to appear in Shiloh, because there He revealed Himself to Samuel by His word.  And Samuel’s words came to all Israel.

When God spoke to Samuel, He revealed Himself to Samuel. God does the same for us today.  When He speaks to us, He reveals a part of His character to us that draws us closer to Him and enables us to know Him more intimately. We can confirm God’s voice to us by His word. There we will find Scripture that validates the very part of His nature that speaks to us. 

If we are feeling guilty and condemned, God will speak His grace to us. If we are feeling rejected and unloved, God will speak His acceptance and unfailing love to us. If we feel hopeless and that the enemy has triumphed, God will speak to us from His greatness. Whatever our area of need may be, God fills that void with an attribute of His character that overcomes a particular weakness in us.

Notice that the LORD continued to appear in Shiloh because there He revealed Himself to Samuel. Shiloh means tranquil. God spoke to Samuel in a tranquil place – a safe and peaceful place. We often try to hear from God in the midst of raging storms and chaos. Here we are tempted to act quickly and irrationally. We fail to hear God speak when there is too much noise and distraction in our lives. God chooses to speak in a tranquil place, where we can be sure it is His voice we are hearing. 

Today, seek a quiet, tranquil place to hear from God. Don’t let the pressure from trying circumstances dictate your faith. Find yourself a Shiloh, and determine to meet with God daily in that place. You will find He will meet you and reveal more of His amazing character to you to meet every need you have. 

Have a blessed day!

The Father Himself Loves You

John 16:33

I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.

Jesus acknowledged to His disciples that they would suffer. He promised the same to us; we will go through difficult times during this earthly lifetime. He doesn’t, however, leave us alone to face these times. He alerted us to the fact that suffering would come so that when it does, we can have peace in Him because He has conquered the world. Because of His victory, we can have victory, too.

In the previous verses we find “these things” Jesus told the disciples. In verse 27, He assured them of the Father’s love for them because they had believed He came from the Father. Knowing that the Father, Himself, loves us should give us peace. Pain and suffering have a way of convincing us that God is mad at us or that we are being punished. God never withholds His love from us; on the contrary, He lavishes His love upon us and finds ways to extend grace to us. Every road of suffering we face is laced with grace to get us through it. We need only to respond to that grace and let His love permeate us. When we do, we find ourselves changed on the other end because of it. 

You can have peace in the midst of chaos today because the Father, Himself, loves you. You can have courage to face difficult times or to undertake a challenging situation because the Father, Himself, loves you. Jesus faced the cross knowing that the Father loved Him, and He conquered the world. Know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God loves you today, and you will find yourself becoming a conqueror, as well.

Have a blessed day!  

Sorrow That Turns to Joy

John 16:22

So you also have sorrow now. But I will see you again. Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will rob you of your joy.

Jesus explained to His disciples that He would soon go away, and they would not see Him. A little while later, however, they would see Him again. Jesus would soon die, and the world would rejoice. He would rise again on the third day, and the disciples would see Him again. When they did, they would see Him in His glory and know that the Father had raised Him from the dead. At that point, no one would be able to rob them of their joy because of the assurance they would have.

When God births something into this earth, it causes pain. If God is truly moving in us, we will experience hardship and suffering for a little while. When that thing is birthed, however, we will rejoice because we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that it is God’s work in us that has come to life. No one can steal our joy because we know what God has done. Our testimony of Him becomes even stronger, which is exactly why the apostles were able to change their world while facing persecution and death. They knew Jesus was really God’s Son because of their own experience with Him, and nothing could change their minds. They could face whatever was ahead because of their encounter with the risen Savior.

What is God birthing in you? If you are a mother, you know that a baby is coming. As you progress in your pregnancy, others begin to see that a baby is coming. Toward the end of that pregnancy, things start to become very uncomfortable, and when you are in labor you experience the pain and pressure of delivery. Once that baby is born, however, all your suffering seems like nothing as you hold that precious newborn in your arms. Your attention immediately moves away from your personal pain to taking care of the new birth God has given you. So it is when He is birthing a new work in you. First you know it, then others begin to see something is happening in you. Toward the end, you become very uncomfortable and begin longing for the change that is coming. The birthing process itself may be very painful, but the end result is a joyful experience that assures you God is at work in your life, and nothing can convince you otherwise.

God is at work in your life to produce a joy that no one can take away from you. Whatever God has placed in you will come out and bring you joy, but you must struggle with the flesh to produce it. His work is greater than your flesh, and it is worth anything you have to suffer to receive it. When the pain and suffering of life seem almost too much to bear, know for certain that you will see Jesus again, and what you are enduring now is well worth the miracle God is bringing to you and has already placed in you. Look forward with hope and great expectation because you will see Him again!

Have a blessed day!

Painful and Abrupt Praise

Psalm 89:12

North and south – You created them. Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Your name.

North and south are locations on the globe that can be measured. God created them and put them in their proper places. He even divided the earth evenly with an equator to help us measure their distances. He was precise in His measurements, and we can see the glory of His creation by measuring them.

Tabor and Hermon are mountains in Israel. They each have a special meaning. Tabor means “pain.” Hermon means “abrupt,” but it is from a root word meaning “secluded.” According to this verse, the painful and abrupt circumstances of our lives that evolve from seclusion shout for joy at God’s name. In this, we can rejoice, knowing our pain and abrupt emotions cry out to God in praise!

When you cry out to God in pain, He sees it as praise. That doesn’t mean He enjoys your pain, but He sees your cry as an act of honor toward Him in faith that He will act. When you belong to Christ, the pain inside you knows to shout with joy to the God of our salvation because He is almighty and can change your mourning to dancing just by speaking the word!

Tabor and Hermon are mountains, meaning they are very large. Regardless of how great your pain is or how strong an abrupt experience may have been, we serve a God of great hope that is greater than our circumstances! When the pain and abrupt emotions of your life can praise God, you can expect Him to act on your behalf. Cry out to Him today, and shout for joy because of what He can and will do in your life. God is precise in all He has created, and one day you will be able to measure the bad experiences with the good and find they don’t even compare to the joy He has for you.

Have a blessed day!

The Miracle of the Ordinary

Isaiah 53:2

He grew up before Him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground. He had no form or splendor that we should look at Him, no appearance that we should desire Him.

This verse is a prophecy regarding Jesus Christ. A root out of dry ground is a miracle of life because roots require moisture to grow. Jesus was, in fact, a miracle birth since He was born of a virgin. Yet, He had no outward indication that He was a living, breathing, talking miracle. There was nothing in the outward that would draw people to Him. The implication here is that He was an ordinary looking man.

Our miracles may look ordinary to others, but we who have experienced God’s providential hand know otherwise. Many did not believe Christ nor receive Him because they did not see the miracle of Who He was. The Holy Spirit had to reveal it to them.  If you want to experience a miracle, you must be willing to allow God to work in the ordinary. Listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling you in the normal, routine, daily grind of your life. Like a root out of dry ground, God can bring new life out of places you thought were dead.

He looked like an ordinary man, yet His name is still preached today, some 2000+ years later. He died and rose again, yet nothing in His outward appearance would have indicated His destiny. Never underestimate the power of God to work in the ordinary. 

Take a close look at your own dry ground today, and ask God to bring new life to it. Realize that miracles are not always obvious. Trust God to work in the ordinary things of your life, and watch for Him to reveal His handiwork that no one else can see. You will find Him all around you – alive, active, and working His purpose in you.

Have a blessed day!

Rejecting Jezebel

1 Kings 21:25

Still, there was no one like Ahab, who devoted himself to do what was evil in the LORD’s sight, because his wife Jezebel incited him.

Just what did Ahab do that was so evil? He married the daughter of the King of Sidon and brought Baal worship to Israel. He didn’t rid Israel of the worship of YAWEH; he simply added a new religion to the mix. Instead of devoting their lives to the true worship of God, the Israelites were now free to worship more than one god and, hopefully, get the best of everything. What could possibly be so bad about this?

Sidon was a very rich city that was devoted to Baal worship. Baal was both a rain god and a fertility god. By providing rain, he blessed the crops of the land and brought wealth. As a fertility god, he made households fruitful in number. Baal was a symbol of wealth and prosperity, and those who worshipped him sought his favor to enjoy the pleasures of life. There was no need to depend upon YAHWEH for the things of life if they could appeal to Baal to provide them. There was no need to endure suffering or to do what was right in God’s sight if Baal could give them what they wanted. Baal provided a quick fix to temporary pleasures, while YAWEH required their full submission and demanded trust and dependence upon Him for eternal life. Sadly, many in Israel chose to worship Baal.

Today, we see Baal worship alive and well in our own country. While we may not bow to an idol, we have added other things to our worship of God. We may still be Christians, but we tend to seek the ease and comfort of a worldly life, and we bow to the things that will provide them for us, rather than trusting God to give us what we need. In fact, anything that diminishes our dependence upon God to bless and multiply our lives can be considered a form of Baal worship.

Baal worship also included infant sacrifices. The spirit of Baal feeds upon the blood of innocent children. The temple worship for Baal often included rituals of orgies and prostitution in order to satisfy the god of fertility. Children conceived during these rituals were usually sacrificed in the fire of Molech, as well as newborn children of people wanting to satisfy this beastly god. These horrendous sacrifices were accompanied by loud music and drums in order to drown the sounds of the cries of the burning babies. This evil was normal and encouraged by Jezebel in order to satisfy her gods so she could live the illegitimate life of wealth and power she craved. Just look at the political scene in America today to see glaring resemblances.

How could Ahab have brought such a detestable thing to God’s people? He did it through the influence of a woman – a very wicked woman. He allowed her to influence him more than he allowed God to govern his life. In this, we find the downfall of both the man and the nation. She had no power in Israel except through Ahab, and she sought to rule through him. He was a weak man and a weak king, and his weakness brought destruction to his entire lineage.

Don’t allow the pleasures of life or the influence of this world to destroy your inheritance in God. Devote yourself fully to Him, and rid yourself of any dependence that causes you to stumble. God is your source, and He is greater than anything or anyone that provides you with a quick fix to life’s problems. Allow God to strengthen you in your weakness and to heal your hurts. Only then will you find the answers you really need. Reject the influence of that woman – Jezebel – and the manipulative schemes she uses to entice you. Her lure is dangerous, but she has no power unless you give it to her. Instead of increasing your gods, increase your time in God’s presence. The more you depend upon Him, the less attractive the call of the world will be.

Have a blessed day!

God Sees Trouble and Grief

Psalm 10:14-15

But You Yourself have seen trouble and grief, observing it in order to take the matter into Your hands. The helpless entrusts himself to You; You are a helper of the fatherless.

The Psalmist is acknowledging that God sees our trouble and grief and will surely act. This is a psalm of trust in a God who knows exactly what is happening and has the power and willingness to do something about it. In fact, God watches the matter in order to take it into His own hands.

God is fully aware of our helpless conditions. The fatherless are unprotected, but God acts on their behalf. He is a father to the fatherless and a defender of widows, according to Psalm 68:5. He acts on behalf of those who cannot help themselves.

There is nothing more frightening for most of us than vulnerability – knowing there is great danger in front of us and being able to do nothing about it. The vulnerable are the enemy’s prey. In fact, he looks for vulnerable places in our lives to attack. While we may try to protect ourselves, we are no match for his schemes. We must learn to surrender these vulnerable places to God, knowing with full assurance He is strong where we are weak. He is our Protector.

If you’ve sensed a vulnerable place in your life, take heart and place your trust in a God who sees your trouble and your grief. He has observed it and is ready to take action against it. God specializes in being strong where we are weak so He may display His glory in us. He is truly a father to the fatherless and a defender of widows. Take the matter out of your hands and place it in His. He’s been watching it for a while, and He knows exactly what to do. He’s just waiting for you to give it to Him!

Have a blessed day!

Believe for Yourself

John 4:41-42

Many more (Samaritans) believed because of what He said. And they told the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this really is the Savior of the world.”

The woman at the well had heard from Jesus, and she knew who He was because of her personal experience with Him. When she returned to the town, many people believed what Jesus said because of the change they saw in her. Although her experience with Jesus was life-changing, these Samaritans still needed their own personal experience with Jesus to know that He was their Savior, too.

We can all see how God has changed the lives of others and become awed over their personal testimonies, but unless we encounter Jesus and have a personal testimony ourselves, we are still in need of a Savior. Jesus came so that each of us might have a personal relationship with God, the Father, through Him. We must all confess our sin and submit to His lordship. When we do, we take His sacrifice personally and begin to develop a personal relationship with Him.

While Jesus died for the whole world, He also died for you, personally. Therefore, take Him personally. When Mary Magdalene finally recognized Jesus as the risen Savior, she cried out, “Rabbouni!” This name means “Master Teacher,” but it has the impression of a personal Master Teacher. She realized that Jesus was her personal Savior and that His death and resurrection were meant for her. Unless we make His sacrifice personal, we are still in need of a Savior. Like the Samaritans and the woman at the well, someone else’s testimony may lead you to Christ, but you still have to believe for your own personal testimony.

Have you seen God move greatly in the lives of others? Know for certain that He wants to move in your life, too. Have you witnessed great testimonies of faith? God wants to give you a personal testimony of faith, as well. Do you believe God can provide a miracle for someone else? Rest assured that He can give you a miracle, too. In fact, the word for testimony in Hebrew carries the implication of “do it again.” We must begin to believe God for ourselves and stop living through the testimonies of others. Wake up to what God is doing in your own life, and begin to believe Him for the things He has placed in your heart. Jesus is your personal Savior, and He wants to increase your faith. Your testimony is the one God wants to bring to life. Spend some time with Him today, and believe Him for what you need. What He has done for someone else, He can do again in your life!

Have a blessed day!

Hiding in the Rock

Matthew 24:15-16

So, when you see the abomination that causes desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains!

Daniel first warned of the abomination that causes desolation, and his prophecy was fulfilled in Antiochus IV, who desecrated the temple and set up an idol to Zeus. Zeus was a Greek god who cared for the underdog – the poor and needy of society. He was considered to be the father of gods and men and was very powerful. As a result of his great power, he was very popular with women and was known for his adulterous affairs. The very thought that Zeus would be honored in God’s temple is an abomination to everything holy!

Both Daniel and Jesus warned of a coming ruler who would take charge of the temple and fill it with his immoral ideology. Antiochus IV is believed by most biblical scholars to be a forerunner of the coming Anti-Christ, who will seek to make himself god to all who dwell on earth. When he comes to power, those in Judea – those who still look to God’s word as holy and true – must flee to the mountains.

During the rule of Antiochus IV, many Christians took shelter in Petra in the mountains. Petra means rock. They climbed higher and hid themselves in the rock. They did not compromise their beliefs with the prevailing majority. They sought refuge by clinging to God’s word.

We live in a day when the spirit of Anti-Christ can be seen and felt all around us. While he has not yet been revealed, his immoral philosophy has penetrated our culture. We must never let culture determine our concept of right and wrong. God’s word must be our standard. In the end, He is the one who will judge us, and what answer will we give when we stand before Him? Current majority opinion will not help us then.

I challenge you today to climb higher and hide yourself in the Rock – the Rock of Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him. While this message is offensive to many, it remains true. What God calls as sin is still sin, even if culture accepts it. As Christians, we must realize we are made in His image, and we cannot create a god in our own image to suit us. The god we create will be the very god who ultimately destroys us. Seek refuge in Christ today, and let His grace transform you. Do not be conformed to this world or its philosophies of right and wrong. True Christianity is about transformation – not conformation.

Have a blessed day!

Created for Glory

Isaiah 62:2

Nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory. You will be called by a new name that the LORD’s mouth will announce.

You were never created to live in isolation, hidden from the world and excluded from relationship. You were created to shine among nations, depicting the glory of Jesus Christ in full relationship with Him.  God will bring forth what He has been investing in you for years and launch you into action. To hide in the comfort of your obscurity will be to deny your purpose. Get ready to spring forth!

Others may try to define you, but God will call you by a new name He has chosen just for you. You cannot model or judge your calling by that of another because what He has designed for you is specific to you. When He brings you forth, you will be fashioned as one of a kind and able to do exactly what He has called you to do. You are not a cookie-cutter, production line manufactured item. You are uniquely and wonderfully made by your Creator, and you will shine among the nations in the name and calling He will announce for you.

Your new identity in Christ is something that will minister to kings. Never underestimate what God can do with a life fully committed to Him. He may mold you and shape you in a dark, hidden, and confining place, but He will release you to the nations to display the glory of Christ. Get excited and get ready! Your moment to shine is coming!

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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