Author: ronda

When Time Stood Still

Joshua 10:13

And the sun stood still and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on its enemies.

Joshua 10 records the strange event when time stood still so Israel would have enough daylight to overcome the Amorites in the land of Canaan. The Amorites were so prominent in Canaan that they were also referred to as Canaanites in general. The Canaanites worshiped the gods of the sun and moon. In this great event, God caused the sun and moon to stand still on Israel’s behalf, proving that He is superior to other gods. 

God wants us to overcome our enemies. Our enemies are anything that hinders our relationship with Him. If it takes our attention away from God, it is our enemy. If it threatens His perfect will for our lives, it is our enemy. If it places itself in priority before Him, it is our enemy. If it tries to take from us what God has rightfully given us, it is our enemy. We must come to recognize a true enemy and know that God will make the sun and moon stand still if needed for us to overcome it. He is greater than any enemy we have, and all we have to do is call upon Him to silence the enemy’s influence in our lives so we can overcome it.

Notice that God did not overcome this enemy for the Israelites. He simply gave them the daylight so they could overcome and conquer. God will give us the daylight we need, but we still need to fight to overcome certain enemies, especially the ones we have invited into our lives. 

Today, pray for the wisdom to recognize true enemies in your life. Then, ask God for daylight to overcome them. You can’t fight in the dark. You need to see in order to attack. Ask Him for the wisdom and vision you need to overcome your enemies, and get on the warpath! God wants your victory even more than you do, and He can make the sun and moon stand still for you if necessary! He is on your side and willing to help you. 

Have a blessed day!

Shaking Things into Order

Haggai 2:6-9

For the LORD of Hosts says this: “Once more, in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all the nations so that the treasures of all the nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,” says the LORD of Hosts. “The silver and gold belong to Me” – the declaration of the LORD of Hosts. “The final glory of this house will be greater than the first,” says the LORD of Hosts. “I will provide peace in this place” – the declaration of the LORD of Hosts.

Haggai prophesied of a day when God will restore the wealth of the nations to His church. He owns all the silver and gold, but many have hoarded it for themselves. He will shake heaven and earth in a manner that will make the nations realize there is a God, and their governments are not Him! They will bring their wealth to honor God. Christ will be the rightful King upon the throne. 

We live in a day when it is dangerous to be a Christian in some parts of the world. Sadly, our own country is beginning to threaten the rights of Christians. After this shaking, however, God promises peace to His church. Before there is wealth in God’s house and before there is peace, there is shaking. 

The shaking comes to set things in proper order. When our foundations and fortresses crumble, we are forced to find refuge. Our priorities change out of necessity. In this shaking, God restores glory to His church. We should not fear this shaking but rest assured that God’s glory will be revealed in Christ, and we are hidden in Him. 

If things seem to be falling apart, realize that God may be shaking things into proper order. Don’t panic.  Praise Him! He is the God of the shaking, and He is the God of the glory to be revealed. Honor Him with all you have, and give your treasure to Him. He will align you with blessing and bring you peace because He has declared it so.

Have a blessed day!

Do You Love Me?

John 21:18

Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time. “Do you love Me?” He said, “Lord You know everything! You know that I love You.”

Have you ever failed so miserably you thought God could never use you again? I seem to find myself there repeatedly, and if anything good comes from my ministry, it has to be God doing a work I can’t even see. Peter thought the same thing after denying Christ three times when He was arrested. After the resurrection, Peter went back to his old way of life – fishing – because he thought he was finished in ministry. The problem was, he had no success in going back. Unless God blessed his efforts, he could not do the very thing he’d done all his life. Now that he had experienced Jesus, his former life no longer worked for him. Peter could do nothing but realize his own sin and accept the new life God was revealing to him by grace.

When Peter went fishing after the resurrection, he found himself unable to catch fish until Jesus yelled out from the shore to give him directions on where to cast the net. In an act of obedience, Peter brought in a very large haul of fish. Instead of relishing in his success, he immediately jumped in the water and swam to shore because he realized Who had given him the direction, and he was anxious to get to Jesus. Peter needed something from Jesus at that moment more than he needed the fish. He needed to know he was forgiven and restored back into ministry.

In restoring Peter, Jesus repeatedly asked one question – “Do you love me?” He followed with one directive – “Feed my lambs (sheep).” The question cut through Peter like a knife, and he was grieved when Jesus asked him a third time. He knew he had failed to express his love for Christ just before the crucifixion and had even denied Him. His lack of love was obvious. “Grieved” here means “in distress or to be sad.” The term gives an indication of heaviness. Without doubt, Peter felt remorse as Jesus asked the question repeatedly.

One might wonder why on earth Jesus would choose to trust Peter again. Had he not already done enough damage to the gospel by denying Jesus publicly? Who would listen to him now? Yet, Jesus instructed Peter to feed His sheep. If Peter truly loved Jesus, He would care about the things Jesus cared about – His sheep. Jesus turned Peter’s focus from his own worthiness or merit and redirected him to the real need – caring for sheep (followers).

If we are ever going to become effective in ministry, we must learn to care about the things Jesus cares about – His sheep (followers). Until we do, we will find ourselves denying Jesus and causing more damage than good. Jesus had invested three years of His life into Peter, and He knew from the beginning what Peter would do. Yet, He chose to use Peter to begin His church. With his first sermon, 3,000 people came to know Christ! God does amazing wonders through us when we take our eyes off ourselves – our successes and failures – and begin to care for His sheep because we love them and want them to know Jesus, too. If God chose to use only perfect people, He would be at a total loss to create a church on earth to worship Him. Instead, He uses flawed, self-centered, incapable people like you and me and empowers us through grace to be an extension of grace to this world.

Do you love Jesus? Feed His sheep. You can’t go back to an old way of living with any amount of effectiveness. God knows your shortcomings, your weaknesses, and your acts of outright rebellion. He has chosen to use you anyway, and His grace will lead you into an effectiveness like you’ve never known if you will surrender to His plan and stop trying to get Him to bless yours.

Have a blessed day!

Created to be Inhabited

Isaiah 45:18

For this is what the LORD says – God is the Creator of the heavens. He formed the earth and made it; He established it; He did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited – “I am the LORD, and there is no other.”

When God created the earth, He made it with a purpose. He did not create it to be empty; He intended to fill it. Anything He creates, He does so with a reason, a plan, and a purpose.

If God has brought you to an empty place, He is not yet finished with you. His plan is to inhabit you. The Hebrew word for “inhabited” here means “to sit down” as in to dwell or remain. It also has the implication of “to marry.” God wants to inhabit every empty place in your life. He is God, and He can fill you like no other!

Many times, we are guilty of trying to fill those empty places with other things or people. We look for something to fill a void in us that God created for Himself. He will be faithful to drive out anything that does not belong there, and you will find yourself empty again until you let Him fill you.

When God inhabits you, you have something to share with others. Without Him, you will drain others by sucking the life out of them. When God breathes life into you, however, you have something that attracts others to you. You have a joy and an exuberance that makes others want to share life with you.

Ezekiel 37 tells the story of a valley of dry bones. God told Ezekiel to prophesy over them, and the bones began to come together, form tendons, and flesh grew around them. While they became full bodies, they did not have life until God breathed in them. When He sent the breath, however, they arose a vast army! God’s breath gives us power to be victorious over anything that has come to defeat us!

Spend some time with God today, and let Him fill you. Let go of any fear, failure, or burden that hinders you from truly experiencing the joy His presence brings. He didn’t create you to leave you empty and alone. He created you to worship Him and to spread His life to others. Nothing is as fulfilling in your life as His presence! He can protect you, direct you, provide for you, encourage you, comfort you, and empower you like no other. He is the LORD, and there is no other!

Have a blessed day!

Go and Wait

Acts 1:4-5

While He was together with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “This,” He said, “is what you heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Jerusalem was the center of worship for the Jews and for the new followers of Christ. Jesus commanded His disciples not to leave the center of worship but to wait for the Father’s promise. They would soon receive the power they needed to accomplish their mission.

Waiting for the Father’s promise can be difficult when everything inside us is urging to move. Just before Jesus had told them to stay in Jerusalem, He told them to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). In effect, Jesus said, “Go…” then He instructed them to “wait…” How confusing and frustrating it is with a call to “Go,” and an instruction to “Wait.” For what were they waiting, and how would they know when it happened?

While the disciples had a call to “Go,” they did not yet have the power of the Holy Spirit to embark upon their task. They had to wait for the anointing to come upon them so their preaching would be effective. This is exactly what happened at Pentecost when a rushing, mighty wind invaded the room where they were gathered in prayer. Tongues of fire fell upon them, enabling them to preach the gospel in other languages so everyone who had gathered in Jerusalem was able to hear the gospel in their own language. They had no power to do this until the Holy Spirit fell. The Holy Spirit made their preaching and witnessing effective.

God will always give us a call before He empowers us to carry it through. We may know deep inside what we are to do, but we simply don’t have the power to make it happen in our own strength. We need a move of God to make our ministry effective. How will we know when it happens? Like the appearance of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, there will be no denying its presence! We fail when we try to minister in our own strength, but we cannot fail when the Holy Spirit works through us.

If you find yourself somewhere between, “Go,” and “Wait,” perhaps you should do the same thing the disciples did. Stay in the center of worship, and pray. You will simply exhaust yourself trying to do something in your own strength. God will give you the power to do whatever He has called you to do. Wait for His promise, and find yourself catapulted into effective ministry when the Spirit moves. He has not forgotten you. He just needs you to be ready to move when His Spirit takes over. His promise and power are worth the wait.

Have a blessed day!

Favor for the Unloved

Genesis 29:31-35

When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. Leah conceived, gave birth to a son, and named him Reuben, for she said, “The LORD has seen my affliction; surely my husband will love me now.”

She conceived again, gave birth to a son, and said, “The LORD heard that I am unloved and has given me this son, also.”  So she named him Simeon.

She conceived again, gave birth to a son, and said, “At last, my husband will become attached to me because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore, he was named Levi.

And she conceived again, gave birth to a son, and said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” Therefore, she named him Judah. Then Leah stopped having children.

God saw that Leah was unloved, so He showed her His favor and made her fruitful. In those days, the birth of a son indicated God’s blessing upon a marriage. The birth of four sons made quite a cultural and religious statement of God’s favor. While Rachel had Jacob’s heart, she was barren and childless. Her shapely form may have gained Jacob’s attention, but Leah produced children in abundance for him.  How embarrassing for Rachel! She was Jacob’s true love, but God seemed to favor Leah – the wife of obligation. How could this be fair?

Leah mistakenly thought that giving Jacob sons would win his heart. She named the first Reuben, meaning, “see ye a son,” illustrating the continuation of the lineage through that son. She knew God had seen her misery and had blessed her. Surely Jacob would love her now that she had blessed him and God had shown His favor on their union. God even sent more sons. She named the second Simeon, which means, “hearing.” She realized God had heard she was unloved. This makes me think Leah must have heard people talk about her situation, knowing Jacob’s affections were fully focused on Rachel.  Perhaps, she had even heard Jacob assuring Rachel that he loved her, regardless of Leah’s child.

Jacob’s heart, however, was not moved by sons. He continued to be devoted to Rachel. God gave Leah a third son. She named him Levi, meaning, “attached.” It seems she had given up on love altogether and now hoped that Jacob would at least be attached to her through three sons. With the birth of the fourth son, Leah did not acknowledge Jacob at all. She simply praised God and named him Judah, which means, “praise.”  She might never gain the love of her husband, but she would praise God for His love toward her.

We cannot make anyone love us. Love is a voluntary action of the heart that cannot be earned. While Leah would never earn Jacob’s love, she finally realized that God loved her, and she chose to praise Him.  We should follow her example. When those we love do not seem to love in return, we can praise God, who loves us unconditionally. He shines His favor upon us, making us fruitful in the areas where He has called us. His favor can do things for us that we could never do on our own, and we do not have to earn it. He freely grants it to us through Christ. 

Leah praised God at the birth of Judah. God chose Judah’s lineage to birth His own Son into the world.  No son born to gain Jacob’s affection would produce Christ. When we can praise God for His blessings in our lives and not see them as a means for personal gain, He can use those blessings of praise to do mighty things! Praise God for what He has done in your life today, and turn your heart toward Him. His blessings were not meant to make others love you; He blessed you to demonstrate His love for you. Let go of any desire for man’s love, and relish God’s undying and unrelenting love for you. Praise the God who grants favor to the unloved and makes them fruitful!

Have a blessed day!

Grab Your Shovel

1 Chronicles 16:11

Search for the LORD and for His strength; seek His face always.

Does Scripture ever seem to contradict itself to you? Many atheists, agnostics, and scientific thinkers would agree and discredit the Bible altogether. Why would God say one thing in one place and something just the opposite in another? These are invitations to read further and dig deeper, so grab your shovel.

This verse encourages us to search the LORD for strength, and most of us can readily admit we are weak in some areas. We need His strength to carry us through difficult or challenging times, and we can count on His strength in our weaknesses. This verse, however, also instructs us to seek His face always. Yet, in Exodus 33:20, God told Moses that no one can see Him and live. He would allow Moses to see only his backside after He had already passed by him. If no one can see God’s face and live, why are we instructed to seek His face always?

In reading both Scriptures, the word, ”face,” is used to describe two different things. Moses asked God to show him His glory. He wanted to see what God was doing and what would come of it all. God would not show Moses exactly what He was doing, but He agreed to show him where He had been working. We will never be able to see exactly what God doing while He is in the process. He is working according to His plan, and He works in the hearts of men. If we could see His holiness and His power up close and personal in action, it would be too much for us to handle or comprehend. He does, however, allow us to see the results of His handiwork. That way, He can accomplish His goals without our interference!

The use of the word, “face,” in 1 Chronicles 16:11 is different. Here, we are instructed to seek God’s presence. By seeking His face, we are seeking to have relationship and communication with Him. To turn His back would indicate God had left. We never want to find ourselves in a place where God has left. His blessing comes with His presence, and unless He is in it, we don’t want it!

It always helps to dig deeper when we don’t fully understand something. God promises to give us wisdom if we will ask. Sometimes, we might have to wait on an answer, but He is faithful. I firmly believe that He gives us questions and leaves things in mystery at times just so we will grab our shovels and dig for some buried treasure. We find such things when we seek His face and are willing to remain in His presence a little longer. Oh, the things a Father will do to keep His child’s attention!

Have a blessed day!

His Eye is on You

His Eye is on You

Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and show you the way to go; with My eye on you, I will give counsel.

Have you ever received counsel from a friend or even a professional that seemed “canned?” Perhaps, it sounded well but seemed vague or impersonal – like a one-size-fits-all statement not custom made for your situation. Shortly after my husband died, I remember opening up to a close friend about some anxieties I had about being a widow and an only parent. Her immediate “Christian” response was, “Just trust God.”  From what I could tell at the moment, I was trusting God with every fiber of my being, but I still had questions and pains that were calling for clarity – or at least someone who understood. While my friend meant well, she was a woman with a full family intact, and everything in her life was thriving at the moment. She could understand my situation about like I could build a rocket to Mars! Yes, I needed to trust God, but she had no credibility in making a blanket statement. What I learned from our conversation is that trusting God requires seeking Him with diligence with the understanding that He understands us like no other.

There are some things that only God can show us. While we may seek answers from others, no one else can give us an answer that God has specifically for us. We are to seek Him and not His provision. This verse assures us that God will instruct us and show us the way to go. Our path may be very different than that of someone else in our same situation. God’s plan for you is unique and personal, and what worked for someone else is not necessarily a formula you can apply with any amount of success. God has His eye on you and knows just what lies ahead of you. He will give you wise counsel on the specific path you are to take. His word to you is not some one-size-fits-all blanket statement; it is designed specifically for you with your needs and purpose in mind.

Are you struggling with questions today? If so, spend some time just seeking God’s presence. Learn to hear and follow His voice. He has His eye on you, and He will give you counsel designed specifically for you. Don’t expect someone else to show you what only God can reveal to you. A good counselor will always point you to Christ, rather than try to be Christ for you.

Have a blessed day!

Restored by Favor

Psalm 80:3

Restore us, God; look on us with favor, and we will be saved.

When tragedy, loss, or sin has ravaged our lives, we have a need to be restored. Our lives are not fully functioning with large, gaping holes left from the storm that hit us, and we need God to restore us where we are broken. Regardless of what the world may tell us, we cannot restore ourselves. We require the healing touch of God that can make us whole and give us life again.

This verse reveals the key to our restoration – the favor of God. With God’s favor on our lives, we can do anything. We can accomplish things we never dreamed possible or fulfill lifelong dreams. God’s favor blesses us to overcome adversity and opens doors we could never open in our own strength. His favor also directs us in the new plan He has for our restored being.

When God restores, He does so with a new purpose in mind. While our old self is shattered, God re-purposes us and creates something brand new from the fragments of the old life. Just as we might restore an old piece of furniture for a new use, God can restore our lives to change direction. If we insist or expect the old life to return, we will fail to function in the new life He has for us. With restoration and God’s favor upon us, we must be willing to leave the past behind and operate in a new dimension and a new purpose.

If you are still shattered from loss, ask God to restore you. Begin to expect His favor upon you to do the things you must now face. God may not show you what He is doing up front, but He will reveal things to you along the way that clearly give you new direction. Just follow those guideposts, and allow Him to work in your life. You will be pleasantly surprised with what He can do with your fragments as He makes you whole again!

Have a blessed day!

Focus on the Good

Philippians 4:8

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise – dwell on these things.

Paul teaches us in this verse to always expect the best. Our natural tendency may be to expect the worst of things, but God always gives us His best. He proved this when He sent His only begotten Son to die for us on the cross. While others may very well let us down at times, we should concentrate on the good and believe God to act on our behalf.

I must admit that I’m guilty of looking at the worst possible scenario at times and planning how to handle the disappointment. This is not how God wants us to walk through life. He wants us to look at every situation with the eyes of faith that nothing is impossible with Him and trust Him with the result. I’m also guilty of expecting the worst in my own child, and I should not be surprised if that is what I get. God, however, always expects the best from us, and I’m learning to expect the best from my child. God is with me in my parenting, and He has a plan for us. I must trust Him with that plan. Where I am weak, He is strong. My son needs someone to believe in him and to encourage him to trust God. I can’t do that for him if I’m always expecting the worst.

If you are guilty of looking for the worst to happen, stop and repent today. Concentrate on the good in every situation, and expect God for the best. Whether our glass is half full or half empty depends upon our own perspective of things. Even if we do see our glass as half empty, God only fills empty places. Expect the best from Him. Life is too short to focus on what might go wrong when we serve a God who can make everything right.

Anxiety occurs when we try to figure out the future. God has a plan, and we should trust Him to do above and beyond all we could ask, hope, or imagine in our lives. If we focus on the good things He has already done, we can have faith that we will see good things in the days to come.

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

© PHOEBE Connections, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Website designed by Bear Web Design