Author: ronda

Blessing and Favor

Psalm 5:12

For You, LORD, bless the righteous one. You surround him with favor like a shield.

Jesus Christ is the righteous one, and we are given His righteousness in exchange for our sin when we surrender our lives to Him. If we are in Christ, we are protected as the righteous in Christ. As long as we are in Christ, we can count on God’s blessing and His favor to protect us.

God’s favor acts as a shield of protection around us. While the Devil may attack and throw flaming darts of temptation and trouble our way, his weapons are no match for God’s favor. In fact, God often counters the enemy’s attack by blessing us. He can put us in just the right place at just the right time to avoid the enemy’s destruction or to create good from the evil intended for us. Romans 8:28 assures us that all things work together for the good of those who love God, so every attack from the enemy only serves to move us into a greater blessing when surrendered to God’s sovereignty.

If you sense the enemy trying to attack you today, understand you have a shield of favor around you. Anything the Devil throws at you can be turned to good in God’s hand. Focus on your favor – not your frustration. Fix your eyes on Jesus and move forward. Blessing and favor are yours!

Have a blessed day!

Godly Hunger

Proverbs 10:3

The LORD will not let the righteous go hungry, but He denies the wicked what they crave.

We all have a hunger inside of us. Our bodies crave food when we are physically hungry. Our flesh or carnal nature craves temporary satisfaction from a deeper hunger of the soul, which only God can fill. God gives us a godly hunger for the things that will draw us closer to Him and a craving to be satisfied by fulfilling our purpose in Him. We are all hungry for something, and that craving can only be properly met by God.

God will not let the righteous continue to hunger. He uses that hunger to draw him/her into the place where He can best fill the aching void. Then, He begins to pour His blessings and provision into the empty place that was created specifically for His filling. When God gives the hunger, He already has the provision for it waiting an appointed time.

For the wicked, however, God has no provision. When the wicked get what they think they want, they are still hungry. God does not satisfy evil desires that oppose Him. Godly hunger is designed to teach us reliance upon Him and submission to His will. If we could satisfy our inner needs by our own hands, we would not need Him. The creation is and always has been dependent upon the Creator.

If you have an inner craving that you cannot satisfy, turn it over to God. He has given you that craving to draw you closer to Him. He has your provision waiting. Stop trying to meet that need through illegitimate means. Proverbs 10:22 teaches us that God’s blessing enriches us and adds no struggle. If you try to soothe your craving with a temporary fix that you have to manufacture on your own, you will find yourself with more problems than you can imagine. Bring your hunger to God, and let Him fill your every need. He didn’t let 5,000 people go hungry on a mountainside when they came to hear Him teach, and He won’t let you go hungry when you long to hear from Him. He will take whatever you have and multiply it beyond your imagination when you fully submit it to Him. Miracles begin with a hunger and a willingness to surrender all we have to God.

Have a blessed day!

According to Your Faithful Love

Psalm 51:1

Be gracious to me, God, according to Your faithful love; according to Your compassion, blot out my rebellion.

I’m very thankful that God deals with us according to His character and not ours. He is love, and He will be gracious to us according to His faithful love toward us. Because of His great compassion toward us, He will gladly blot out our rebellion. He does this for those who repent and turn to Him. Everything He allows in our lives is for the purpose of drawing us to Him in relationship.

We must also remember, however, that God is just. For those who do not repent and turn to Him, He will judge. Turning your back on God is never a good idea because, frankly, you really can’t handle it on your own. Sooner or later, you will need a Savior, and calling to Him while He may be found is wisdom and humility packed together.

If you’ve come to the end of yourself and have realized your need for God, turn to Him today. He is not waiting to punish you; He is waiting with open arms to wrap you in His loving embrace. He will deal with you according to His faithful love toward you and not according to your sin. He dealt with your sin on the cross, and He is more than willing to blot out your rebellion and never remember it again. You can have a brand new start with Him and enjoy the richness of His grace and freedom from guilt and condemnation. That is a life worth living.

Have a blessed day!

The Same Holy Spirit

Galatians 2:8

For He who was at work with Peter in the apostleship to the circumcised was also at work with me among the Gentiles.

Peter was the first apostle to preach after Jesus ascended into heaven and the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost. Although he had previously denied Christ to avoid his own persecution, Jesus restored him to ministry and ordained him to lead the church after Him. After his first sermon, 3,000 people were saved – an undeniable anointing of the Holy Spirit!

Paul recognized that the same Holy Spirit that worked in Peter to minister to the Jews worked in him to minister to the Gentiles. He did not envy Peter’s work nor try to compete with him. He simply preached the message the Holy Spirit gave him and moved in the direction He led him. The end result was an evangelistic explosion of new churches and the writing of one third of the New Testament, which still speaks to us today. God worked through Peter, and He worked through Paul to minister to different groups in different ways but with the same anointing of the Holy Spirit.

That same Holy Spirit works in us, by the way. He still anoints people and moves them to draw others into God’s kingdom because that is His job. We do not have to compete with other people, other ministries, or other personalities. We simply need to trust that He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it, according to Philippians 1:6.

Do you see someone else being blessed in their personal life or in ministry? The same Holy Spirit that works in them also works in you. Don’t focus upon that person or the blessing. Focus upon what the Holy Spirit is saying to you. He will guide you into His place of anointing, where you will be able to fulfill God’s purpose for your life. God is working in your life, and He has much planned for you. Don’t miss it by concentrating on someone else’s blessing. Grab all He has for you, and move forward with purpose and calling.

Have a blessed day!

God’s Growth Plan

Acts 2:42

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayers.

I’ve seen many churches and ministries try to find plans to grow through different programs. The thought is, “If we have this kind of program, people will come.” Programs, however, don’t grow churches – people do. People want to be in a place where they feel connected and fed by the Holy Spirit. When those two things come together, you have potential for growth. Rather than investing in programs, you invest in people to multiply.

This verse reveals the formula used by the early church to grow. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching (Bible study), fellowship, to the breaking of bread (meal), and to prayers. While this may seem too simple, it is what God used to multiply their congregation. These four simple things create an atmosphere of community, where people feel safe, loved, and accepted.

These first believers also shared with one another. They sold their possessions and distributed to all who had need. In other words, they took care of each other. They kept their lives simple and met together every day in the temple complex. They built real relationships with one another as a church family. The essence of community fostered their growth.

While it may be difficult for us to meet every day, we can build an atmosphere of family or community within our local churches and our ministries. We must simply devote ourselves to God’s word, to fellowship, to eating together, taking care of needs within the group, and through prayers for one another and for our ministries. When these things are present, God adds to the number daily. People are not looking for programs. They are looking for community and a sense of belonging, which can be especially hard in our world of computers, cell phones, television, and other things that just seem to isolate and distract. We don’t need more stuff; we need each other.

Pledge today to simplify your life as much as possible, and begin to invest in the people God brings your way. Pray for God to lead you to a place where you belong and empower you to help build a sense of community in that place for others. God reveals Himself through community and uses it to build and strengthen His people. You will soon find your life rich with people and enjoying more of what God has for you.

Have a blessed day!

Rest and Not Retaliate

Psalm 3:3-6

But You, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, and the One who lifts up my head. I cry aloud to the LORD, and He answers me from His holy mountain. Selah. I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the LORD sustains me. I am not afraid of the thousands of people who have taken their stand against me on every side. 

David was not intimidated by the large crowd that threatened to overtake his throne. His own son, Absalom, retaliated against him for the improper handling of the rape of his sister. David knew God had made a covenant with him and had placed him on the throne. If God put him there, no man, crowd, or angry mob could remove him. God would be a shield around him to protect His purpose and bring glory to what He had established. God is a jealous God who does not share His glory with another. To try to steal it would bring imminent disaster. Surely, those who plotted against David did not know with Whom they were truly fighting! 

No doubt, David was hurt by what happened. He was betrayed by his own son and by his own people. He did not desire a war with his son, whom he truly loved. Instead of retaliating, David chose to surrender his pain to the One who had the power to overcome his emotions and lift his head in victory over his feelings. He knew enough to cry out loud to God and that God would answer. His faith was in God and not his own power, authority, or position.

Notice the Selah between the verses. It is a musical pause. David cried out to God and paused for Him to respond. He rested in knowing that the battle belonged to the LORD and not to him. He chose not to worry, plot, scheme, or retaliate. He simply went about the business God gave him and rested in knowing that if God placed him on the throne, He would sustain him. 

The same is true for us. God saved us by His grace, and He will sustain us by His grace wherever He has placed us in life. We don’t have to worry about someone else stealing our position or taking what is rightfully ours. Turn it over to God and rest. Let Him fight your battle for you because it is really a threat against what He has already established.  If he established it, He can surely sustain it!

As for Absalom, he suffered a tragic accident when the mule he was riding ran under the tangled branches of a large oak tree, and his long curly locks – a source of vanity and symbol of strength – fell prey to the hooks of the closely knit branches while the mule kept running out from under him. The commander of David’s army went against David’s instructions and killed Absalom. Those who had abandoned David turned back, and David mourned the death of his son. God kept His promise. David kept the throne, but Solomon would rightfully inherit the kingdom.

Outright rebellion will cost in the long run. How tragic that Absalom could not learn from his father’s good example. His mistake came from trying to retaliate against David’s bad example as a father. Revenge cost Absalom rightful inheritance of the throne, relationship with his father, and his life. When facing hurt or disappointment, crying out to God and resting is always our best move while leaving revenge to God.

Today, determine to cry aloud to God regarding the things that threaten or hurt you. Know that retaliation and revenge are never answers from God. Rest in knowing that He has heard your cry, and let Him fight the battle for you. He knows how to shut the mouths of your enemies and to sustain that which He has established. Trust Him and rest.

Have a blessed day!

A Shield Around You

Psalm 3:3

But You, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, and the One who lifts up my head.

Psalm 139:5

You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me.

God encircles us as a shield of protection. We can both rest and rejoice in that fact. Regardless of which way you turn, the protective hand of God is there. He is with you and will not forsake you, working all things together for your good and His glory!

Have you ever had to make a decision and just didn’t know which path to take? Have you ever questioned a previous decision, fearing you made the wrong choice? We face many decisions in life that aren’t right or wrong. While they do impact our future to some degree, they are not beyond God’s shield of protection that encircles us. Whichever path you choose, God encircles you, and He has a good plan for you. Should you make a wrong turn, He is more than capable of redirecting your steps to the right path.

Don’t sweat over past decisions. Look to your future. God encircles you, and He is a shield of protection around you. He has your back, your front, and both sides! He will lift your head and encourage you when no one else will. He will help you when no one else will. Worship Him today. He is literally all around you!

Have a blessed day!

Taking a Stand of Faith

Luke 18:6-8

Then the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. Will not God grant justice to His elect who cry out to Him day and night? Will He delay to help them? I tell you that He will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find that faith on earth?”

Jesus taught a parable about a persistent widow who cried out repeatedly against her adversary to an unjust judge. The unjust judge finally honored her persistent complaint because he became tired of hearing her. He was not concerned about her well-being or about bringing justice to her situation.  He merely wanted to get her off his back. If the unjust judge will eventually honor persistence, how much more will our holy and just God honor the persistence of His chosen people who cry out to him repeatedly?

To cry out repeatedly as she did, this widow had to have taken a stand. She would not allow her adversary to take advantage of her without a strong fight. She took her stand to the only person who could do anything about it – an unjust judge who did not care anything about her.

We serve a God who loves us so much He gave His only Son to die for us. We can certainly trust His heart toward us. When our enemy wages war against us, do we truly take a stand against him in crying out to God? This Scripture suggests that too many of us give in to the enemy when we don’t see immediate results.

We often think of attacks of the enemy as trials or problems. While the enemy can certainly cause problems for us, he most often attacks us in the form of temptation.

Instead of taking a stand against temptation, we succumb to it because we think God is not really concerned about our circumstances enough to intervene when we want or the way we want. If we are more concerned about meeting our current emotional urge than receiving God’s best in our situation, we will fall to temptation and fail to take a stand of faith.

Jesus questioned whether or not He would find faith on this earth when He returned. Will there be anyone still believing Christ will come again when He comes to rule and reign on this earth? Will there be anyone still fighting for the family when Jesus comes to restore it? Will there be anyone still believing in a dream when Jesus comes to fulfill it? Will we give up everything we’ve held near and dear and settle for the temptation the Devil hands us as an unfit alternative?

Dare to stand firm in your faith. Cry out to God, especially when the Devil attacks you with temptation. God has so much more for us, and any temptation the Devil sends your way is only a cheap imitation of something real God has in store for you. Press through with persistence, and allow faith to take you into the fullness of a loving, holy, and just God. His provision is worth the wait!

Have a blessed day!

Responding to the Insignificant

Matthew 25:35-36

For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you took care of Me; I was in prison and you visited Me.

God is in the midst of situations all around us, and He is in the midst of our everyday lives. We never know when and where He is working, and He may give us a chance to be the provision to a prayer someone else has prayed. Do we recognize these chances or look at them as inconveniences?

Christ lives in His people through the Holy Spirit. When one of His own is suffering in some way, He suffers, too. That is why He describes Himself as the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned in these verses. When we minister to one of His own, we minister to Him.

We don’t have to look far to find these needs all around us. We need to minister the love of Christ to both believers and unbelievers. In doing so, we increase and strengthen the kingdom of God, and our faith increases in the process. In helping those in need, we build relationships and create bonds that help hold us together.

How you treat those who seem insignificant speaks of your character. Do you meet their needs when the occasion arises, or do you attend to things more convenient? You may be insignificant to someone else who has the ability to meet your need. God notices when someone helps you, as well. Take advantage of the opportunities He gives you to be a blessing to others. You never know when you could be the insignificant one, hoping someone else will stop to hear from God and obey. Everyone is significant in His eyes.

Have a blessed day!

Love in Deed and Truth

1 John 3:19-20

Little children, we must not love in word or speech, but in deed and truth; that is how we will know we are of the truth, and will convince our hearts in His presence, because if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts and knows all things.

We can tell a person we love him/her, but unless we follow it up with action, it is not real. God knows when we harbor bitterness or unforgiveness, and just saying that we love or forgive someone is empty. We will know we truly love someone or have forgiven someone when we can follow it up with our deeds in truth. God, who is greater than our hearts, knows all things and will judge what is in our hearts.

When we have loved with our words, our deeds, and in truth, we can stand with confidence in God’s presence and ask for anything we want in that situation. That is a heart God can trust because it is transparent before Him without sin. We all need this type of heart before God, and it comes when we can love with our actions, as well as our words.

Today, think about those who challenge your love or your patience. Choose to love and forgive with both words and actions. Don’t harbor bitterness because it will only hurt you. Love with your words, then follow it up with action. Go before God with a confident heart that He will give you whatever you need in the situation. He is greater than our hearts and is able to change them. He knows all things and can work them together for your good. That is His ultimate plan.

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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