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Bless the Void

Genesis 12:1-2

The LORD said to Abram: Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land where I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

Abram had nothing to offer God but his need. He had a void in his life, and he could not fill it on his own. He wanted a son, but his wife was barren. God chose to bless the void in his life by making him a great nation. Our lives change when God decides to bless the void.

God used Abram’s void to lead him to a new place. He used the void to develop a relationship with Abram and to gain his trust. He used the void to build a nation and ultimately a people for Himself. He used the void to bring promise and to deliver His own Son into the world to save us from our sins. God can certainly do great things when we give Him our void.

What could God do with the void in your life if He decided to bless it? Within every one of us there is a longing that we can’t fill on our own – an emptiness that needs to be satisfied. Such a void is the very tool God uses to work in our lives, and He promises to fill that void to overflowing if we will only follow Him. That journey begins at the cross and continues wherever the Holy Spirit leads us. Should we get off track, as Abraham did at times, His Spirit can still draw us back to the right path.

God still blesses the voids of life, and He still does great and wonderful things through His people. We fail when we try to fill that void on our own or with other means. Surrender your void to God today, and allow Him to bless you. Abram had nothing else to offer God, but the void was what He wanted. He wants yours, too. Give what you don’t have to receive what you can never achieve on your own. What a wonderful God we serve!

Have a blessed day!

Choosing the Necesary

Luke 10:41-42

The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Martha was anxious about many things. With Jesus as her guest, she saw all the little things that needed to be done and became overwhelmed. To her, the best way to please Him was to serve Him and serve Him well. She needed her sister’s help but couldn’t seem to drag her away from their guest. Eventually, she became irritated enough to ask Jesus to persuade Mary to help, but Jesus saw things differently.

Mary didn’t want to miss a single word Jesus had to say. If He was in her house, she wanted to be at His feet, taking in everything He had to teach and soaking it up like a sponge. The other things were trivial in comparison, and she could take care of them later. Her idea of best pleasing Jesus was to receive everything He came to bring.

As we see in the passage, Jesus honored Mary’s desire to sit at His feet and hear from Him. She had made the right choice in choosing the one thing that was necessary. She chose to receive from Him rather than do for Him, and this pleased Him.

I’m so very thankful Jesus allowed Mary to stay with Him. Her desire was to receive all she could from Him, and He would not take that privilege from her. He won’t take it from us, either! We can sit and listen at His feet as much as we want, and He is happy to speak to us! As a Mary who often puts off household chores and frequently ponders the meaning of things, I’m relieved that He doesn’t judge my messy house!

Are you anxious about many things today? If so, take time to just sit at the feet of Jesus and hear from Him. Spend time in prayer and in the Word, and just listen to what He has to say. The enemy will always try to fill your mind with things that need to be done. Until you learn to block that out and just receive from Christ, you will find anxiety choking out the one thing that is necessary while you do a thousand things that are optional. Please Him today by receiving from Him, and let anxiety take a back seat in your life.

Have a blessed day!

From Twilight

1 Samuel 30:17

David slaughtered them from Twilight until the evening of the next day. None of them escaped, except 400 young men who got on camels and fled.

After David was rejected as a warrior for the Philistine Army to fight against Israel, he returned to his temporary camp in Ziklag to find it burned with all of his possessions, including wives and children, taken by the Amalekites. While his own men were angered and considered stoning him, he encouraged himself in the LORD and sought His advice on whether or not to pursue the Amalekites to take back his property. After hearing clearly from God that he was to pursue the Amalekites, David took his angry and exhausted men to find the Amalekites and take back what was rightfully theirs.

David and his men found the Amalekites celebrating their victory. They attacked at twilight and didn’t stop fighting until all of their property was found. The battle ensued until evening of the next day. Twilight was the early morning hours as the sun was just beginning to rise. While the enemy was still asleep and unaware, David and his men attacked and fought relentlessly until the job was finished.

Don’t ever think your early morning prayer and devotion time is not effective. Before the enemy has a chance to ruin your day, you have the opportunity to enter into warfare in the heavenlies to attack him before he ever gets started. When it looks like wickedness has defeated you, instead of shrinking into depression and sorrow, the very best thing you can do is to get up early in the morning and begin to pray! Spend time in the word and pray God’s word over your situation. Catch the enemy off guard, and take back what is rightfully yours! Be relentless in praying throughout the day, and stand in faith in whatever God shows you in His word. From twilight until you finish, God is with you.

Have a blessed day!

New Mercies

Lamentations 3:22-24

Because of the LORD’s faithful love, we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! I say: The LORD is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him.

The prophet Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations in the midst of great sorrow. He saw tremendous personal loss as religious leaders ignored his warnings and his nation was sent into Babylonian captivity. When all seemed the darkest and that things could not get any worse, Jeremiah turned to God’s faithful love as his refuge and depended upon the mercies of the LORD that are new every morning.

Even on our darkest days, we still have hope in the loving faithfulness of a God who created us for a purpose and who will not let us go. He has new mercies waiting every morning for us to discover and find throughout our day. His comforting and compassionate character far outweighs any sorrow the world may bring us, and we can count on His faithfulness and His goodness in the midst of pain.

The hope depicted in this passage is a confident expectation in the Lord and implies a waiting attitude. When things just don’t seem to go the way you want, place your hope in the Lord. He has not nor will not abandon you. While He may re-direct you, He will not discard you if you turn to Him.

The Message Bible gives us an even greater illustration of Jeremiah’s lament: How great is your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left.

If you feel God is all you have left, rejoice today! He is all you need! In fact, if He is all you have left, then the distractions have gone away, and you are finally at a place where God can bless you. Look up, place your hope in Him, and celebrate the new mercies He shows you today.

Have a blessed day!

God Fights for You

Isaiah 54:15-17

“If anyone attacks you, it is not from Me; whoever attacks you will fall before you. Look, I have created the craftsman who blows on the charcoal fire and produces a weapon suitable for its task; and I have created the destroyer to work havoc. No weapon formed against you will succeed, and you will refute any accusation raised against you in court. This is the heritage of the LORD’s servants and their righteousness is from Me.” This is the LORD’s declaration.

When bad things happen, the enemy always tries to convince us that God is punishing us or against us. His goal is to cause us to lose hope and start relying upon our own strength, which will always fail us. He may remind you of your sin and cause you to think you deserve his attack, but God boldly declares that your righteousness is from Him. He made you righteous through the blood of Jesus because your own righteousness would never be enough. The Devil is a liar, and this passage proves it! Any attack we encounter is NOT from God, and we should never lose hope or turn our backs on the One who fights for us!

God is creating a weapon to completely destroy the carefully constructed plans the Devil has worked against you. Don’t think for one moment God is fighting against you; He fights for you! He has created the destroyer to work havoc against your foe, and no weapon formed against you shall prosper! You have God’s word on it, and He has declared your victory!

Praise God for His wonderful works this morning, and thank Him for fighting your battles. You belong to Him, and He cares for His own. He gets glory in your victory and not in your defeat. Let your praises rise and your enemies scatter. Your Champion and Defender is the LORD!

Have a blessed day!

Turning up the Volume

1 Corinthians 2:10

Now God has revealed them (God’s plans) to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the deep things of God.

You can know God’s plan for your life. While He may not give you all the details, He will certainly speak to your spirit regarding things He wants you to do. The Holy Spirit is His way of communicating with us.

When we become a Christian, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us. He will teach us as we read the Bible and speak to us during prayer, sermons, teaching, the words of others, etc. This same Holy Spirit will speak to God through groanings that we cannot understand to communicate to God what is in our hearts. He will also search the deep things of God to know God’s heart for us and communicate those things to us. God’s Spirit speaks to our spirit, and that is how we hear from God.

We get in trouble hearing from God when we begin to lean upon our own understanding and upon our own senses. If God speaks something to our spirit and we don’t see it happening or about to happen, we begin to doubt. We need to turn up the volume on the Holy Spirit and turn down the volume on our flesh or our senses and believe what God is speaking to us. The best way to turn up the volume on the Holy Spirit is through prayer and the reading of God’s word.

1 Corinthians 2:9 tells us that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no man has dreamed what God has in store for those who love Him. You can’t see it coming, and you can’t reason it through logic. God’s Holy Spirit will search the deep things of God and reveal it to you. Your job is to receive it, believe it, and walk in it. This is not the same thing as “name it and claim it.” Unless God reveals it to you through His Holy Spirit, you can’t have faith for it. If His Spirit has revealed it, however, you can count on it!

Take time today to turn down the volume of the world and all its chatter, and turn up the volume of the Holy Spirit through prayer and the reading of God’s word. God is always speaking, but we must be quiet enough to listen. You will recognize His voice by the presence of peace. Does it really matter what anyone else has to say, anyway?

Have a blessed day!

Abundantly

John 10:10

A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.

Satan wants nothing more than to steal your joy and your peace. If he can distract and burden you with worry, he will steal, kill, and destroy the abundant life God has for you. We must resist his tactics and refuse to let him take what Jesus died to give us. While he cannot take away our eternal life, he can certainly steal what we have here on earth.

Just prior to this verse, Jesus explained to His disciples that He is the door. Anyone who comes through Him will be able to come and go and find pasture. When we turn to anything other than Christ for comfort, strength, or pleasure, we allow a thief to come in and destroy the abundant life Christ has for us.

Ephesians 3:20-21

Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think – according to the power that works in you – to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

In the original Greek, the words “above and beyond” here are the same Greek word used in John 10:10 for “abundantly.” It means “superabundant (in quantity) or superior (in quality); excessive.” The term applies to both eternal life and life here on earth. We can experience a superabundant life on earth through Jesus Christ. That doesn’t mean we won’t face difficult times or seasons. It means we turn to Christ during those times, and He ultimately gives us abundance as He brings us through such times.

Where are you currently not experiencing the abundant life? What have you allowed the Devil to steal from you? Turn those areas over to Christ, and seek Him to restore you. Any comfort Satan can give you is temporary, addictive, and ultimately damaging. It is a counterfeit for the real joy and peace that Christ gives. Trade what is counterfeit for what is real. You will see the value increase tremendously!

Have a blessed day!

Unrealistic Demands Block Happiness

Genesis 30:1

When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she envied her sister. “Give me sons, or I will die!” she said to Jacob.

Rachel experienced her own battle with identity. As the loved wife of Jacob, she could not produce children as her older, less attractive, and unloved sister did for Jacob. No longer able to depend upon her beauty to maintain Jacob’s love, Leah now posed a threat to Rachel’s position as the favored wife. If she could not have children, she feared she would become the “lesser” woman, and she was accustomed to having first place.

In desperation Rachel demanded sons from Jacob. She looked to him to fill her void and settle the issue of identity for her. If he would not give her what she wanted, she could not be happy and would die. Jacob could not assume responsibility for Rachel’s infertility because he had no authority over it. God had closed her womb, and only God could open it. Instead of endearing Jacob to herself, she made him angry by trying to place blame and responsibility upon him that was not his to carry.

What Rachel failed to realize was that God had favored Leah because He saw she was unloved. Her father’s trickery had landed her in a position as the unwanted wife, and Rachel had Jacob’s full attention. Although a wife, Leah might as well have been a slave in that household. God took pity upon her and decided to open her womb so she could bear children and have love in her life. Rachel needed to humble herself before God and cry out to him. Instead, she chose to make unrealistic demands upon her husband, which drove a wedge in their relationship.

When we place unrealistic demands upon people in order to make us happy or to solidify our identity, we stand to damage those relationships and jeopardize the very thing we hope to obtain. People cannot make you happy, nor is it anyone else’s responsibility to make you happy. You choose to be happy. Even when everything is going well, some people just can’t be happy because they don’t know how to be. Happiness is a choice and not a state of being. No one else is responsible for establishing your identity. You must learn who you are in Christ and discover your God-given purpose. You cannot demand identity from someone else or be someone God has not created you to be. God will reveal His creative will for you in due season, and He may choose to give you one piece at a time instead of uncovering the whole thing at once. Seek Him daily to discover what He has just for you.

The void in your life does not determine your identity. God gave you gifts and talents to be used for His purpose, and He wants you to use them. If He has gifted you with talent to sing, He expects you to sing for Him. If He has not given you the talent to sing, you are doing yourself more harm than if you insist upon singing because you like the limelight. Find a place to serve where your gifts can shine, and give God what you have. God will multiply what He has put in you and reveal your identity to you. Happiness is a choice that requires acceptance of your weaknesses, use of your strengths, and faith for God to fill the void.

Have a blessed day!

Open Your Mouth Wide

Psalm 81:8-10

Listen My people, and I will admonish you. Israel, if you would only listen to Me! There must not be a strange god among you; you must not bow down to a foreign god. I am Yaweh your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.

We stray from God out of hunger – a desire to feed our flesh in some way. We seek to fill empty places with the things of this world, which have no ability to truly satisfy. When we rely upon other things – foreign gods – to fill our void, we frustrate the plan of God for our life.

God sent His Son to die for our sins and also to give us life more abundantly. If we would only turn to Him and open our mouth wide, He promises to fill it. Like the woman at the well, we would thirst no more for water than cannot ultimately satisfy. Instead, living water would flow from us from an abundant resource of His love for us. In fact, what we really need to fill every void in us is an overwhelming sense and assurance of His love for us. When we have allowed His love to fill our empty places, we are truly satisfied.

If you feel a void, lack, or emptiness today, know for certain that God loves you enough to fill every nook, cranny, and crevice of that place to the point where it overflows to spill over to those around you. Stop trying to fill yourself with other things that will only leave you longing for more. Open your mouth wide before God, and allow Him to fill you with good things from the abundance of His love for you. Let God fill your hunger, and you will always have something to give and find purpose and meaning in life.

Have a blessed day!

Everything

Romans 8:32

He did not even spare His own Son, but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything?

Have you ever been afraid God would not come through for you? Have you ever given up on prayers that went unanswered? Have you ever hesitated to ask God for something because you thought it was too much? If so, just chew on this verse for a little while, and think about what God has already given you.

God did not hesitate to give us His most precious possession – His beloved and only Son. In fact, He offered what was precious to Him as a sacrifice for our sins so we could be His children and heirs to His promises. If He would give us the most valuable piece of His heart, does He not surely love us with a love that is unfathomable from human understanding? Would such a love not give us lesser things?

Do you have a financial need today? That need is lesser than Jesus. Do you have a health need? That, too, is lesser than Jesus. Do you have a relationship need? Yes, this is lesser than Jesus, as well. His grace is sufficient to meet every need and to overcome any obstacle the Devil puts in our way. Reach out for that grace, and simply believe God to meet you where you are. Jesus is greater than any need we may have, and our answers are always found in Him. God did not spare His only Son for us but gave Him as a sacrifice for us. Jesus is all we need, and He is greater than our need. Trust Him, and be filled with abundance of life, which is exactly what He came to bring. In Him we have everything!

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.