He is With You

Matthew 1:22-23

Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated “God with us.”

God arranged all the events that took place during our Savior’s birth. They happened just as He said they would. He knew the end from the beginning, and He told us ahead of time just how it would be. He always holds true to His word.

During this time of year when life can become more hectic than joyful, let us remember the meaning behind His name. He is Immanuel – God with us. Regardless of the difficulty of your circumstance, remember that God is with you. He has arranged everything in place so His purpose will be fulfilled, and all those things that seem to frustrate you are only bringing His perfect will into place. Trust the God who is with you in the moment. Rejoice in the fact that He is here, and nothing is impossible with Him for those who believe!

Believe that God is with you. He has not left you alone to figure things out for yourself. He is right there with you. Through the pain, He is with you. Through the aching and sorrow, He is with you. Through the excitement and glee, He is with you. He is as close as your prayer and wants to communicate with you. Don’t forget Him during this special season that is really meant for Him. He is with you, so be sure to include Him in all you do.

Have a blessed day!


Psalm 5:11

But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them shout for joy forever. May You shelter them, and may those who love Your name boast about You.

As we approach Christmas, we enter a season of joy. While the entire month of December can be very busy and hectic with all the celebrations, decorating, and planning, let us not forget that our joy is found in Christ. All who take refuge in Him have reason to rejoice because He came into the world to overcome the world. The gatherings, meals, and gifts will come and go, but His victory is eternal.

God will deal with the evil in this world. You don’t have to look far to find it. He has given us a refuge in Christ, and we can rejoice in the fact that God loves us, and His favor surrounds us. He is our protector and provider, and He will contend with the evil that contends with us. We belong to Him. We are His, and He fights for us. Rejoice today because the victory is yours!

Have a blessed day!

Receiving God’s Favor

Isaiah 66:2

My hand made all these things, and so they all came into being. This is the LORD’s declaration. I will look favorably on this kind of person:  one who is humble, submissive in spirit, and who trembles at My word.

God created heaven as His throne and earth as His footstool. Who are we to challenge anything He says or does? Sadly, at times we tend to charge through life with our own agendas, feeling angry at God when our plans are supernaturally interrupted. Without God’s favor, we can accomplish nothing. With His favor, however, we can do anything He requires us to do.

Having an agenda apart from God, however, is a sure recipe for failure. Sooner or later we must realize that the One who created heaven as His throne and earth as His footstool will have the final say in the matter. We live on earth, which is His footstool, and we are to humbly bow at His feet.

God is a loving, just, and holy God. He loves His people with an everlasting love. He shows His favor, however, to those who are humble, submissive in spirit, and who tremble at His word.  You can be God’s child and not receive His favor. While He still loves you, the love He expresses to you may be for the purpose of drawing you back into His arms, rather than enabling you to run from His plan.

Jonah certainly experienced this type of love when He determined to disobey God and go the opposite direction. God’s love landed him in the belly of a whale, where he could change his mind and his plans about whether or not to obey God.  It took a raging storm to convince Jonah that he could not defy God and live in His favor. 

God longs to bestow His favor on all of His children. As those who are parents know, some children are just more compliant than others. It is easier to bless them because you can trust them with the blessing. God looks for the humble at heart, the submissive in spirit, and those who respect His word enough to obey what He says. Those are children He can trust to carry out His plans and not their own. He will look upon them with favor and enable them to flourish, even in the midst of adversity.

We all need God’s favor. We cannot function in life without it. Today, ask Him for a humble and submissive spirit and the willingness to obey. Set aside your own agendas long enough to hear from Him and follow His directions. If what He is leading you to do seems difficult, realize that He will give you His favor to do it. If heaven is His throne and earth His footstool, you can’t really fight Him and expect to win. Your destiny and your happiness depend upon His favor toward you. Fully receive what He has for you, and realize the abundance of His favor. It is well worth your surrender.

Have a blessed day!

Receive a Full Reward

2 John 8

Watch yourselves so that you don’t lose what we have worked for, but you may receive a full reward.

Have you ever put a lot of work into something only to be disappointed in your return? I have had some investments that failed miserably! I learned to move my resources out of those things that were failing and place them in more promising and productive investments.  Sometimes, however, we just need to be patient and stay the course in order to see a good return.

In order to determine whether to bail or stay the course, you have to consider the potential of success. If there is little likelihood the investment will recover, or if the company’s goal or business plan is unrealistic, you might do better to move your money to accounts that have more potential. If, however, the potential and plan are there but the reward just isn’t coming fast enough, you might want to cool down, continue to invest, and wait. Staying the course could be very profitable in the long run.

God’s word never fails. He cannot lie. He is always good, and His mercies are everlasting. He loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son to die for us just so we could have relationship with Him. If there was ever an investment that guarantees a great return, it is investing our lives in Christ! We may all go through seasons when it seems like our prayers go unanswered, or a need just doesn’t seem to be met. To give up on God and to turn to another source to meet that need can be disastrous! It will certainly be disappointing when God’s hand of favor and grace move to reveal His glory, and you have deserted Him to follow another path! 

John warned against this very thing. Watch yourselves so that you do not fall for any ridiculous idea that God doesn’t really love you and doesn’t really care about meeting that need that is important to you. Reject every notion that all of your faith has been in vain, and there is no reward for you. The devil would like nothing more than for you to give up hope that God will bless you and to turn and follow Him. He strives to drag you away from God’s promises and leave you feeling bitter, hopeless, and disappointed. If he can do this, you are no longer a threat to him. You are his follower. 

Don’t lose what you have worked for in the faith. Stay the course and receive your full reward. In Christ, the returns may not come quickly, but they are sure. These are the rewards that make life worth living.

Have a blessed day!

Our Source for Joy

Psalm 4:7

You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and new wine abound.

True joy does not come from things. If it did, we would not see celebrities and other wealthy people struggle with drug abuse, failed marriages, and even suicidal tendencies. Things are readily at their disposal, but their lives are still in turmoil. Joy must come from another source, and all prosperity is not good.

Grain and new wine here are symbols of prosperity. Without cultivation, however, they will eventually run out with use. Earthly prosperity is expendable. Joy is an inner state of being that cannot be changed by prosperity or the lack of it. 

The soul does not need things to be happy. Comprised of the mind, will, and emotions of a human being, the soul is nourished through relationship. When a relationship with God the Father is cultivated through His Son, Jesus Christ, by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, the need for inner relationship is satisfied. We can commune with God, and He responds to us.  He answers prayer and fulfills the desires of our hearts. From this comes a joy that cannot be replaced by anything the world can offer.

Every individual on the face of the earth has an inner longing to be known and loved by another. We are made with an innate need to love and be loved without any ulterior motive.  Unless we receive this type of love from our heavenly Father, we will not be able to love another in the same way. We will always be trying to fill some void with another individual or something that provides us a sense of security or accomplishment.   

Good prosperity begins with the joy of an intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ. As 3 John 2 explains, we may prosper in every way and be in good health as our soul prospers. Unless our soul prospers to meet the inner longing of a relationship with God, any earthly prosperity we gain is a substitute that is quickly expendable and insufficient to meet our true need. God is the source of all good prosperity, and He can put more joy in our hearts than all the grain and new wine in the world! Run to Him today, and allow Him to fill your heart with that which truly satisfies. Any other prosperity means nothing without Him.

Have a blessed day!

Bold Ambassador

2 Corinthians 5:17-21

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. Now everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ; certain that God is appealing through us, we plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

God knows every weakness we have and every sin we would ever commit, yet He loved us enough to send His own Son to pay the penalty for our sins. Because of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, those who surrender to His lordship are made new and may stand before God with the righteousness of Christ – fully accepted, loved, and forgiven. God calls us as a new creation to be ambassadors for Christ so others will be reconciled to Him, as well.

Satan, however, reminds us of our sins and tempts us in areas of weakness in order to make us forget who we are as a new creation. When we forget who we are in Christ, we fall further into sin and fail to be the ambassadors God has called us to be. If you are going to be an effective ambassador, you must remember who you are – a new creation not bound to sin. Fear, doubt, insecurity, shame, and guilt are all products of the sinful nature, and they draw us back into a negative and ineffective state of mind. In Christ, we may come boldly before the throne of grace and walk forth in confidence as a new creation. As ambassadors of Christ, we are to walk in that boldness and confidence without shrinking back into the “less than” life that negative thinking will produce. God knew your weaknesses when He called you, yet He called you anyway because of the power of the blood of Christ to wash away your sin.

You are a new creation and an ambassador for Christ. God has full confidence in you because of what Christ has done and not because of your ability or inability. Christ in you – the hope of glory – is at work reconciling others to God. Be strong. Be bold. Be effective. Be who God created you to be, and discover an identity in Christ than can change the world around you.

Have a blessed day!

A Declaration of Faith

Psalm 18:1-2

I love You, LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

David stated his faith with perfect clarity. He saw God as the source of his strength and as his deliverer from the enemy. David was a man who faced countless enemies and encountered many battles with depression. When waves of fear and doubt threatened him, he boldly proclaimed his stand. God was his strength, his rock, his fortress, his deliverer, his God, his mountain, his refuge, his shield, the horn of his salvation, and his stronghold. What could man do to him?

No one in Scripture praised like David did. We find his songs recorded throughout the Psalms, and they often reflect a repentant, faithful, and steadfast heart. When waves of doubt and fear overwhelm us, we need to take the same stance as David and begin to proclaim with certainty that God is for us. When we begin to boldly declare our love for God and our belief that He is our strength, our fortress, and our deliverer, we are strengthened in our inner being. From that flows a river of peace in knowing the greatness of our God in the midst of our own weakness.

The Devil will try to convince you that because you’ve failed, God is judging you, and His favor is against you. He will try to make you think you have disqualified yourself from God’s promises. If our salvation, blessings, or God’s promises were dependent upon our own merit, none of us would make it! God draws us to Himself through the Holy Spirit knowing full well our faults and our weaknesses. He gives us His grace to overcome them. When we live in denial that anything is wrong, we are under judgment. When we confess our sins and turn to Him, grace is ours. If you have turned to Him, He is your strength, your rock, your fortress, your God, your mountain, your refuge, your shield, the horn of your salvation, and your stronghold. He is your everything! Believe it. Declare it. Walk in it.

David did not live without battles, and neither will we. David did triumph over his enemies, and so will we because God is our strength. In Him, we are mighty warriors. So, Warrior Princess, fight your battle over doubt, depression, fear, and anxiety today with the bold proclamation of God’s greatness, and be victorious. You were not chosen by God to be a fragile damsel in distress for someone to rescue you. Anyone who rescues you would become a god to you. You were chosen to fight, so take up your sword and declare your faith!

Have a blessed day!

Thankful While We Wait

Psalm 40:1-3

I waited patiently for the LORD, and He turned to me and heard my cry for help. He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

The Message Bible translation begins this passage with, “I waited and waited and waited for God.” Have you ever felt this way? Apparently, David did, too. The Hebrew phrase used here means “Waiting, I waited.” We can literally interpret this to be, “While I was waiting, I waited.” We get the impression that seemingly a lot of time passed while David waited for God to act on his behalf. I certainly feel his pain, and I’m sure you can, too.

Before we become too frustrated with the wait described here, we must think about the times God has waited patiently for us. How long have we procrastinated to move on His commands? Have long have we waited to be obedient to His word? How long have we sat and moped before thanking Him for what we already have? How long have we waited to use what He has given us today to make a difference in someone else’s life? I’m sure we can all say that at times, God has had to wait and wait and wait on us, too. Being patient with Him should be no great sacrifice.

God eventually turned to David and heard His prayer. The Hebrew implication of the phrase, “turned to me and heard my cry,” gives the picture of God’s stooping from His throne to save the helpless. He really does see the mess we are in, and He graciously stoops to our level to issue a compassionate ear. He lifts us out of the muddy mire to set us upon a rock, where our feet will not slip or stumble. He secures our footing so we can stay on high ground.

From the tone of this prayer, David obviously couldn’t help himself. God had to intervene and rescue him from his own mess. I’ve been there a few times, and I can testify to God’s faithfulness, as well. If it weren’t for God, I would have suffocated under the pressure of my own shortcomings and failures. I’m eternally grateful for a God who stooped low enough to hear my cry from amidst the mud, dragged me out, and set me on a high ground so I wouldn’t fall again. That is just the God we serve.

Thank God for the times He has rescued you today. Thank Him for setting your feet on a rock so you wouldn’t stumble and fall. Thank Him for stooping to hear your cry for help. If you find yourself in another waiting period, know that God has been patient with you, and He will turn to you in due time. He doesn’t want to see you sink; He intends for you to fly. Trust His faithfulness and His love for you. He will lift you up.

Have a blessed day!

A Place Near Me

Exodus 33:21-22

The LORD said, “Here is a place near Me. You are to stand on the rock, and when My glory passes by, I will put you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by…”

Moses did not want to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land unless God was there. Without His presence, there was nothing to distinguish them from the rest of the people. Moses asked to see God’s glory. He wanted confirmation that he was on the right track, and God granted his request.

There will be times when you want and need to know God is with you and that you have heard correctly from Him. Asking for confirmation is admirable and not to be confused with doubt. We all need to know if we got it right sometimes. Otherwise, we will end up in a place where God never intended for us to be, and we may need to be rescued or re-directed. God can confirm His word to you by revealing His glory and showing you just where He is at work in your life.

God directed Moses to a place near Him. We have to get close enough to God to sense His presence. In this case, Moses needed to be close enough to God for Him to grab hold of Moses and hide him with His hand. If we are wandering on our own and not even seeking God’s guidance, we may not be close enough for God to reveal anything to us. To hear from Him and see what He is doing in our lives, we need to seek Him and get as close to Him as we can. We have to learn to hear His voice and recognize when He is speaking. This requires drawing near to Him in prayer and Bible study – a quiet time when we give Him our full attention and allow Him to speak.

God hid Moses in the rock while He was working. Moses simply had to stand. God took the action. When God was ready to show Moses something, He removed His hand to reveal where He had been. Moses saw the glory in the finished work.

Today, we stand on the finished work of Christ as our rock. Trust that God is working in your life, and He will reveal His glory to you in due time. If God isn’t in it, it is not worth having. Ask Him to confirm His word to you, and trust Him while you wait. Seeing His glory revealed in your life is worth any time you had to wait and any questions you had to ponder. Look for a place near Him, wait, and watch while He shows you things that will blow your mind! His glory revealed in you will be awesome!

Have a blessed day!

Thankful for Sacrifice

Matthew 26:27-28

Then He took the cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to them and said, “Drink from it all of you. For this is My blood that establishes the covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Jesus gave thanks for the cup, which represented His own blood. After He gave thanks for it, He gave it to the disciples. He was about to endure the most agonizing pain known to man, yet He gave thanks for the sacrifice He must pay. How often are we able to thank God for the sacrifices we make?

Sacrifices are the places where we die to ourselves so others may benefit. They are uncomfortable places where we give until it hurts. Jesus was thankful for the cup, and he taught His disciples to be thankful for it, too. Jesus knew what His sacrifice would do for them and for others, and He was thankful for what it would accomplish – a new covenant with forgiveness for sins.

The sacrifices we make are designed to accomplish something. If we can see the good that will come of it, we can have thankful hearts. Just as Jesus looked ahead to what would be from His pain, we must do the same. What will your sacrifice ultimately do if successful? Be thankful you can contribute to God’s kingdom in some way.

We sacrifice our time and our resources. Are they doing anything to build God’s kingdom? Be thankful. We may sacrifice things so our loved ones can be blessed. Be thankful you have the opportunity to bless. Many have sacrificed their lives so we can be free. Be thankful someone was willing to make the sacrifice. A thankful heart should be both joyful yet sober of the sacrifice made and the one who gave. Thankfulness leads to peace and contentment. We all need a little more of that.

Have a blessed day!

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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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