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Entries in Rhonda Rhea (14)

Thursday
Apr062017

Let Us Spray

In Rhonda Rhea's case, the funnybone connects to the heart! In this Prayer UPGRADE, she encourages us to spend time where our strength lies.

"Sometimes I’m tempted to take some time off from hairspray," Rhonda says. "Sometime when I’m planning to go nowhere. And I mean absolutely nowhere. I think I would call it a spray-cation."

Don't get me (Dawn) started on hairspray. It's been a long time since my free-flowing "hippie" years. Now I'm in the "helmet" stage—as in, you couldn't dent my hair!

Rhonda continues . . .

It’s funny because I almost remember what it was like to freely run my fingers through my hair. It’s been a long time, though.

These days I invest in a lot of hair products. The fingers may go in, but I’m telling you right now. They’re not coming out.

I have to keep the crazy assortment of hair sprays, gels, mousses and goops, because it takes a different concoction for every style. A brew for every do, as it were.

When constructing an up-do, for instance, you sort of have to pour footings. I use a product that’s referred to as styling mousse, but I think it might actually be some sort of rebar.

Still—not to split hairs or anything—but it’s good to remember that if you don’t want to have to wrestle with your hair, you have to start with a good goo-foundation.

As for real life battles, if you want victory there, you have to start with a good spiritual foundation. You have to invest.

Time invested in connecting with the Father in prayer is absolutely vital.

  • Are you wrestling with your flesh on some issue or another? Take it to Him.
  • Struggling with a decision? Lay it at His feet.
  • Grappling with a fearful situation that has your hair standing on end—even before the mousse? Spend time with Him and the battle is all but over.

The God who created everything, the One who never tires, the One who has all power and who also promises to grant strength to those who will rely on Him—He is the One who will give victory. There’s not a single battle we can ever face that He doesn’t have the power to win.

Isaiah 40:28-31 spells it out.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. Youths may faint and grow wear, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint” (HCSB).

So it’s eyes off of the battle that threatens to overwhelm us. And eyes on the God who simply cannot be overwhelmed.

The evil one wants to keep us focused on the problems, frustrations and pains of the battle. But the Lord wants us to take our eyes off all of that and fix them firmly on Him. More firmly fixed than the surest hair-glue.

We can do that through prayer. And that’s where our strength will be found.

Feeling weary? Powerless? Like you could easily stumble and fall?

Without a doubt, the best place to fall is to your knees.

Trust in the One who will be your strength. Fall before Him in prayer and you will find everything you need for soaring—really soaring—through every battle.

You win. And it’s the kind of victory that’s sure and complete.

Not the kind you win by just by a hair.

Are you trusting in your own strength today? Isn't it time for a talk with your Father in heaven?

Friends, "Let us spray."

Rhonda Rhea is a humor columnist, radio personality, speaker and author of 10 books, including How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person?, Espresso Your Faith - 30 Shots of God's Word to Wake You Up, and a book designed to encourage Pastor's Wives (P-Dubs): Join the Insanity. Rhonda, a sunny pastor's wife, lives near St. Louis and is "Mom" to five grown children. Find out more at www.RhondaRhea.com.

Tuesday
Feb212017

Comfort Zone / Chocolate Zone

In this UPLIFT post, Rhonda Rhea encourages us to step out in faith—maybe more faith than we think we have.

"Think chocolate is not the answer? Maybe," Rhonda says, "you're not asking the right questions."

Ok now. Rhonda had me (Dawn) at the word "chocolate." Say that word and I'm like a dog hearing the word "squirrel." But knowing Rhonda, there's some spiritual truth in here somewhere.

She continues . . .

Okay, I do know chocolate is not really the answer to all the world’s problems. But it does sort of make a challenge a bit more palatable.

Chocolate-coating our discomforts—couldn’t hurt, right? Sometimes chocolate is not only in my comfort zone, but chocolate is my comfort zone.

Did you hear about the recent scientific study that determined 10 out of 9 people appreciate chocolate? It doesn’t matter so much that the math doesn’t exactly work, I don’t argue with it.

As a matter of fact, I’ve sometimes wondered how much it would take to cause me to say the words “Now that’s just too much chocolate.” And while I don’t know how much, I’m more than willing to explore the topic through my own personal research.

Other studies—real ones—are always citing more ways chocolate is good for you. So I’ve decided to no longer consider myself a few pounds overweight.

I’ve decided to instead think of myself as “chocolate-enriched.”

That’s my comfort zone and I’m sticking to it. Also, it’s sort of sticking to me.

There are comfort zones and there are comfort zones.

When God commissioned Joshua after the death of Moses, He gave Joshua instructions about the new land He was to possess. He said to him, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, ESV).

Sometimes God calls us to step out of everything comfortable.

We see it all through Scripture. God called Moses to step out before the mantle was passed to Joshua. God called Abraham to leave his home and everything familiar to him to take off to zones unknown. He called Samuel, He called Isaiah, He called so many more. Jesus called His disciples to step out of their comfortable lives and to follow Him with abandon.

There aren’t a lot of things in this life I can promise will happen, but I can promise this. At some point you will be called to step out of your comfort zone.

Don’t be caught off guard. Don’t think you’re being reprimanded. And even more importantly, don’t think for a second that He is not with you in that less-than-comfy place. Be strong. Be courageous. Know He is with you.

It’s good to remember that stepping out of our comfort zone is also stepping into the comfort of His Holy Spirit. It’s amazing—even in discomfort, there’s comfort! Real comfort. It’s comfort not in a place, not in a possession, not in a food—it’s in a Person, the Person of our mighty God of all comfort.

His is the zone of victory—even miracles. Paul spoke of how the churches in Macedonia, though they were in a zone of great discomfort, gave “as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability,” (2 Corinthians 8:3, NIV). God makes it possible for us to do more than is possible for us to do. It’s “10 out of 9” kind of math, only it’s very real.

As you step out in faith, you’ll find there’s growth in every new place the Lord leads you. You can rest assured He will never ask you to step out of one zone into another without His presence, without His purpose or without His empowering.

There’s great comfort there. Sometimes there’s even chocolate.

Where might God be asking you to step outside your comfort zone and into a place of growth?

Rhonda Rhea is a humor columnist, radio personality, speaker and author of 10 books, including How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person?, Espresso Your Faith - 30 Shots of God's Word to Wake You Up, and a book designed to encourage Pastor's Wives (P-Dubs): Join the Insanity. Rhonda, a sunny pastor's wife, lives near St. Louis and is "Mom" to five grown children. Find out more at www.RhondaRhea.com.

Tuesday
Dec272016

Making Peace with the Dishwasher Door

In this Attitudes UPGRADE, Rhonda Rhea reminds us we may not be in control of circumstances, but we are all in charge of our attitudes.

"Forget all those personality tests," Rhonda says. "Never mind the character studies. If you want insights into your own psyche, try the dishwasher."

Try the WHAT? Like I (Dawn) said, Rhonda is a pro at twisting everyday stuff into lessons for us all.

Rhonda continues . . .

The dishwasher is a handy-dandy machine that can reveal what you’re really made of.

All you have to do is follow these simple operating instructions: 

  1. Leave dishwasher door open.
  2. Unwittingly apply shin forcefully to side of the open door.
  3. Repeat as needed.

There’s your temperament analysis.

A few years ago, there was a week or two when our dishwasher door wouldn’t stay closed. By the end of that time, I’m pretty sure I had taken a lot more personality tests than one personality can reasonably handle. Also more than one person’s shins can reasonably handle. My legs looked like a couple of old bananas.

Are those leopard print leggings?

No. No, they aren’t. … I wasn’t wearing leggings.

I’m not sure why I didn’t get better at maneuvering around that thing. Or even remembering that it was there.

Why didn’t I just learn to hurdle? I should’ve been Olympic-event-ready after the first few days.

It was, in fact, a strong leg survival instinct that inspired us to get the door fixed. And in the couple of weeks before it was fixed, there’s a good chance my family may have seen a little more of my “personality” than they wanted.

We often find out what we’re made of when we run into difficulties. Maybe even more so when we run into those difficulties really hard.

How do we respond when we hit a surprise painful situation?

  • Anger?
  • Bitterness?
  • Self-pity?
  • Thinking life is unfair?
  • Thinking God is unfair?

How we respond directly relates to the peace we will—or won’t—experience in a painful situation.

It’s not so much a personality thing. It’s instead about what we let happen by our own choices.

In Colossians 3:15 Paul says, “And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts” (HCSB).

There’s an important “let” in his instruction. We need to “let” His peace rule.

Sometimes we let personality—or some other aspect of ourselves—control our hearts. There are times when we focus on difficulty or injustice and end up letting bitterness rule. Or negativity. Or defeat and self-absorption. Sometimes we just plain surrender to sin and let it rule.

All those fleshly things certainly will control our hearts if we let them. They want that control.

Our flesh has a strong survival instinct.

The Greek word translated “control” in this passage is a word that means to be a referee or director—like one who presides over an Olympic game. The indwelling presence of our Messiah and the peace that He gives will referee our every internal battle. And peace wins the day at every point we will “let.”

Is there anything else you’re letting control your heart? Let His peace control instead. That’s the way to hurdle over any difficulty and win. Not just an Olympic win. A life win.

It’s at our humble surrender to His peace that we’re able to be fruitful, joy-filled, thankful—successfully passing every test. Even a personality test.

Yes, even the dishwasher-door-to-the-shin personality test.

What is your "test" this week? Will you let God's peace control?

Rhonda Rhea is a humor columnist, radio personality, speaker and author of 10 books, including How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person?, Espresso Your Faith - 30 Shots of God's Word to Wake You Up, and a book designed to encourage Pastor's Wives (P-Dubs): Join the Insanity. Rhonda, a sunny pastor's wife, lives near St. Louis and is "Mom" to five grown children. Find out more at www.RhondaRhea.com.

Graphic, courtesy of HomeBuildingLessons.com.

Tuesday
Nov152016

Perfect Instructions - Oh, to Remember These!

Rhonda Rhea--she's a quirky, sunshiny sweetheart in the Body of Christ, with a heart to honor her Lord. In this short Spiritual Growth UPGRADE, she writes about "instructions" we need to heed.

"It’s really funny when I read the directions on the brownie mix box and then throw it away," Rhonda says. "Like I somehow think I won’t have to dig it out of the trash five minutes later. Or also dig it out eight more times after that."

Oh, Rhonda. You keep me (Dawn) in stitches. How is it you always manage to take everyday situations and turn them into stand-up comedy?

With stand up truth!

Rhonda continues . . .

Sometimes I totally forget how to boil brownies.

Not that there’s a lot of ADD at work here or anything, but I was looking up the symptoms for ADD the other day and ended up watching puppy videos on Facebook for 45 minutes.

  • Take one large portion of forgetfulness.
  • Fold in equal measurements of all the attention deficits.
  • Then add a generous sprinkling of puppies.

What do you get? Well it’s not brownies, I’ll tell you that right now.

One time I was in a meeting with an editor and suddenly noticed that when I polished my nails, I totally missed one. Nine painted nails. What, I forgot how many fingers I have?

So I was supposed to convince an editor that I could responsibly finish an entire book when I couldn’t even manage to polish all ten fingernails.

FOCUS, Girl!

My focus will probably always come and go. And then probably go.

But I don’t want to be any kind of forgetful, distracted or careless when it comes to God’s message for me.

In Christian circles, we speak often about reading God’s Word. Why do you suppose we make such a big deal about the Bible?

Probably the biggest reason is that whatever measure of attention we give the Word of God, by that measure we’ll grow.

 No attention, no growth.

And simply reading the Bible is not really the goal. It’s not about ritual. The goal is to know God. It’s to open His Book—His personal message to us—and to meet with Him there.

The Father’s is a message that makes sense of life. A message that grows us. And even more, a message that completes us.

When Paul wrote that “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness,” he also wrote about what all the training is for“so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work,” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 HCSB).

Anytime we’re feeling a bit disconnected or directionless—a bit “incomplete”—it’s important to examine how focused we are on communing with the Father through His Word.

It’s time to dig those instructions right back out.

The word “complete” in 2 Timothy 3:17 is from the Greek word “artios.” It’s a math concept that implies that nothing else needs to be added to make it whole. All-inclusively, perfectly polished.

If your desire is to be “artios,” start with His Word.

When you boil it all down, isn’t that desire to be whole—to have a deep and meaningful relationship with our Creator—what we all want in life? It’s exactly what we were made for. Without that complete connection, life will always seem a bit... off. Not quite right.

May we ever wisely trade that “not-quite-right-ness” for the completeness we find in our Creator and in connecting with Him through His Word.

And on other topics of “not-quite-right-ness,” do let me know anytime you’d like me to give you an almost-mani.

Or boil you some brownies.

Where are you seeking your "completeness" these days? Is it in spending time with the Lord? If not, what might need to change to encourage "artios" in your life?

Rhonda Rhea is a humor columnist, radiopersonality, speaker and author of 10 books, including How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person?, Espresso Your Faith - 30 Shots of God's Word to Wake You Up,and a book designed to encourage Pastor's Wives (P-Dubs): Join the Insanity. Rhonda, a sunny pastor's wife, lives near St. Louis and is "Mom" to five grown children. Find out more at www.RhondaRhea.com.

Tuesday
Sep132016

Trusting the Trustworthy God

Rhonda Rhea is just plain funny. Until she's not (on purpose). Rhonda's spiritual depth always amazes me, like when she's sharing about the character of God and how we relate to Him, as in this Spiritual Life UPGRADE.

"Sometimes people agree with me without even thinking it through," Rhonda says. "Of course, let’s face it, that shouldn’t happen all that often. Still, when something happens only occasionally, it makes every occurrence that much sweeter."

Have you ever had anyone trust you that much? I (Dawn) have, and I can testify how sweet that is!

Rhonda continues . . .

When someone agrees before even fully knowing what I’ve said, it makes me feel like I’m sort of the “terms and conditions” of people. Oh, the power.

Basically I’m letting you all know that you can trust me. At least part of the time. I’ll be honest and tell you that you still wouldn’t want to leave me alone in a room with your nachos.

But other than that, trust.

The trustworthiness of a promise always depends on the nature of and the power held by the one making that promise.

Let’s get real, once someone adds a layer of melty cheese, if you trusted me, I would question your trust-judgment. But our God? The very essence of who He is in nature is flawlessness. The power He holds can’t be compared to anything or anyone else. He has it all.

Paul said in Hebrews 10:22, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (ESV). So Paul is talking to us as believers here when he says in the next sentence, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (vs. 23).

It makes sense to have faith in the One who is faithful.

It makes sense to trust in the One who is trustworthy. His record is clear. He has never failed to deliver on a promise. Never.

God’s Word is filled, cover to cover, with one blessed occurrence after another of promises kept.

We have His nature as the basis for our trust in Him. We have His power, knowing He is fully capable of carrying out His promises. And if that’s not enough—which it certainly is, but still—we have His love for us to top it all off.

You can trust the One who loves you without limits, without reserve. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV).

Our Lord loved us all the way to the cross. His love is perfect. And that leads us to trust Him without the slightest apprehension. Our faith is well-placed. “But You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth” (Psalm 86:15, HCSB).

David wrote also in Psalm 143:8, “Let me experience Your faithful love in the morning, for I trust in You” (HCSB).

Love leads to trust. And trust leads to love. That is perfect!

Anytime you encounter a challenge, difficulty, doubt or question, it changes how you see that struggle when you remember that Your Father is trustworthy. Not part of the time. All. In every room. He is perfect, He is powerful and He loves you with a lavish love.

Those are His terms. Those are His conditions. Oh, the power!

What encourages you to trust God the most: His nature, power or love? Can you thank Him today for being your trustworthy God?

Rhonda Rhea is a humor columnist, radio personality, speaker and author of 10 books, including How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person?, Espresso Your Faith - 30 Shots of God's Word to Wake You Up, and a book designed to encourage Pastor's Wives (P-Dubs): Join the Insanity. Her new book, Turtles in the Road—coauthored with her daughter Kaley (another UPGRADE blogger)—is releasing soon. Rhonda, a sunny pastor's wife, lives near St. Louis and is "Mom" to five grown children. Find out more at www.RhondaRhea.com.