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Entries in Rhonda Rhea (18)

Tuesday
Jan082019

Burning Bush?

Rhonda Rhea’s life seems to be one fiasco after another. But they are faith-building fiascos, so that’s pretty cool, actually. In this UPLIFT story to make you "laugh in" the New Year, Rhonda tells us a personal experience that certainly made me smile … and learn.

“You’re going to think I’m making this up,” Rhonda says, “but it really did happen.”

Now if that isn’t a set-up for a story, I (Dawn) would be so surprised. And given the title of this post, I figure it has something to do with God getting our attention.

Rhonda continues . . .

It was a lovely holiday party. My friend Lynn had decorated her home from top to bottom, right down to the pretty candles in the dining table advent centerpiece one of her kids made.

We left our finger foods and desserts on the table while 30 or so of us gathered in the next room to pray.

While we were praying, I noticed one of Lynn’s children came and got her. I could hear her in the dining room whispering an inordinate number of “oh no’s,” so I went to see if I could help. 

I found Lynn smacking at the centerpiece that had combusted into a little campfire in the middle of the table. I snatched up the nearest towel and started batting at it with her, but I think we were literally fanning the flames. 

Then I did what seemed most logical at the time.

I hollered.

In less than two seconds the room was filled with smoke and screaming women. 

That’s when the smoke alarm went off and Lynn’s husband came bounding down from upstairs. Our hero.

He grabbed the four corners of the tablecloth and picked up flames, food and all and took off running for the front door. 

Lynn and I put out the leftover flames on her table. Her husband made it to the door and hurled the blazing bundle outside with everything he had.

Wouldn’t you know it? It landed right on top of one of their shrubs.

It was winter so, while I call it a shrub, it could probably more accurately be described as “kindling.” It shot up in a bigger inferno than ever.

I wondered if the whole house might be taken down by one contrary centerpiece.

That’s when one of the ladies scooted out the door carrying our huge bowl of punch and flung it on the shrub. No kidding, she extinguished the burning bush with fruit juice, sherbet and a lovely ice ring.

You’re going to think I made that up just so I would have a good “punch” line, but again, it’s the honest truth.

We all stood there blinking in silence for a second, looking at the charred bush with all our smoking hors d’oeuvres lying around it. There were scattered dessert carcasses everywhere. Gruesome.

I announced, “Dinner is served.” 

Who doesn’t love dinner en flambé?

In the Bible’s original burning bush story, God used the bush en flambé to get Moses’ attention. Evidently a tap on the shoulder wouldn’t have been nearly as effective.

We’re told in Exodus 3:2 how God “appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.”

It got his attention, alright. 

Thankfully, we can talk to God with or without flaming vegetation.

In fact, I hope I never make him work that hard to get my attention.

When the Lord spoke to Moses through the bush, Moses answered in verse four, “Here I am.” He wants our prayerful attention just that way.

It’s a good thing to keep a burning passion to pray and a ready heart to respond.

A very good thing.

Incidentally, if you ever encounter any kind of home brush fire, Lynn mentioned that being well-insured is another good thing.

What has the Lord used recently to get your attention? How did you respond?

Rhonda Rhea is the author of 12 books, including the nonfiction titles, Espresso Your Faith, Join the Insanity and a new project co-authored with Beth Duewel, Fix-Her-Upper. Rhonda’s new inspirational Christian fiction, Turtles in the Road, is co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea, and is a hilariously fun romantic comedy. Rhonda is a humor columnist for HomeLife magazine, Leading Hearts magazine, The Pathway, MTL and more. She is a TV personality for The Christian Television Network’s KNLJ in mid-Missouri and speaks at conferences and events coast to coast. Rhonda lives in the St. Louis area with her pastor-hubs, Richie Rhea. They have five grown children and two grandbabies. Visit her blog.

Graphic Adapted, courtesy of Jeff Jacobs at Pixabay.

Monday
Jul022018

Things Unseen

Rhonda Rhea is a humorist. That means she writes to hit your funny bone while she touches your heart. But she also writes to convince people to consider the truth in God's Word—and she does so in the sweetest way. In this UPLIFT post, she encourages us to see life from God’s perspective.

“We’ve been talking about getting an invisible fence for the dog,” Rhonda said. “Then I got to thinking, wouldn’t it be cheaper to just get an invisible dog?”

I (Dawn) was wondering, “OK, Rhonda, where are you going with this one?” But as always, this girl has a point behind her punchline.

Rhonda continues . . .

Think about it. With an invisible dog—immediate reduction in food costs. And the yard clean-up? No comparison.

If your invisible dog decides to use your sofa as a giant face towel, you’re not any worse off. Not to mention, taking your invisible dog to the imaginary vet could save a boatload of bucks.

On the other hand,

  • Invisible dogs are not very effective when you try to blame them for your missing homework.
  • If they bark at intruders, I doubt you’ll ever hear it.
  • And how about having a little beast so excited to see you that it can’t stop wiggling? I think we’d miss seeing that. 

Faith is not exactly something you can see either.

But even still, it solidifies in our minds and hearts everything that is most real.

“Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. For our ancestors won God’s approval by it. By faith we understand that the universe was created by God’s command, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible” (Hebrews 11:1-3, HCSB).

Everything we can see with our eyes has been created by the God we’ve not seen. The evidence brings faith. And the faith is more evidence.

Do you know what happens as we allow the Lord to grow our faith and use it in serving Him?

He gives us eyes to see people in a way we’ve never seen them before and to love them in a way we can’t in our own flesh.

God gives us glimpses of what He sees.

Paul expressed great gratitude to God for the people in Thessalonica. Why? “Because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing” (2 Thessalonians 1:3, ESV).

Singer, songwriter and—my favorite role of his—son, Andy Rhea, wrote a song about putting feet to our faith in the song “Drop Your Nets.”

In it, he writes,

            Lay me down, I will stay right where you want me to;

            Pick me up, and I will go. Oh, Lord, you know I’ll go.

            Break me to the ground so I’ll be face to face with all the ones that I’ve

            Stepped on, passed by—

            Missed their mute cries.

            Come on, people, we have eyes to dry.

Sometimes our call to faith beckons us to hear some cries and dry some eyes. It calls us to drop what might be most comfortable and to sacrifice.

The song continues:

            This is the call for disciples’ nets to fall down.

            This is the broken up soil; it’s time to seed it.

            This is the call for disciples’ nets to fall down.

            This is a vein full of love; it’s time to bleed it.

A “dogged” faith, if you will, is one that shows up in how we see people. And how we love them.

A key line in Andy’s song is, “Let’s lay down our nets and scream, ‘We were made to see things unseen.’”

Invisible. Yet seen.

As far as our invisible dog goes though, I’m still looking. But they’re just so hard to find.         

How long has it been since you’ve seen the “unseen” around you—people who desperately need God’s love? What can you do to get His perspective?

Rhonda Rhea is a humor columnist, radio personality, speaker and author of 10books, 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. She is co-author of Turtles in the Road with her daughter, Kaley. Rhonda, a sunny pastor's wife, lives near St. Louis and is "Mom" to five grown children. Find out more at www.RhondaRhea.com.

Invisible Dog Leash at The Costumer.

Tuesday
Jun062017

You Can Ketchup More Fries with Money

Rhonda Rhea's posts always go deeper than one might think at first. Such is the case in this Stewardship UPGRADE.

"Don’t even try to pretend," Rhonda says. "Don’t pretend you don’t know that the hamburger and the French fries have to come to an end at exactly the same time."

I (Dawn) was intrigued by Rhonda's title until I saw a longer version and scanned the article.

The whole title is: "You Can Ketchup More Fries with Money—And Catch Fools with It Too."

Ah... I see. This is about stewardship!

Rhonda continues . . .

Bite of hamburger. Bite of fry. Burger. Fry.

Once you invest your money in the full meal deal, it feels like bad stewardship if any one bite doesn’t live up to the others.

Burger, fry, burger, fry.

These are the rules, people. Hey, it’s not like I make this stuff up.

When you think about it, it’s the only cultured way to eat a burger.

Of course, “culture” and “full meal deal” don’t always go together like… well… like burgers and fries.

I was eating my burger, fry, burger, fry the other day and I happened to glance over at the ketchup packet and noticed it said, “FANCY.”

Well, that was just frustrating. I felt underdressed the whole rest of the meal.

And you don’t want to feel underdressed when you have to go back for that extra order of fries. Because when you’re explaining to the kid taking your money that you had too much burger at the end of your fries, you don’t want to look stupid.

When it comes to dealing well with money, there’s always a challenge not to get stupid. Not because money is evil. Because loving it is.

And it’s a trap.

“But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains” (1 Timothy 6:9-10, HCSB).

Obsession with material things leads to more obsession with material things, and then more—a trap of our own spiraling desires. It’s like always needing one more fry.

How sobering to read verse 9. Our craving for money can lead us away from our faith and right into all kinds of piercing pain. Foolish sinfulness. Certainly nothing sophisticated about that.

Paul tells us to “run from these things” (verse 11). Run away from that temptation to focus on getting rich.

People who already enjoy wealth are not safe from the trap either. It can become all too easy to find security in a big bank account rather than in Christ.

Verse 17 says, “not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy.”

When Paul tells us to run from the love of money and all the other evils, he doesn’t just leave us running wildly off without direction.

“But you, man of God, run from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness" (verse 11).

As we pursue all the right spiritual things, our view toward all things physical comes more clearly into focus.

When we’re not distracted by loving or trusting in money and things, we see what’s real.

“Instruct them to do what is good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good reserve for the age to come, so that they may take hold of life that is real,” (verse 18).

Investing in Kingdom work. That’s real investing.

Incidentally, anytime you’ve invested the meal deal and you’re feeling a little unsophisticated… ketchup. It’s the fancy condiment.

Anything else just won’t cut the mustard.

Are you pursuing the physical or the spiritual? How is pursuing the spiritual a better "deal"? 

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 adapted, courtesy of eisenmenger at Pixabay.

Thursday
May112017

To Mommy

Kaley Faith Rhea is Rhonda Rhea's daughter. I wouldn't normally make a big deal out of that because I think every daughter has a right to stand on her own, not her mama's reputation.

But Kaley has a special tribute to her mom today, and in this Mother's Day UPLIFT, I think there's a message here for all of us.

"Happy Mother's Day!" Kaley says. "Today I want to take a look at how we honor moms--including mine.

(Note: I have a neat mom!)"

I (Dawn) think Kaley's mom, Rhonda, is a hoot. And a godly one at that. I would even let Rhonda be my mom, except I already have a good one, and a good mom-in-law too.

Kaley continues . . .

The Bible talks about, reiterates, and quotes “Honor your father and your mother (Exodus 20:12; Matthew 19:19; Ephesians 6:2; and more). It’s in there a lot.

And with this festive little holiday, here’s a great opportunity to do just that for our mommies. But how? How can I honor her?

I'm going to lay out some practicals.

1. Let’s talk about what honor means.

We’re using it as a verb here. To honor someone is to do something.

I can hold my mom in the highest regard (and I do), but if I am not demonstrating that esteem and affection I have for her, then I am not honoring her.

If Mom doesn’t KNOW she’s being honored, she’s not really being honored.

2. I need to honor MY mom.

Let’s be clear, when I say she needs to be mine, I’m not talking biologically. Plenty of moms out there are mothers of choice, and that is beautiful. But what I mean is, I need to keep in mind WHO I am honoring.

If I want to honor my mom, for example, I am not going to buy her a motorcycle. There are mothers out there, I’m certain, for whom a motorcycle would be the perfect, thoughtful, Mother’s Day gift. Mine is not that mom.

I think sometimes society likes to lump mothers together into one, easily-definable group. All moms are not the same person. I want to say it one more time: All moms are not the same person.

Mommies are vastly different from one another.

You know—the way all people are different from one another.

God is magnificent at crafting unique, individual souls, and that’s what each mom is. The key here is to learn how my mom feels most honored and cherished.

If you’ve ever looked at the Five Love Languages, that can be a nice place to start.

My mom’s love languages are gifts and acts of service. She loves getting Mother’s Day presents. Sometimes she asks for projects to be done around the house as her gift (which is very helpful. Thanks, Mom).

But I have friends whose moms cannot stand getting gifts. Gifts are just not their area.

Maybe that’s yours. If you find yourself frustrated with your mom going, “Please, you don’t need to get me anything” every year—while you’re going, “Mom, please, I have already bought these flowers; please take them; they’re dying!”—I want to set you free to try a different approach.

Maybe...

  • Offer to paint her living room,
  • Or write her a letter telling her how much you appreciate her,
  • Or take her out for a date or give her a boatload of snuggly hugs.

Let our moms be who they are.

I honestly can’t understand the acts of service thing. I’m over here like, “I’ll clean my own kitchen, thanks; get back in here and tell me how great you think I am.”

My mommy’s different than me. And that’s cool.

3. I don’t have a real number three. I just want to say I’m so grateful for my mom.

  • She has blessed every part of my life with her sweet acts of service.
  • Her words and her example have been used by God to introduce me to and strengthen my relationship with Him.
  • And the way she’s filled our home with laughter and kindness all my life has shaped me and helped me grow.

I love the time I get to spend with her, and I hope someday I’ll be a mom like THAT.

Lord Jesus, help us to honor our mothers according to Your Word. Thank you, specifically, for putting my gorgeous mom together the way You did and for making me hers.

Lord, I know there are some who have struggled with not having a mom or having been deeply hurt in that relationship in the past. I pray that You, Holy Spirit, Healer, would repair hearts, restore relationships where possible, provide closure if not, and ultimately be glorified in the way Your children love one another by Your strength.

Amen!

A Note from Dawn:

  • Think about your mom (mother, mommy) and thank the Lord for something very special about her, or something you learned from her.
  • If she is still alive, think of some way to honor her that she would personally appreciate this Mother's Day, as Kaley suggested. If she has passed away, take some time to look over old photographs and remember her with thanksgiving.
  • If you currently do not have a strong relationship with your mother, take time to pray about that. (There may be some way you can show her kindness.) Or perhaps you can think of another woman in your life you can encourage today. Express to her a positive way she has "nurtured" your life.

Kaley Faith Rhea is the co-author of Turtles in the Road, a novel releasing in a few weeks. Along with writing and teaching at writers’ conferences, she co-hosts the TV show, That’s My Mom, for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ in mid-Missouri. Kaley lives in the St. Louis area.

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.