What Do We Treasure: June 18, 2019

Hi ladies!

I hope your summer is going well. I can’t believe how fast it is going. My vacation time with my boys always seems too short.

Something I have discovered being the mom of two very imaginative and talkative little boys is their absolute love for anything that even remotely appears to be a treasure box. Every time my 4 year old sees an old looking box with a hook and eye closure and metal straps across the top, he has to touch it, to open it, to see what “treasure” is inside.

Treasure is a popular topic in the Bible. There are plenty of stories of treasure being claimed by victors of battle and such, but there are also reminders in the Psalms and Proverbs of the treasure of wisdom and where that comes from.

Jesus reminded us in Luke 12 and Matthew 6 that our treasure is in Heaven, not earthly treasure that can be so easily lost.

Then Paul wrote to the Colossians:

“My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” Colossians 2:2-3


Early in our reading this summer we learned that several times during Jesus’ life Mary “treasured” what she was seeing in the life of God’s son. (Luke 2:19 and 51)

I noticed something about these last two uses of the word treasure: They speak about Christ and understanding.

Mary was seeing something unfold that few would have the privilege to see, certainly no one would see it from her perspective, and she didn’t always fully understand it.

In Luke 2:19 it says she pondered the things she was treasuring.

In Luke 2:50 we learn that Jesus’ parents didn’t understand what he was saying to them and in the next breath we learn that his mother treasured these things she did not understand in her heart.

I think were I am trying to go here is this: Your heart may not look like an old timey pirate’s treasure box that so excites my little boys, but it is a treasure box. 

It is the place where we put everything we are learning in our Bible study. A place to put these precious nuggets of knowledge and wisdom that God lets us see so that we can ponder them and learn from them. While doing this we may discover that God’s plan is so much more than us, that we may not understand it in it’s incredible vastness.

Let us, like Mary, quietly treasure what we don’t understand so that we may have the privilege of watching Him work.

God Bless you all this week,

Ronda

What’s On Your Plate: June 12, 2019 Email

Hi Ladies!

No matter where you are, the fellowship of a Bible Study is wonderful and there is always something to learn from God.

That is the point of my email today, as a matter of fact. Don’t ever let where you are in your ability to study the Bible or your Bible knowledge keep you for meeting together or opening your Bible.

I love that Marian and the Women’s Ministry at Mission City Church called this Summer reading plan “Come to the Table”. That is just what it is. God has put a banquet in front of us of His glorious knowledge, wisdom and presence. It may seem overwhelming at first, but that’s just because it is more sustenance than we have seen in a while in this dusty desert of a world we live in.

My life kind of revolves around food right now, so this is an easy metaphor for me. 

My littlest has to have a certain amount of certain foods every day or his body will revolt on him and we’ll be right back where we started. It can be frustrating for both him and us and, more often than not, our dinner table is less joy and more begging and fighting. But, something he has said over and over lately makes me think about how we accept the feast that God offers with His Word:

He says “It’s too much!”

At first I thought he meant too much on his fork or something like that, but then he used the phrase anytime he was frustrated or overwhelmed by anything.

That’s when I got it.

It’s too much = I’m overwhelmed, help me.

And as parents, we do help him. He is able to take in the great amount that he needs when we help him take it in at a pace that fits him.

God does that with us. 

The list of Bible verses in front of you may look overwhelming. Tell God, “It’s too much”. He will be faithful to help you see it in portions and at a pace that you can handle.

Some of us, on some days, are ready for deep examination and many, many commentaries and cross references and on other days it’s all you can do to open and read the first passage. 

Some of us are only ready to take a verse at a time. 

But all of us will be filled by God with exactly what we need to live this life and walk with Him.

Don’t get overwhelmed and step away from the table, please.

When it feels like too much, remember God is there to help you as a loving Father. He understands your need and your limitation.

One of my favorite passages from the Bible for when I feel like God wants more than I can give is this:

Hebrews 14-16 “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

God Bless you all this week,

Ronda

Faith for What We Cannot See: June 5, 2019 Email

Today was the last day of school for my first grader. Wow! My momma heart wanted today to be perfect for him (some of you know where that is going to end).


The problem started because my kids hate mornings. In fact, some mornings, like today, they wage an all out assault on all things “good morning”. If you ask my mother, she might say that this is just a taste of what I put her through, but I digress.


To put it simply, the morning was not perfect and I had to pull out the mean mommy voice more than once.

I dropped him off at school and I felt awful.

It took all that I had not to turn around and run into that school and embarrass him with a big kiss and hug and, more likely than not, tears.

But I had to have faith that he would be ok. I had to put this little thing in God’s hands and have faith that God would make my son’s day a good one.

I started thinking more about this faith and faith in general. My faith that God would take care of my little boy when I could not see him is just a tiny lesson God is using to make me a person of faith.


The last couple of days I have spent some time in one of my favorite books: Hebrews. I have loved this book since I studied it in Junior High and it has meant more every time I have returned to it (something that I have found true about all of the Word of God). Specifically, Hebrews chapters 11 and 12.

Hebrews 11 is most often called the “faith chapter” and a quick look through it will show you why.

It is a beautiful list of people through the generations and what they did by faith. The list is familiar and a little intimidating. But the point is that it was faith that led these people through some of the most difficult, confusing times of their lives; a faith that God is good and has a plan.

 
Then, right in the middle of this list is a reminder that is both sobering and heartening:

Hebrews 11:13 ” All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on the earth.”


Sobering: These wonderful paragons of faith didn’t live to see what they knew God was doing.

Heartening: By faith, they knew these things were coming. They saw the beauty that God had planned because of their faith in Him.


I’ve said all of these rambling things to make this point to you: Sometimes you will feel like the hard work you are being called to do in the name of Jesus is not producing the effect you thought you would see. Sometimes the answers will not come. But the answers may not be for us. The work we are being called to do may be, and likely is, the foundation for so much more in God’s plan. We know it is coming and we work towards it, even if we will never see it, because we have the gift of faith in our good God.


Again, the writer of Hebrews puts it much better than I could have:

Hebrews 12:1-3″Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”


I hope that this encourages you today.

God Bless you and keep you,

Ronda

More: May 28, 2019 Email

Hello Ladies,

I hope your week has been blessed even if it was busy or difficult.

Just wanted to share with you something that I’ve been thinking about: More.
It seems like we are hard wired to want more.

We want more time, more money, more patience, more energy, more house, more car, more friends, more food, more drink. It is a part of being human, and so often it is misdirected and leads us into ruin.

So my question this week was why. Why do we want more? From where does this deep seeded need come?

God is our creator. He put in us the desire for more as a tug to Him. He is the supplier of all of our needs, and He wants us to know Him MORE.

It seems much of what I have read and listened to has led to Ephesians. Paul wrote in Ephesians 1 about all of the Spiritual blessings we have received in Christ. I encourage you to read this chapter.

Just a few things that Paul pointed out in this chapter:

–          We have been adopted into sonship in God’s family through Jesus Christ.

–          We have been freely given his glorious grace.

–          We have been given forgiveness of our sins.

–          We have been given the Holy Spirit.

After Paul explores with great joy all of the gifts we have been given he outlines his prayer for the Ephesians (and us as believers). He wants us to know more of God through wisdom and revelation.

Paul invites believers to explore the glorious riches and power of God. He points out that this is the same power that raised Christ from the dead! After reading what Paul has to say about all that he has seen in Christ and wants us to see, I want to know more.

This is where the need for more is designed to be directed: chasing after God, to know Him more.

In the last two verses of Ephesians 1, we are reminded why the search for MORE of God will take care of all of those other things we want “more” of:

“And God placed all things under his [Christ’s] feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” Ephesians 1:22-23

So let’s chase after MORE God together this week. We’ve been given the ultimate tool for this in the Bible. Let us read and study and pray and learn as much as we can.

Ronda

Jesus is Patient: May 22, 2019 Email

God has been working on some stuff in me. You know the point where it starts to kind of hurt.

I know that He is working out a particularly rough part of me. He has to wear away this imperfection so that he can heal me. I will let you in on that some other time, I don’t think I’m quite ready to share, but I will let you know something true that stands out during this time.

Really, it’s not much.

Pretty simply: Jesus is patient and persistent and is waiting for you and speaking to you and will continue until you listen. He’s not like us. He won’t give up and walk away if we ignore Him.

I was listening to a book by Corrie ten Boom and she led me to read 2 Peter 3. The passage is about the coming of the Day of The Lord. It is worth reading the whole thing but I would like to highlight a verse that speaks to the characteristic of God that we are talking about today:

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3: 9

He loves you and will not give up on you.

I’ll just leave that there.

It seems like that is what needs to be said. 

Have a wonderful day!

Ronda

Bible Study: May 14, 2019 Email

Bible study is one of my favorite things and one of the most difficult things in my life. I thought I would write to you all today about why we need to study the Bible.

I woke up this morning feeling like I was running several marathons all going in different directions. Well, really I’m not sure if that is accurate as I have never run a marathon, but you get where I’m going here. The thing that I do know about marathons is that you have to follow the correct path or you just end up going nowhere. It is so easy to let life pull you in several different “noble” directions.

“Fill other’s buckets.” “Self Care is so important.” “Join the PTO/Book Club/(fill in the cause of the week group here).” “If you don’t give your kids a great breakfast you’re not doing your job.” “You really should be on a Keto/Paleo/Gluten Free/Egg Free/Cruelty Free/Weight Watchers/Bulletproof Coffee Diet.” “TV is bad.” “Watch Ted Talks.” “Watch this TV series.” “Watch this movie.” “Protest those movies.”

I could go on and on, and I have, but you probably understand what I’m feeling here and have most likely felt it yourself. The world constantly changes the finish line for us. We will never succeed based on that metric. I don’t like using the word never, but here, it is so true.

But there is good news in the midst of this hurricane: God is constant. What He asks of you is constant and not burdensome.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 

Matthew 11: 28-30

So, when the world throws all of these “You really should” statements at you go to God and ask Him what you should do. He’s the only one who matters and the only one who is ultimately correct. His word will help you run the right marathon in the right direction. Learn from Him.

Love you all,

Ronda

The Cure for Loneliness: May 7, 2019 Email

Ok, so maybe not a cure, but I gotta have a hook right. 🙂

Seriously though, loneliness is something we all deal with at some point in our lives. Everyone has felt it: introvert or extrovert, positive people or realistic people or negative people, unbelievers and Christians.

And I’m not talking about being alone. That’s different and, quite frankly, something that I sometimes long for and believe is a blessing. The Gospels describe many times when Jesus went away to the lonely places.

No, this loneliness can happen when you are surrounded by people or when you are by yourself.

It’s that time when you feel like no one can hear you, when you think no one cares what is going on in your head or your heart. It can be passing or it can be very, very deep and lead to so many more problems.

But I promised a cure, didn’t I. Or at least a help. I have two actually, because I love you all so much and don’t want you to feel lonely.

The first is a reminder for most of you, but we all need to hear it even if it is for the hundredth time: I am praying for you. In fact, did you know that through the working of the Holy Spirit there might be people praying for you right now who don’t even know you? That is the family of God that we have been given.

I know I’ve had this experience and I think you might be able to relate. When I have gone through something trying and I begin to think that others may have to deal with these trials as well. The desire the Holy Spirit gives is to pray for these people I may never meet but share an experience with. 

I discovered, through social media, that I’m not the only one prompted in this way. 

Someone wrote a beautiful and touching prayer for the mommas feeding at midnight, for mothers caring for chronically ill children. 

I will be completely honest: I totally started blubbering reading this prayer. This woman lived somewhere across the country and had never met me or even heard of me, but she knew the help I needed from my Heavenly Father because she had been there and the Holy Spirit led her in a prayer for all of us going through the same thing.

We have a beautiful family in God that is larger than we can ever comprehend and is there to support us and lift us up to the Father when we find ourselves without the strength to look up.

All of this to say: We Are NOT Alone.

A perfect example of this family happens once a month at our church. 

TueGather is a meeting for the Women of San Antonio on the first Tuesday of the month at 7pm at Mission City Church in San Antonio, TX.

This is my second cure for loneliness. 

Nothing cures loneliness like sitting in the presence of God with so many sisters in Christ. I’m excited to see all of us get together and hear the Word of God and worship Him!

Think about the massive numbers of women who will share in this experience! I can’t use enough exclamation points!!!!!!!!

I love you all and I want you to remember: We Are NOT Alone!

God Bless you all,

Ronda

Stand In The Storm: April 30, 2019 Email

Matthew 7:24-27 New International Version (NIV)

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Do you remember this story?

I remember singing a song about this when I was very little. I believe my understanding of it was very literal and I was sure not to build my lego houses on sand 🙂 . It is amazing how those lessons learned so early can come back with such deeper meaning when we have walked in adulthood for a while.

This came back to me this week for a very good reason: Politics and Facebook. 

Some of us are familiar with the storms that can occur on social media when someone makes a broad statement and everybody starts to digitally yell all of their opinions into the virtual wind. And I think all of us are familiar with the political thunderhead building around us.

Often Christian based opinions are not popular in this storm. It can be confusing and frustrating to enter into these conversations with people we know are basing their current thoughts on the winds of popular opinion.

The frustration will not end.

It is impossible to argue with someone who is feeling the support of popular opinion for their sand based statements (some might call them fools). 

But this is what God says in the verse above: The one who builds what they know (their house) on the rock of God’s Word will stand up against the storm, but the one who builds what they know on the sand of popular opinion will eventually feel their house fall with a great crash.

Here is what I would encourage us all to ask ourselves in order to make sure we are making wise statements: 

Are you basing your argument on the immutable, unchangeable, infinite, definite truth of the God who created the universe and all that it contains, or on the word of a fellow traveler feeling their way through the same dark room only three feet ahead of you on a path that neither one of you is sure is forward?

God Bless you all and keep you in the storm.

Ronda

We Are Unique: April 23, 2019 Email

“She’s different.”

“She’s weird.”

“She dances to her own music.”

I’m pretty sure I’ve heard all of these things at some point in my life. I’m sure if you know me you’ve thought them, lol.  

It used to bother me. 

I mean, when you’re a teenager or a young woman the very last thing you want is to stand out or be anything but “normal”.  

That has changed in the last year. See, I’ve learned something. It’s not bad to be different, to stand out, especially for the Christian Woman. I would even venture to say that we are supposed to stand out as something unique in the world. 

In Matthew 5:14-16, Christ tells us:

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (NJKV)

So, when you feel like you are “standing out”, maybe, just maybe, God is putting you on a lampstand to give light to those around you living in darkness. 

The lampstand isn’t a crowded place. It’s not a party and it is not always comfortable. The lampstand is a place of honor and the place you were made to stand.

Let the God who made you use you for His purpose.

Be His kind of different.

Be His kind of weird.

Dance to His music.

I could talk for hours (as some of you know) about how God made us each unique, but I think this is the message for today.

I am so thankful for you all!

God Bless you, Ronda

Holy Week: April 16, 2019 email

I was thinking about you all today. I got to see some of you this morning at Bible Study and I look forward to catching up with those of you I don’t see sometime later this summer when we can get together. I love the community that God has built with us. You are all vital parts, no matter what your part.

 Today was one of those days, you know the ones, where your car becomes the mobile command unit between meetings, studies, doctor’s offices and soccer practice. Even though I was fully prepared for every appointment (a rare occurrence, I assure you) and I knew they would all be very close in time, I couldn’t help but feel like I was physically running for most of the day. But then there came a time in the afternoon when an appointment went short and I had a choice: I could go to my son’s school and wait for an hour for him to get out of school while my youngest took his nap in the car, or I could take the time and go home for a 40 minute rest. I took the 40 minutes. I don’t know if it was the right choice for any of us, but it just felt good to check into home-base.

Now, this week is Holy Week (I know this looks like a tangent, but bear with me). Basically this is the week of several remembrances including Good Friday and Easter Sunday, when we are to bring to our minds and hearts all of the events that make up the last part of each of the gospels and the foundation of our faith. 

This week also happens to be the week our taxes are due, the week we watched Notre Dame burn, the week that people all over the country are feeling the effects of extreme weather… It is a crazy week. 

But, remember, it is Holy Week. Even though, to the world it does not look like the time to take a few minutes and remember our foundation, it is. Remember that. 

It is one of those weeks where we feel like we are running a spiritual mobile command unit from one crisis to the next, but we have to remember home-base. 

My home-base is not a house, or a person, or a financial situation, or a beautiful church that has stood for centuries. My home-base is Jesus. 

So, even if it is just a few minutes, take the time this week to check in to home-base. Because:

“The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside quiet waters,

He refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me; 

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil; 

my cup overflows.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me

all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the LORD 

forever.”  -Psalm 23 NIV

God Bless you all and have an amazing Easter celebration!

Ronda

Tired: April 9, 2019 email

I have to tell you all, I’m tired this week. It seems that these weeks of school after Spring Break are just a fight to the finish for my kiddo and Mama is TIRED! 

Today was one of those days when I leapt out of bed ready to greet the morning…ok, so maybe I didn’t leap and maybe the morning was more ready than I was. But, I was determined to make it a good day.

So ladies, let’s be real, the moment you make it clear that you are determined to do anything, the enemy will glob onto that thing, salivating for that moment when you break down and give up or give in. It seems that every which way I turned something was thrown in my path to derail me or just plain push my buttons. By the end of the day, I literally screamed at my GPS (which had somehow decided that I wanted walking directions not driving directions). But that is when God decided to give me my words for today: Take Heart. I had no idea what that meant. No clue what He was trying to tell me. But I knew it was from Him.

I looked it up on my trusty Interwebs and found several references. Apparently a lot of people need to take heart. But I found a passage in Scripture on Biblestudytools.com that seemed to be my answer.

Deuteronomy 4:39

Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.

Take heart: God is in control in heaven and on earth.

Take heart: There is nothing above, below or even close to Him.

Take heart: He’s got this!

I don’t know if that means to you what it means to me, but I am in awe and just a little ashamed of trying to do it all on my own.

I can’t. HE can.

This verse came from a time when God’s people had seen many miraculous signs and wonders and yet they needed to be reminded of who their God is.

I needed to be reminded of who my God is.

I love you all

God Bless, Ronda