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  • The Wedding Feast

    Posted on June 27th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!

    Revelations 19:9

     I thank God for giving me role models on how to do this Christian walk.  Two married couples showed me that you can use any event to praise God and be a witness to other people.  They demonstrated this through their weddings.

    One couple invited me to their wedding, and it was the first time I’d been to a wedding that started off with Praise & Worship.  Instead of people talking & schmoozing while they were waiting for the bride to walk down the aisle, they had a friend lead us in worship songs and share her testimony.

    The other couple was my aunt & uncle, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary several years ago by renewing their vows.  Even though it was a renewal, they used the event to talk about God’s goodness.  My main takeaway from the renewal was the two of them saying, “Hey, look at what God has done for us throughout these 50 years!  Look at how He’s kept us together for 50 years!”

    Witnessing the wedding & the renewal of vows was inspiring to me.  They encouraged my faith & gave me a greater feeling of happiness.  I’ve been to other weddings, and all of them were nice, happy events; but these two stuck out in my mind because they were overtly Christ-centered.  Somehow, praising God made me feel included, rather than a spectator.

    My word of wisdom for today is praise.  Now I know that I can use every event, great & small, to praise God.  I wish I knew that before.


    The purpose of If I Knew Then What I Know Now is to share some insights that I wish someone had told me about when I was younger.  There’s a fuller explanation on my first post, written on May 14, 2012.


  • Christian Small Groups

    Posted on June 18th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

    Romans 12:15

    I’ve participated in Bible studies & prayer groups.  The ultimate value & impact of participating in a Christian Small Group is that, if you hang in there long enough, you get to the place where you a part of a tight small community that will rejoice when you rejoice, and mourn when you mourn.


    When I first started attending my church, I didn’t know anyone; and even though people were friendly enough, it’s hard to get to know people and make friends by just coming to Sunday service.  I listened to the Sunday sermon, and then hung around church for a few minutes for “fellowship”, but it’s hard to establish friendships with people just after 5 minutes of talk over coffee & bagels.  I started to really make friends & feel a part of the church when I started participating in a weekly prayer group.  Sharing prayer requests gives you an opportunity to know people in a different way.  There’s no such thing as running out of conversation, because if you can’t think of anything more to say, you can always talk about God and His word.  As I got more and more comfortable with this group, I shared more and more personal issues with them; and they trust me more.  We developed a bond.  Last year, when I found out I was going to be laid off from my job, they had my back.  They offered job leads & advice; but, more importantly than that, they prayed for me, encouraged me, and prevented me from worrying & despairing.  When I found my next job, they rejoiced with me.


    Small groups have worked for me because they’ve been confidential, friendly, all participants have a foundation that God has authority over us & that we look to the Bible to know His will; and we try to to strike a balance between holding one another accountable and allowing people to have a differing opinion about what a verse of scripture meant to them.  They’ve also worked because, even though we may have a leader, no one is an expert.  We all acknowledge that we’re all learning how to walk the talk.

  • Happy Father’s Day!

    Posted on June 17th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    I will proclaim the decree of the Lord:  He said to me,

    “You are my son; today I have become your Father . . . “

    Psalm 2:7


    Father is my word of wisdom for today.

    In May, during Mother’s Day, I stood in line at the pharmacy to put in a prescription.  There were a few guys in line behind me who were talking about how cheated they felt as fathers.  They were saying that on Mother’s Day, women get everything.  As men, they’re expected to buy gifts, take women out to dinner.  Men are expected to “pull out all the stops” for the mothers in their lives.   They’re expected to buy even when they don’t have money to buy.  However, no one makes the same effort for them on Father’s Day.  They said they’ll be happy if they get a card.  Even though the men behind me were laughing & joking, it was a hard conversation to listen to.  Deuteronomy 5:16 tells us to honor our fathers & mothers, so that we can live long.  The fact that my life depended on how I treated both my parents was a revelation to me.  I wish I knew that before.

    God bless all of you gentlemen who are fathering others, whether they are your biological children or not.

    I pray for the men who are not able to assume their responsibilities as a father, or who refuse to undertake those responsibilities.

    I am glad that God is willing to be a father to us all.  A perfect father.  A father who can and will protect us, listen to us, counsel us, discipline us, feed us, shelter us, and bless us.

    I also thank God for the father He gave to me.

    Fathers, enjoy your day.

  • Nebuchadnezzar: A Character Study

    Posted on June 15th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men in Babylon.

    Daniel 2:12


    What kind of man would kill you for telling the truth?

    Nebuchadnezzar wanted his astrologers killed because they told him that only the gods could interpret his dream.  My word of wisdom for today is stability.  Choose people who are emotionally stable.  Stay away from people who go from sweetness to rage as quickly as you flick a light switch on and off.

    In a previous post, I mentioned having contact with abuse survivors.  When dealing with abusive folks, I learned that there’s something called a “cycle of violence”.  A woman gets beaten by her husband, who then apologizes and buys her flowers and/or gifts.  After a brief “honeymoon” period, the mood changes again.  The wife & kids are soon tiptoeing around the house, afraid to make daddy angry.  One day, she gets beaten up again; often worse than before.  Then more flowers and apologies.  Unfortunately, some women stay until they get killed.  They believe the apologies, not realizing they’re involved with someone fundamentally unstable.  (If you’re in this situation, log onto to get some help for yourself.)

    Proverbs 22:24 tells us not to associate with one easily angered.  Sometimes, for me, the Proverbs are just words on a page.  Proverbs comes to life when I read about Nebuchadnezzar, because I get a chance to see what people who are easily angered really look like.  Daniel 3:19 reports that Nebuchadnezzar is so angry with Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego that he “ordered the furnace seven times hot”.  A few verses later (v. 28-30), the same king is praising their God, giving them a promotion – and ordering that anyone who says “anything against the God of Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble .  . . “.  Seriously!?

    Daddy, when your daughter is old enough to date, you might want to spend some devotional time reading through Daniel with her.


    The purpose of If I Knew Then What I Know Now is to share some insights that I wish someone had told me about when I was younger.  There’s a fuller explanation on my first post, written on May 14, 2012.


  • Love – The Verb

    Posted on June 14th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    For God so loved the world that He have His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life . . .

    John 3:16

    Love is an action.  When I was first told that, not only did the information come as a surprise, but it was so contrary to everything I believed and had been taught, that I actually resisted it.  Action is my word of wisdom for today.

    It’s true.  The person who loves you is the person who treats you with love and performs loving acts on your behalf.  Based on His actions, God is love.  I could have avoided a lot of foolishness if I’d known that before.

    As a social worker, I’ve had opportunity to meet survivors of various forms of abuse – financial, sexual, physical, and emotional.  My encounters with them have taught me that it would be a mistake to believe a man loves you just because he says so.  It would be wise to really observe a person over a period of time before you develop an emotional attachment.


    The purpose of If I Knew Then What I Know Now is to share some insights that I wish someone had told me about when I was younger.  There’s a fuller explanation on my first post, written on May 14, 2012.


  • Don’t miss out!

    Posted on June 12th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath

    Mark 2:27

    When I was younger (early childhood through early adulthood) I did not enjoy going to church.  I wish I had known that the Sabbath was made for me.  In my mind, going to church is an integral part of the Sabbath.  If I’m not in church, the Sabbath is just like any other day.  Sabbath is my word of wisdom for today.

    If I’m in a bad mood before church, the negative is always lifted by the time I leave.  I also noticed that, when I need them, the Holy Spirit will remind me of sermons.  Other people have told me that if they skip church, their week doesn’t go well.

    On another level, I like seeing the kids in Sunday School become friends and stick together as they grow up.  My prayer is that they remain lifelong friends so that they can face the challenges of life with godly support and counsel.

    Some people have jobs that require them to work on the Sabbath.  Other people think they have something more important, or better, to do on a Sunday morning.  I wasn’t able to say this when I was a young woman, because I didn’t know any better; but now I can truly say to those people, “You’re missing out”.

     There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God . . .

    Hebrews 4:9


    The purpose of If I Knew Then What I Know Now is to share some insights that I wish someone had told me about when I was younger.  There’s a fuller explanation on my first post, written on May 14, 2012.


  • Media and the Christian Life

    Posted on June 11th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because He has roused Himself from His holy dwelling

    Zechariah 2:13

    When I read the challenge question, and the list of media – internet, television, movies, music, magazines, etc – we were considering, my gut feeling was one of being overwhelmed.  The sheer volume of media one must respond to is stressful – and then we have to consider and contend with content.

    Just this past Wednesday, I met another sister in Christ, who shared her belief that silence, prayer and fasting were essential to hearing from God and discerning His will on what choices to make.  “Silence?”, I said, “What does that mean?”.  Essentially, silence means to unplug.  No cell.  No internet.  No texting.  No television.  No landline.  Dealing with all the media is overwhelming.  The enormity of the undertaking to unplug, however, is prohibitive in itself.  I’m so dependent that I have to plan for a day of silence.

    Regardless, I take it as a worthy challenge.  I would like to plan in a day to unplug.  Maybe the easiest day to do it would be a Sunday.  Without the distractions of modern media, it would be easier for me to read my Bible and pray.  When I’m plugged-in, which is almost 100% of the time, the challenge is to guard & build my relationship to God, to others, and to myself.  So I have to do a couple of things.  First, distinguish between the urgent, important, and all other.  Second, use media to build relationships rather than pass along useless/negative information.  Three, ignore/delete message from people I don’t know.


  • Be Passionate

    Posted on June 9th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish you were either one or the other!

    Revelation 3:15


    I like to read.  My favorite section of Barnes & Noble is its Bargain Books.  There are some good reads there.

    One such good read is The Unlikely Disciple, by Kevin Roose.  While an undergraduate student at Brown University, Kevin decided that, rather than doing a semester abroad to have a cross-cultural experience, he would just spend a semester at a Christian University.  He chose Liberty University, founded by Jerry Falwell.

    The book was entertaining, and I had a few good laughs.  It was also a challenge to my faith.  Kevin was raised in a fairly secular environment, although he did profess a faith.  His family rarely went to church.  As a person who was raised in church, I realized that I assumed that everyone knew a little something about Christianity.  Who doesn’t know the Adam & Eve story?  His lack of familiarity with things I consider basic was a surprise to me.

    I also saw the Liberty students through Kevin’s eyes.   They did not know Kevin was “undercover” and planning to write a book about his experience, so they had no reason to “perform” for him.  They spent so much of their time praying, reading the Bible, and talking about Jesus that I started to think, “These people are too holy”.

    Too holy?  Is there such a thing?  My word of wisdom for today is passion.  The letter to the church of Laodicea might have been written to me.  Whatever we do, let’s be passionate about it.  Despite being a fun read, Kevin & his classmates discussed & struggled with some heavy contemporary issues.  Whether I agree or not, there’s something about people who stand up – and stand out – for what they believe in that commands respect. ____________________________________________________________

    The purpose of If I Knew Then What I Know Now is to share some insights that I wish someone had told me about when I was younger.  There’s a fuller explanation on my first post, written on May 14, 2012.


  • Good Shepherds

    Posted on June 6th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the

    Holy Spirit has made you overseers. 

    Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood.

    Acts 20:28-29

     I praise God for all the people in my life who have shared the gospel with me and helped me to grow in the gospel and people who showed me how to put my faith into practice.  My word of wisdom for today is shepherd.

    Before I met Janet, prayer was perfunctory.  Something you did in church or before you ate or during the holidays.  When I started hanging out with Janet, the two of us would walk around the city, and would pray for the city while we walked around; or as we talked, we would stop our conversation & pray about the different things we were talking about.  For her birthday & for other special events, she invited people to her house for prayer.  She was a good role model, showing me that prayer was something you could do all the time, and it was an activity worthy enough to invite people over to do together.  She and Angela taught me the importance of praying to God rather than complaining to people.  They taught me how to be committed to prayer.  The two of them were committed to showing up to our weekly prayer group, even as others’ attendance was uneven.  They were dedicated.  Neither of them are pastors or hold official titles in the church, but God has been using them in my life, and I’m sure in other people’s lives.

    Now, when I’m walking around the city (and I walk a lot), I pray.  I notice that praying lifts my mood & helps me start my day on a positive note.  Prayer is also a good way for me to get my mind off the negative.  I’m also at a point in my life where I’m learning how to take my problems directly to God, instead of looking to other people to talk to.

    I wish I knew that before. __________________________________________________________________________________

    The purpose of If I Knew Then What I Know Now is to share some insights that I wish someone had told me about when I was younger.  There’s a fuller explanation on my first post, written on May 14, 2012.


  • Foolish Questions

    Posted on June 5th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law; because these are unprofitable and useless.

    Titus 3:9

     I’ve seen a lot of controversies, arguments and broken relationships because of people’s inability to stop digging for information.  This may be pretty basic to you, but it took me a long time to realize that sometimes people use “innocent” questions as an excuse to start gossiping with me.  It also took me a long time to realize that I don’t have to answer every question.  Those realizations gave me relief.  There are some questions I’ve learned to avoid.

    1. Did she say anything about me?
    2. What did she say about me?
    3. Why did she say that?
    4. Who was there?
    5. What do you think is going on with . . . ?

    There’s no reason for a person to come to me or through me to find out about another person.  The fact that 2 people cannot speak directly to one another raises a red flag for me.

    The last thing that stirs the pot is people who want to “vent” their frustrations over something that happened in the past. My pastor gave me this rule of thumb.  Problems should only be discussed with a person who is a part of the problem or, a person who is going to be a part of the solution.  To address it to someone else is to gossip.

    I wish I knew that before. _________________________________________________________________________________

    The purpose of If I Knew Then What I Know Now is to share some insights that I wish someone had told me about when I was younger.  There’s a fuller explanation on my first post, written on May 14, 2012.