Mapping Out the Day

by Rhonda Rhea

You guys and your fancy-schmancy words you like to use when giving directions. Like “Northeast.” And “left.”

I admit it, I have no sense of direction. North, south…and whatever those other two are? I don’t have them. There’s probably not enough space in my brain for a compass. Maybe because I filled a lot of brain space with a big list of foods that would be better covered in chocolate pudding. It’s not my fault that there are just a whole lot of things that needed to be noted.

I’ve had this sense of direction problem longer than GPS has been in existence. That means I’m all the more thankful for my phone. Having GPS and all its beautiful maps and finders and directions means I’m not forced to roll down my window and ask a stranger what state I’m in. Any more.

I’m still one of the few people on the planet who can get lost, however, even while instructions are being spoken to me. When I’m heading out of a parking lot with my directions all plugged in and ready to go and the GPS lady tells me to “head north,” I suddenly realize she doesn’t get me at all.

Recently I was chatting with a friend who said she was feeling a little “lost.” She told me she felt rather directionless, like she couldn’t seem to get a good handle on her joy, and she didn’t know why. I asked her how her time in Bible study was going, and she rolled her eyes at me. But she rolled them with a smile. She said, “Wow, I should’ve known you were going to ask me that. And I should’ve known to ask myself.”

As we chatted, she preached herself a little sermon. It was adorable. She started with, “That’s it, isn’t it.” It was a statement, not a question. She ended her sermon with a response to her own invitation, determining to set her course at the first of every day.

We met again the next week and I was amazed to see the difference in her demeanor. Talk about being back on the right road. She said the change wasn’t immediate, but it was dramatic. Oh, the difference God’s Word makes in our every day.

The battle for control of our internal compass—our spiritual direction—is a fierce one. The enemy fights to turn us onto a fruitless path. Our own flesh wars against us, too. But we can’t get to a victorious life of purpose without plugging in the right directions. The Psalmist got it. “Keep me from the way of deceit and graciously give me your instruction. I have chosen the way of truth; I have set your ordinances before me,” (Psalm 119:29-30 CSB). If we want to win the battle against the enemy’s lies and against our own sinful desires, we need the truth of God’s Word.

I had to smile when I read a paraphrase of verse 35: “Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway!” (MSG). Life’s journey really does take a happier turn when we’re traveling according to God’s direction and by the wisdom and instruction we find in His Word. Sometimes it’s a state of joy we didn’t even realize we were missing.

And by the way, if I do ever again feel the need to roll down my window to ask what state I’m in, there’s no reason why I can’t do it in a state of joy.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

rhonda rhea

About the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLifeLeading HeartsThe Pathway and many more. She is the author of 17 books, including the Fix-Her-Upper books, co-authored with Beth Duewel, and the hilarious novels, Turtles in the Road and Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated, both co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea. Rhonda lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

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Got baggage? Ever find yourself lugging around messy spiritual baggage like so much purse clutter? Rhonda’s latest release, Messy to Meaningful: My Purse Runneth Over, will help you stop holding on to what you don’t need and start fighting for what you do. Learn to walk out your faith life less weighed down, lighter, and freer that ever!

Join the conversation: Has God’s Word guided you in your walk with Him recently? Please share!

In Step—Two, Three, Four—with Jesus

by Rhonda Rhea

I’m not one to dance like nobody’s watching. Mostly because I don’t want to watch it, either. But I do sing loud. And big. Sometimes with motions. So while I might not necessarily dance like no one is watching, I have been known to sing like I’m vacuuming.

A couple of months ago, I did accidentally bust a few new moves, but it was because a bug flew into my hair. That was some sweet choreography. Embarrassing, sure. I didn’t even know I had those moves in me. A couple of my kids saw it, as a matter of fact. And then they begged me to put those moves away and never pull them out again. It was worth the bug in the hair just for that.

I heard it was Charles Baudelaire who said, “Dancing is poetry with arms and legs.” He obviously never saw my moves. Either that, or he was super bad at poetry. So hold on, Charles. Sorry, but this could be one more little proof that we can’t believe everything we hear.

When it comes to walking out this life in faith, we can’t believe everything we hear there, either. Those who don’t follow Christ will tell you that if you do all your stepping just so—if you have just the right look, the right family, the right houses and cars and things—if you have all the right moves in all the right places—then your life will be a graceful dance. They’ll tell you that when you know the right people and can say the right words in the right way, that’s when life will be good.

Sadly, you don’t have to try the world’s way for very long before figuring out that those moves make up a dance that’s everything awkward. It ends, not just in embarrassment, but in emptiness. Relying on things and power and self to make us happy will always end in that vacuum. With no singing.

How do we find the remedy for that emptiness, in the most graceful, spin-and-swing-and-whirl-of-joy way? Not in our culture. Not on our own. It begins in His Word. “Make my steps steady through Your promise; don’t let any sin dominate me,” (Psalm 119:133 HCSB). Our choice here? Let evil govern our steps. Or let the Lord. “Through Your promise” means “by Your Word.” And the indication in the original language is that the psalmist isn’t actually talking about our own sinful nature here, though that’s a battle we never take lightly. But this refers to sinful influence. He’s asking for deliverance from the dominance of evil people.

All too often in life’s dance, we take our cues from those who would love nothing more than to lead us off in some wrong direction. In that same psalm, we read, “I have kept my feet from every evil path to follow Your word,” (Psalm 119:101 HCSB). It means literally “I hold back my feet.” Hold on, feet. Do the right thing. We have to give the Word of God a place of prominence and let it lead in how we think and act and live—every step.

As we do, oh what a difference! “Abundant peace belongs to those who love Your instruction; nothing makes them stumble,” (Psalm 119:165, HCSB). It’s the difference between peacefully and gracefully moving through a day, and stumbling embarrassingly out of control.

Poetry in motion. Or plummeting in an awkward commotion. Because seriously, some moves are never meant to be busted.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

rhonda rhea

About the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLifeLeading HeartsThe Pathway and many more. She is the author of 17 books, including the Fix-Her-Upper books, co-authored with Beth Duewel, and the hilarious novels, Turtles in the Road and Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated, both co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea. Rhonda lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Got baggage? Ever find yourself lugging around messy spiritual baggage like so much purse clutter? Rhonda’s latest release, Messy to Meaningful: My Purse Runneth Over, will help you stop holding on to what you don’t need and start fighting for what you do. Learn to walk out your faith life less weighed down, lighter, and freer that ever!

Join the conversation: How do you give the Word a place of prominence in your life?

Message-Tagged

by Rhonda Rhea

You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; at your right hand are eternal pleasures. Psalm 16:11 CSB

Have you ever been tagged—maybe trapped—in a group text? You’re begging your phone. Please, not one more notification. And your phone answers with: zzzzzt.

Even worse, you go to bed early while the other 30 in your group have a night owl session. Get up the next morning, get your coffee, and get comfy. I know it’s your day off, but turn off that show you wanted to watch and don’t even think about reading a book. Because you have four thousand messages.

I’m sorry, but I’ve got news for you. The only way to escape is to change your number. And your name. Maybe your appearance. Also your place of residence. You should probably go ahead and plan your move to France.

Croissants. These are your life now.

Interesting note, if it’s a direct message you’re trapped in, don’t think it’s an easier exit. Because if you dare depart the group conversation, your abandonment is sirened to everyone in there. “____ has left the group.” With, of course, the implied shame, “She no longer cares about any of us. Or our cause. Or the planet or children or love. Probably not even puppies. She’s basically a monster.”

Sometimes, I wonder if it would be easier to just go ahead and plan a big ol’ party and invite everyone over.

I also wonder, but on a much different level, if we often make experiencing the presence of God as complicated as a group message. We start thinking in the back of our minds that to have a conversation with Him, we need to push all the right buttons, type in the exact phrase, hashtag it all just so-so.

Enjoying the presence of God isn’t elusive, complicated, or convoluted. Not unless we make it so. It’s found in the beautiful and oh-so-simple act of recognizing Him—understanding that His presence was already there even before we searched. It can often be as easy as looking up, quieting the input of every other voice or device—even quieting the over-busyness of our own thoughts—and zeroing in on Him. On His nearness. On His desire to meet and chat, and His willingness to influence every thought.

David got the message. “I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the Lord and seeking him in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4 CSB)

Commenting on this psalm, 19th century preacher, Alexander MacLaren, wrote about the “unbroken consciousness of being in God’s presence.” He said, “…there is such a thing as having an undercurrent of consciousness running all through a man’s life and mind; such a thing as having a melody sounding in our ears perpetually, ‘so sweet we know not we are listening to it’ until it stops, and then, by the poverty of the naked and silent atmosphere, we know how musical were the sounds that we scarcely knew that we heard, and yet did hear so well high above all the din of earth’s noises.”

“Undercurrent of consciousness.” I want that. I want the consciousness of God to be louder than any “zzzt” or any other earth-din, and I want to notice loudly when it’s missing.

I think I’ll go so far as to say, I would love to convince my mind to stay in that most glorious undercurrent. Beautifully ever-tagged.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

rhonda rhea

About the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLifeLeading HeartsThe Pathway and many more. She is the author of 17 books, including the Fix-Her-Upper books, co-authored with Beth Duewel, and the hilarious novels, Turtles in the Road and Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated, both co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea. Rhonda lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Got baggage? Ever find yourself lugging around messy spiritual baggage like so much purse clutter? Rhonda’s latest release, Messy to Meaningful: My Purse Runneth Over, will help you stop holding on to what you don’t need and start fighting for what you do. Learn to walk out your faith life less weighed down, lighter, and freer that ever!

Join the conversation: How do you keep mindful of the presence of God?

Your Secret Is Safe

by Rhonda Rhea

The crumb tray. On a toaster. That’s a real thing.

I was having breakfast with my daughter Kaley and caught a whiff of burnt toast. When we checked, though, the toast was fine. The rest of the conversation went like this.

Me: I’ll bet you just need to empty the crumb tray.

Kaley: The….what?

Me: The crumb-catcher thing. You know. That pull-out tray that catches the breadcrumbs.

It took me a couple of minutes to convince her that I wasn’t making it up. And you can guess how I convinced her, right? Yes, I went over to her toaster and pulled out the crumb tray. Full? Um yes. She was incredulous. And how had she and her entire household never caught fire?

I sent a video message to her sister so we could semi-good-naturedly rib her together (sorry, but it’s what Rheas do).

My video to Allie: Can you believe your sister never knew her toaster had a crumb tray?

Allie’s video back, looking at least as incredulous as Kaley: The…what?

My video: Noooo! You were supposed to lovingly mock her with me.

Allie’s next video, holding an overflowing crumb tray: I had to check to make sure you weren’t pranking me.

Me, in a later video message to both daughters: I am a failure as a mother.

It’s interesting to note that what was most compelling to both daughters was that there was this secret place. A secret compartment, right under their respective noses. I don’t think they could’ve seemed more surprised if I’d told them there’s a secret door that leads to a secret passage that leads to a secret treasure.

It’s more interesting to note the compelling nature of an altogether different secret place. The writer of Psalm 91 knew about it. “The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty,” (Psalm 91:1 CSB). Young’s Literal translates it this way: “He who is dwelling in the secret place of the Most High, in the shade of the Mighty lodgeth habitually” (YLT). There is treasure in habitually lodging in this secret place, treasure greater than anything we could ever cook up.

We’re not compelled to go to this secret place so we can hide away from the world or keep private our walk with God. We’re not encouraged to live out our faith in isolation. There is much in God’s Word about doing life and faith together.

But there’s a secret place that’s just one-on-one ours. It’s our spiritual bread and butter—an intentional place in every day where we get away with Him. It’s not really about a particular space. It’s about this particular relationship.  How astounding it is that we are offered a meeting place with our Creator—an invitation to enjoy His presence! Our souls are fed at every meeting in that sweet place of talking, listening and fellowshipping.

Through Moses, God told us that “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3 CSB). We have a choice. We can focus our heart-of-heart’s attention on our physical needs. Bread alone. Ironically, that’s a hungry life of never feeling satisfied. Or we can make our overarching goal of every day to know and love Him so well that our truest desire is His will and His glory.

That secret safe place. It’s a real thing. A treasure. Spiritual daily bread—with no crumbs ever left over.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

rhonda rhea

About the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLifeLeading HeartsThe Pathway and many more. She is the author of 17 books, including the Fix-Her-Upper books, co-authored with Beth Duewel, and the hilarious novels, Turtles in the Road and Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated, both co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea. Rhonda lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Got baggage? Ever find yourself lugging around messy spiritual baggage like so much purse clutter? Rhonda’s latest release, Messy to Meaningful: My Purse Runneth Over, will help you stop holding on to what you don’t need and start fighting for what you do. Learn to walk out your faith life less weighed down, lighter, and freer that ever!

Join the conversation: How often do you visit your secret place?

Positives, Peoples, and Purses

by Rhonda Rhea

Let’s just get it out there. Most guys don’t understand purses. I’m not being ugly about it. We’re different. And that’s okay. So before starting one more dialogue about my purse, let me go ahead and answer the standard purse questions I get from my husband: Yes, I need it. Yes, I need it at this event, whatever “this” event is. And yes, I need all the things that are in it. All of them. Yes, I do know it’s heavy. Yes, it has pretty much dislocated my right shoulder, that’s why I’m now hauling it on my left one.

Even after that first round of questions, there’s still almost always one more: “How do you ever find anything in there?” The answer is, I don’t. That’s why I put in two of everything. Except for pens. In the case of pens, I put in 4,000.

Before anyone even asks, I should probably also point out that “purse chocolate” is a thing. My husband now understands this: All purses should have chocolate. Don’t touch it.

They are wildly bizarre and eclectic and sometimes beautiful and often difficult to maneuver through. Purses.

Also people.

As intense as my need is for every item in my purse, so much greater is my need for people. Not just because I’m a people-person. It’s true, I’m an extrovert. But there isn’t a one of us who doesn’t need people. God made it so.

The fact that we need people doesn’t negate another fact: people can be messier than a winter purse. I’m not trying to be ugly here either. We’re different. And that’s ultimately okay. It often brings to light our inability to love others well. That’s also okay. We have an indwelling God who will take care of it for us. Every time we’ll allow it, He will love others through us. Even the messiest, most negative person you can think of. Love. It’s positively delightful what can happen in and through a person who surrenders all.

Paul said, “And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, so that you may approve the things that are superior and may be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11, CSB).

Any growing love or knowledge or discernment happens through Him. Any superior, fruitful, and righteous behavior that happens in any relationship—and in any aspect of our lives—“comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.”

Never mind their messiness or their shoulder-slumping baggage. Let me love them. Love them through me, Lord Jesus.

With every wildly bizarre and beautiful and difficult person I encounter, I’m asking the Lord to sort out their negatives and make me a positive. Not just because I need to connect with them, though I do. But because there’s glory and praise to God when those connections are Holy Spirit-empowered. And it simply doesn’t get more positive than that.

On the lighter side of the positives and negatives, I feel I should point out that there is also pepper spray in my purse. I’m not saying I keep it in there in case someone tries to take my purse chocolate. But I’m also not, NOT saying that.


This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

rhonda rhea

About the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLifeLeading HeartsThe Pathway and many more. She is the author of 17 books, including the Fix-Her-Upper books, co-authored with Beth Duewel, and the hilarious novels, Turtles in the Road and Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated, both co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea. Rhonda lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Got baggage? Ever find yourself lugging around messy spiritual baggage like so much purse clutter? Rhonda’s latest release, Messy to Meaningful: My Purse Runneth Over, will help you stop holding on to what you don’t need and start fighting for what you do. Learn to walk out your faith life less weighed down, lighter, and freer that ever!

Join the conversation: Has love and grace made a difference in your relationships?

For Every Dry Place

by Rhonda Rhea

My lips will glorify you because your faithful love is better than life. Psalm 63:3 CSB

Is there anything better than a really good hand cream on a dry day? I love me some high-quality lotion. I can almost hear my hands: glub, glub, glub.

My husband though? His hands could be sparking from the friction. They could be a mere half a degree from kindling and he would still snub my hand cream. I say snub, but spurn would be more like it. Maybe “repulsed repugnance” is closer. Is that redundant? If so, I still think it fits because he doubly-triply-quadruply despises all things even nearly linimentish.

Richie doesn’t even want me to drive his car after I’ve lotioned up. According to him, it makes his steering wheel “gooey.” I’ve seen him drive his car after hand-creamed-me has had a turn, and he’ll drive using only a forefinger and a thumb from each hand. Or my favorite is when he pulls his sweater sleeves over his hands.

Granted, I might have to admit somewhere in here that when I say I love me some lotion, I mean it. Sometimes I may go a tad overboard. I consider myself sufficiently creamed when my fingers are so slippery I can barely keep them from sliding off that steering wheel. Never ask me to hold your favorite coffee mug. Because I may have recently been swimming in my vat of lotion, and there’s no way to have enough mug-holding traction. Bye-bye fave mug. Give me an ocean of lotion. That’ll be perfect, thanks.

More perfect than any lotion could ever satisfy, though, I love how our God satisfies every dry heart—all the way to the innermost parts of our souls. “God, you are my God; I eagerly seek you. I thirst for you; my body faints for you in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water. So I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory. My lips will glorify you because your faithful love is better than life. So I will bless you as long as I live; at your name, I will lift up my hands. You satisfy me as with rich food; my mouth will praise you with joyful lips” (Psalm 63:1-5 CSB).

When we seek the God who quenches, and we desire Him more than anything else—whether life feels dry or downright gooey—we find ourselves swimming in the deepest satisfaction. Contented. Fulfilled. Satiated! As we get a glimpse of His strength, His glory, His faithful love—we leave behind the crackly-dried for every kind of satisfied. I think it’s impossible not to slip into praise and worship as He so beautifully quenches.

It’s good for us to remember that in any difficult place, God’s faithful love can lead us to a sweet, gratifying closeness with Him. “The Lord will always lead you, satisfy you in a parched land, and strengthen your bones. You will be like a watered garden and like a spring whose water never runs dry” (Isaiah 58:11 CSB). Never running dry, ever-lotioned—in a beautiful way. No matter the circumstances. It’s a glorious heart-watering. David had the perfect response in Psalm 63. “So I will bless you as long as I live; at your name, I will lift up my hands” (vs. 4). Praise!

By the way, if we’re ever in the same crowd of praising hands, mine will be the ones that are especially moisturized.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

rhonda rhea

About the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLifeLeading HeartsThe Pathway and many more. She is the author of 17 books, including the Fix-Her-Upper books, co-authored with Beth Duewel, and the hilarious novels, Turtles in the Road and Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated, both co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea. Rhonda lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Got baggage? Ever find yourself lugging around messy spiritual baggage like so much purse clutter? Rhonda’s latest release, Messy to Meaningful: My Purse Runneth Over, will help you stop holding on to what you don’t need and start fighting for what you do. Learn to walk out your faith life less weighed down, lighter, and freer that ever!

Join the conversation: Are you living a satisfied life?

Everything to Lose/Everything to Gain

by Rhonda Rhea

Anyone who finds his life will lose it, and anyone who loses his life because of me will find it. Matthew 10:39 CSB

I’m always so sincere when I say I’m only going to eat one of your fries. Like, I really do believe it. I think I believe it right up until I grab that next fry.

Most of the time, I don’t blame myself. Is it okay if I blame the fries? French fries are almost obnoxiously good. Cupcakes? Same thing. So it’s not my fault.

Saying no to fries and cupcakes is not my best thing. But yesterday I stepped on the scale and the scale hurt my feelings really badly. So I’m pondering the need to get better at it. At least a little more balanced. Or perhaps I should just cut off any dealings with the scales. Those mean, mean scales.

It’s probably not helping that my favorite diet routine is the one where I pin a couple of salads on Pinterest and then eat half a chocolate ice cream pie.

I don’t blame the chocolate ice cream pie either. I can’t think of any time it’s ever been anything but sweet.

As followers of Christ, we have the sweet life available to us. Sweet, sweeter, sweetest. Real life. We can grab it all. Life abundant, full, and satisfying. Ironically, we get in on that life as we willingly give up…everything. It’s the strangest balance. Or is it the absence of balance? I’m not sure. Because in giving up that…everything, we gain more than everything. We gain joy, purpose, hope, direction, peace, satisfaction, and love. More! There’s freedom. Freedom from emptiness, guilt, unrest, and discontentment.

As He was commissioning His disciples to proclaim the message of this abundant life, Jesus said to them, “Anyone who finds his life will lose it, and anyone who loses his life because of me will find it” (Matthew 10:39 CSB).

Six chapters later, Jesus told His disciples again, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25 CSB).

Want to find life? Lose it. Want to have it? Give it away.

Real life is not found in possessions or fame or feelings or the most obnoxiously good earthly treat you can think of. We find spiritual life that transcends all that as we give all to Christ.

Give Him everything—when circumstances are great and you’re on top of the world, and give Him everything when it’s a mess and life is hard.

Those messy circumstances will not be able to touch the joy and satisfaction you’ll find in that place of surrender. And frankly, the glory you might experience when you’re on top of the world is not glory at all—not without The Glorious One.

So give it. All. You can do it as He empowers it. Sometimes surrender is about saying no to self. I don’t just mean the fries. I’m talking about saying no to anything in this life I might be tempted to hold onto tighter than I hold onto Jesus. Belongings, esteem, relationships, habits—He gives grace to let go of those things that hold us back and that keep us from experiencing the sweet, abundant life He has for each of us.

By the way, I’m still working on balancing the sweets on the physical side. Well, sort of working on it. I recently set a goal to lose 10 pounds in 60 days, and guess what! I only have 12 more pounds to go.


This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

rhonda rhea

About the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLifeLeading HeartsThe Pathway and many more. She is the author of 17 books, including the Fix-Her-Upper books, co-authored with Beth Duewel, and the hilarious novels, Turtles in the Road and Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated, both co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea.

Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated: A Novel by [Rhea, Kaley, Rhea, Rhonda]

Rhonda and Kaley have a new novel, Off-Script and Over-Caffeinated. When the Heartcast Channel Movie division announces they’ll briefly be allowing submissions for new Christmas movies, Harlow finds herself paired with a reluctant co-star. Jack Bentley may be the biggest Heartcast Original Movie name in the business, but he is anything but formulaic.

Rhonda lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Join the conversation: What does the word surrender mean to you?

Talking Circles Around Knowledge

by Rhonda Rhea

“…that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God”. Colossians 1:9-10 HCSB

I’ve tried some of those idiot-proof tech products, and you know what I’ve found? I’ve found that sometimes they grossly underestimate the power of a true tech-idiot. You have to be near genius level to even read the instructions on your average electronic device these days. And I’m talking about the instructions for the on/off switch. For a calculator. I’m pretty sure I heard somewhere that genius in all areas is 99% perspiration and 62% wishing you had listened in math class. And I would add a pithy phrase about a circumference here—if I had a little more math knowledge.

Still, while I may not have listened all that well in math class, anytime I’m talking about the maths and sciences that I know nothing about, I’ve started using lots more “air quotes.” That way even if I’m saying something “stupid,” I still look incredibly “clever.”

Clever is as clever does (she said with flourishing finger quotes).

Doesn’t it seem that our culture presents new, bizarre ideas every day about what it means to be clever and what it is to be knowledgeable? People say “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” But I was watching TV the other day and it seems to me that a whole lot of foolishness is yet more dangerous. A knowledgeable person, one who is knowledgeable in the things that really count, is a rare and wonderful find. Proverbs 20:15 backs me up there: “There is gold and a multitude of jewels, but knowledgeable lips are a rare treasure,” (HCSB).

So how do we find that rare treasure? Proverbs 2:1-6 (HCSB) says, “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, listening closely to wisdom and directing your heart to understanding; furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and discover the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Wisdom, knowledge, understanding—they’re all from the Lord.

It’s not, however, a passive pursuit. Our instructions in that Proverbs passage are especially verb-heavy. We’re told to accept words, store commands, listen and direct our hearts. Then we’re instructed to call out to insight and understanding, to seek and search for that kind of knowledge as we would passionately hunt for treasure. There’s a hefty percentage of perspiration there. Accepting, storing, listening, directing, calling, seeking and searching leads to knowing Him more.

Paul told the Christians in Colossae that he prayed this for them: “…that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9-10, HCSB).

The knowledge of His will results in walking worthy, pleasing Him, and doing good works. More verbs! And these actions lead us to be—are you ready for this?—“growing in the knowledge of God.” Full circle! It’s like the most blessed circumference of knowledge. And it begins and ends with our powerful God.

Knowledge IS power! But only His knowledge. And all by His power. This I know in the most idiot-proof way. So this part is completely free of finger quotes.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

rhonda rhea

About the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLifeLeading HeartsThe Pathway and many more. She is the author of 17 books, including the Fix-Her-Upper books, co-authored with Beth Duewel, and the hilarious novels, Turtles in the Road and Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated, both co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea.

Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated: A Novel by [Rhea, Kaley, Rhea, Rhonda]

Rhonda and Kaley have a new novel, Off-Script and Over-Caffeinated. When the Heartcast Channel Movie division announces they’ll briefly be allowing submissions for new Christmas movies, Harlow finds herself paired with a reluctant co-star. Jack Bentley may be the biggest Heartcast Original Movie name in the business, but he is anything but formulaic.

Rhonda lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Join the conversation: How do you go about seeking knowledge? What has the Lord taught you lately?

Go to Your Happy Place

by Rhonda Rhea

Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. Colossians 3:2, HCSB

I hate it when I’ve been cleaning the house all day long, and then realize it’s only been fifteen minutes.

I’ll admit, cleaning is not my happy place. Of course, I had five kids in seven years and “clean” has always been a bit…well…relative. Mostly because it would somewhat depend on which relative was doing the cleaning. Not that we allowed food in the kids’ rooms or anything [clearing throat], but I do remember having to say to a teen at least once, “Son. You have to clean your room. We’re out of spoons.”

When my three boys were teenagers, they shared a bathroom that they “cleaned” themselves. Three. Teenage. Boys. Every once in a while, I would go in to check on it. I would stare for a few minutes, fighting back hyperventilation. Then I’d think: Yeah, maybe a controlled burn. Then I would quickly exit and head to the kitchen for sanctuary with a really strong pot of coffee.

Ah, the coffee pot. Anytime someone tells me to go to my happy place, I still instinctively head there. And who doesn’t want a happy place?

Happy places might actually be rather relative too. When Jesus began His Sermon on the Mount, the first thing He taught was the list of Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12). Twelve beautiful “blesseds.”

The Greek word translated “blessed” is makarios, which means contented, blissful…happy. But when we look at the list, we see the very first two are poor in spirit and mournful. His list takes us all the way to “persecuted.” Sounds like anywhere but a happy place.

What Jesus was speaking was revolutionary. It changed the way people saw and understood happiness. People who don’t follow Christ think happiness means doing whatever they want, whenever they want to do it. They think it means having money and fame and power. Maybe even a clean house and a full pot of coffee. But Jesus taught that we won’t find happiness there. If we want “blessedness”—happiness—we need to think differently than the world does. We need to think like Jesus does. It means engaging an entirely different mindset.

Paul said, “So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth,” (Colossians 3:1-2, HCSB).

Our happy place? It’s where Jesus is. Not where circumstances are perfect and clean and caffeinated. That Greek word “makarios” speaks of being happy in a way that doesn’t depend on our situation. That makes sense, since our ability to be truly satisfied comes as we understand that our soul is impoverished apart from the righteousness we have in Christ, and we mourn our sin—the first two Beatitudes. Knowing Jesus makes us look at every one of those Beatitudes in a different light.

Lord, help us set our minds on you and think differently than the world does. Show us every place pride and worldliness has crept into our thinking and behavior. Make us look more like You. May we experience happiness exactly the way You’ve designed it, all for Your glory.

Living His way. I’ve learned that’s the only truly happy place.

And on a side note, I also learned when my kids were teens that before I took on their bathroom, I should make sure I had plenty of coffee. Also all my immunizations.

This article has been brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

rhonda rhea

About the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLifeLeading HeartsThe Pathway and many more. She is the author of 17 books, including the Fix-Her-Upper books, co-authored with Beth Duewel, and the hilarious novels, Turtles in the Road and Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated, both co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea.

Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated: A Novel by [Rhea, Kaley, Rhea, Rhonda]

Rhonda and Kaley have a new novel, Off-Script and Over-Caffeinated. When the Heartcast Channel Movie division announces they’ll briefly be allowing submissions for new Christmas movies, Harlow finds herself paired with a reluctant co-star. Jack Bentley may be the biggest Heartcast Original Movie name in the business, but he is anything but formulaic.

Rhonda lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Join the conversation: Where is your happy place?

Season’s Meatings

by Rhonda Rhea

You know how I can tell we’re approaching the Christmas season? I find myself thumbing through a catalog. A catalog. Of. Meat.

Potted meat. Pickled meat. Fried and dried and—maybe even poached meat. That just takes us to about page five. Then there’s meat by the log. Meat in a bar. Meat on a stick. Meat in a jar. And okay, that might sound a little Dr. Seuess-y-cutesy, but I get halfway through the catalog and I have to tell you, I’m pretty much meated out.

So here we are, heading into the season in which we really can end up meeting ourselves coming and going. And clearly we can also end up meating ourselves coming and going. More and more calories. More and more busyness. More.

There’s wisdom in keeping an eye out for the “more.” Sneaky clutter can fill our stomachs, our schedules—our lives. It’s the kind of “more” that can steal our focus from what’s important. It does it by rushing us to the busyness of what’s immediate instead of waiting for the blessedness of what’s vital.

We tend to think of ourselves as mature followers of Christ as long as we’re not throwing big-baby fits. But maturity includes so much more than that. It includes making wise choices—with our resources, with our time, with our focus. Let’s face it, some of us make more big-baby-choices during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season than any other time of the year.

How can we be grown up about our “more”? Jesus. Eyes off our own schedules and wants and everything fleshly. Eyes on Christ. It was because of selfish fleshliness that Paul said the Christians in Corinth couldn’t have solid spiritual food. “I was not able to speak to you as spiritual people but as people of the flesh, as babies in Christ…because you are still fleshly” (1 Corinthians 3:1, 3, HCSB). He said in verse 2, “I gave you milk to drink, not solid food.” Put away the catalogs. No meat for these people.

Paul warns later in that same passage that, “No one should deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks he is wise in this age, he must become foolish so that he can become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Corinthians 3:18-19, HCSB).

It’s sad to get caught up in the busyness, thinking we’re accomplishing works of value, then discover we’ve been foolishly lying to ourselves about what’s important the whole time.

The wisdom we need is only found in Jesus. Time to put away that self-deceived baby stuff and sink our teeth into some meat. As we seek the Lord, He will give us the wisdom and direction we need to sort out our to-do’s. It’s only in Him that our choices can count. It’s only in Him that we’re able to identify the foolish temporary and then trade it for the will of God. We don’t need that other kind of “more.” We only need more Jesus.

That’s exactly what will make our season…well…more. But more in every good way—in ways we can see and ways we can’t. It’s more than meets the eye, as it were. You might even say, it’s more than “meats” the eye.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

rhonda rhea

About the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLifeLeading HeartsThe Pathway and many more. She is the author of 17 books, including the Fix-Her-Upper books, co-authored with Beth Duewel, and the hilarious novels, Turtles in the Road and Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated, both co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea.

Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated: A Novel by [Rhea, Kaley, Rhea, Rhonda]

Rhonda and Kaley have a new novel, Off-Script and Over-Caffeinated. When the Heartcast Channel Movie division announces they’ll briefly be allowing submissions for new Christmas movies, Harlow finds herself paired with a reluctant co-star. Jack Bentley may be the biggest Heartcast Original Movie name in the business, but he is anything but formulaic.

Rhonda lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Join the conversation: Are you settling for milk?