Archive for September, 2010

Your Glory

Sep 30

by Victoria Robinson

When we think of the word glory we usually associate it with God. The Bible does also speak of the glory of man. This glory is attained by overlooking the offenses others commit against us. When someone wrongs us we are able to turn that into glory through forgiveness. That is a powerful thought. If you want to have glory, then you need to forgive. The Hebrew word for glory here is tiph’arah which means beautiful, execellent, honour, and bravery. Let’s be honest girlfriends, to be a beautiful lady of excellence is something we all desire. And when you add in honour and bravery that makes for an incredible lady. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I do not think we should be self-seeking when it comes to glory. Our real objective is not to glorify ourselves, but to bring glory to God. Becoming beautiful through godliness does glorify God. It reflects who God is. Think of the love of Jesus as he suffered on the cross and yet said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” If our Savoir took such a brave and beautiful attitude, should we not do the same? So let us not delay in looking at offenses as an opportunity to become more beautiful. Dearest girlfriends, I pray that when we are wronged, we would have patience and overlook the faults of others, recognizing it is only the grace of God in us that keeps us from doing the same sinful acts.

A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. ~ Proverbs 19:11

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” ~ Luke 23:34
 
Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. ~ Psalm 115:1
 
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:”Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. ~ John 17:1
 
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. ~ Romans 12:21

What’s Your Next Step?

Sep 29

by Victoria Robinson

Spiritually speaking, whether you were born again yesterday or years ago, have you considered what your next step should be? In the 1950 classic movie, Born Yesterday, William Holden states, “Nobody’s born smart, Billie. Do you know what the stupidest thing on earth is? An infant!” To which Judy Holliday responds, “What do you have against babies all of a sudden?” To which William Holden replies, “Nothing. I got nothing against a brain that is three weeks old and empty, but after it hangs around for thirty years and hasn’t absorbed anything I begin to wonder about it.” This is a perfect example of spiritual maturity or the lack there of. When you are born again your spiritual brain is empty. Are you a spiritual infant? This has nothing to do with how long you have had a relationship with Jesus Christ. It has everything to do with how much you have grown.

What have you done since you were born again to educate yourself in the Word of God? That is where all growth begins and continues. We must know what God wrote to us through the scriptures to be able to distinguish good from evil. It is amazing how many of us make determinations concerning God’s will for our life without having scriptural proof that it lines up with what He has already told us through His Word. I love how the Bereans are portrayed in the book of Acts.  They did not simply take the Apostle Paul’s word for truth. They examined the Scriptures for themselves. I don’t care what Pastor or Bible teacher you are listening to or reading, you must be of noble character like the Bereans and examine the Scriptures for yourself. That is actually how I came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. The pastor of the church I was attending said, “Don’t just take my word for it, read the Bible for yourself.” This was a turning point in my life as I grew up religious, but having no relationship with God, and my husband grew up in a cult. I had many different perspectives of God’s Word to consider. By reading the Bible myself, I came to understand the truth about becoming born again.

Whether you have a little or much Bible knowledge, you must never stop growing. Spiritual maturity cannot be seen as a goal to obtain and then stop. As long as we are on this earth, we should continue growing in the knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ. So what is your next step going to be? First and foremost, you must read the Bible by yourself consistently. Secondly, God has given us Pastors and teachers to help us mature spiritually. Are you plugged into a solid church? Are you doing more than just attending worship services? You must take action by getting into some small groups and Bible classes. One of your goals must be to correctly handle the word of truth. Ask God what He would have you to do next. Dearest girlfriends, I pray that we would seek God’s will for our next step to become spiritually mature.

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. ~ Hebrews 5:11-14
 
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. ~ Acts 17:11
 
Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. ~ 2 Peter 3:14-18
 

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. ~ Ephesians 4:11-13

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. ~ 2 Timothy 2:15

Seeking Restoration

Sep 28

by Victoria Robinson

Ever felt destitute because the enemy has ravaged your life? This is how Jeremiah felt in the book of Lamentations. He said there was “no one to restore my spirit.” Is there any hope for all you have lost? Regardless of what has caused your need for restoration, God is there for you. Sometimes as in the case of the Israelites, your destruction is the result of sin. Other times it can be like the story of Job, where you have not sinned, and by God’s divine providence, destruction has come in your life.

Obviously if you have sinned you need to have a change of heart and ask God for forgiveness. This will not always insure restoration, as in the case of the Israelites refusing to enter the promised land and then having a change of heart. God warned them not to go. He made it clear through Moses that they would perish if they pressed on. The foolish ones went ahead and suffered the consequences. Even if God does not choose to restore all you have lost, the only way to have your best life now is through repentance.

If your situation is like Job’s, then you need to press on in prayer and pleadings to God for restoration. Remember, God’s view is eternal not temporal. Even if restoration does not take place until the other side of eternity, do not let the enemy turn your heart against God. It might just be that God does have restoration for you right here on earth. The book of Joel says God would restore the years the locust had devoured Israel. Remember moaning and lamenting will only prolong God’s rescue for you. If you have experienced loss because someone has wronged you, then put that aside today by forgiving them, and pray for God to bless them, as bitterness will hinder you from receiving restoration from God.

There is one type of restoration I believe God wants for all who need it. That is the restoration of the joy of salvation. If you have lost your joy, then pray right now for God to restore that in your life. Never give up praying for restoration, even if it takes years. God is most interested in your heart being turned to Him. Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would seek God’s restoration for our lives.

“This is why I weep and my eyes overflow with tears. No one is near to comfort me, no one to restore my spirit. My children are destitute because the enemy has prevailed.” ~ Lamentations 1:16
 
So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; And My people shall never be put to shame. ~ Joel 2:25-26
 
Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” … After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. ~ Job 1:8-12, 42:10
 
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. ~ Psalm 51:12

But …

Sep 27
by Victoria Robinson
 
Does everything good in your life come with a “but”? For instance, “I am glad I lost the weight, but … now I have to spend money on new clothes.” Okay girlfriends, who wouldn’t be thrilled to lose weight? I have a person in my life who does this all the time. Almost every good report she gives me has a “but” in it. In the natural way of thinking, I do understand her but, (Now this is a good use of the word “but”. LOL) in the spiritual way of thinking this is all wrong. We have to train our minds to align with God’s way of seeing things. In the story of the Israelites taking the promised land, Caleb and Joshua had God’s view of the situation. The other men had their minds filled with all the “buts” in the situation.
 
We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey,
but … the people who live there are powerful
but … they are stronger than we are
but … the land devours those living in it
but … the people are of great size 
 
Imagine God giving you a beautiful land to live in and all you do is think of the reasons it will not work out. How foolish is that? Do you do the same thing in your life? The apostle Paul had a good use of the word “but” in the book of Philippians. He had a bad report concerning what was happening in his life. He was being beaten because some were stirring up trouble for him and yet, he recognized that the important thing was that Christ was being preached. He said, “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.” Are there always “buts” to the good things God is doing in your life. Dearest girlfriends, I pray that we would see things through God’s eyes and stop using the word “but” when it comes to what God wants to do.
 
They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.” Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” ~ Numbers 13:27-33
 
The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, ~ Philippians 1:17-18

Having Neck Trouble?

Sep 26

by Victoria Robinson

Does your neck ever get stiff when you lay your head the wrong way? It is amazing how babies and little children do not experience this. The positions children can fall asleep in are strange. A child in a car seat can sleep with a neck leaning to the side that would never work for adults. We would wake up very stiff and sore. Jesus said we should come to Him like little children. Unfortunately we often come to him as a stiff-necked people. Being stiff-necked means that we are stubborn and obstinate. God wants us to be humble and bow to His will. When the Holy Spirit speaks to us through Scriptures or in our hearts it is sad when we choose to be stiff-necked and stop up our ears. This is literally what the people did who Stephen was speaking to. As a matter of fact, they were so obstinate to the message God had given Stephen that they proceeded to stone him. What a sad story! Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit is sent to teach us. If we are stiff-necked we will not listen to the Holy Spirit and be ignorant. Dearest girlfriends, I pray that when the Holy Spirit speaks we would not only listen, but obey as well.

You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! ~ Acts 7:51
 
And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. ~ Matthew 18:3-4
 
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. ~ John 14:26

Looking for an Exit?

Sep 24

by Victoria Robinson

Has life ever been so miserable that you went looking for an exit sign? One of my dearest friends and I, jest that when we are going though difficulties we just want to find the exit. Job certainly felt this way during his hardships. He felt trapped by God and was even to the point of wishing he had never been born.  During a chronic trial the apostle Paul endured, he begged God for an exit to his problem to no avail. He also reached a point in his life where he was so tired and frustrated that he wanted to exit this world. A woman named Hagar was so unhappy that she ran away. An angel of the Lord found her near a spring and sent her back. Sometimes we cannot exit our situations and that is when we need to rely on God’s grace. While we may be hedged in a difficult place, we are to remain encouraged.  Other times God graciously provides a way of escape and the exit sign is lit up, just waiting for us to make a grand exit.  This is what we find in the story of the prodigal son. When the son came to his senses, he realized that he needed to go to his father and ask forgiveness. This is sometimes where our exit from a bad situation begins. We need to go to our heavenly Father with a repentant heart. This was the case in the book of Jeremiah where God showed them their misery would end if only they would return to Him with all their hearts. So whether God has an exit strategy for your difficult situation, or He has by His divine providence placed you there for a time, we must always look to His principles to handle ourselves in a Godly manner. Dearest girlfriends, I pray that when we are hedged in a miserable place, we would always conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel.

Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in? ~ Job 3:23
 
After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. He said: “May the day of my birth perish, and the night it was said, ‘A boy is born!’ That day—may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it; may no light shine upon it. … Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb? ~ Job 3:1-4,11 
 
If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me. ~ Philippians 1:22-26
 
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
 
… Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered. Then the angel of the LORD told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” ~ Genesis 16:6-9
 
… Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. ~Acts 14:21-22
 
When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. ~ Luke 15:17-18
 
Then the word of the LORD came to me: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians. My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. ~ Jeremiah 24:4-7
 
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. … ~ Philippians 1:27

Destined to Lose

Sep 24

by Victoria Robinson

Are you destined to lose? God tells us that if we trust in ourselves, then we are destined to lose. For most of us, trusting God in all areas of our lives is a daily struggle. We want to be in control because somehow we think that will insure success. What a foolish way of thinking! God tells us in the book of Proverbs that we should not trust in our own understanding, but rather acknowledge God in everything. King David knew this principle when he wrote the forty fourth chapter of Psalms. He stated that he did not trust in his weaponry, but only God. Are there areas of your life where you find yourself not trusting God, but rather in what you think you can do without Him? Dearest girlfriends, I pray that we would surrender all areas of our lives where we do not trust God, and therefore are destined to lose.

This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. Selah Like sheep they are destined for the grave, and death will feed on them. ~ Psalm 39:13-14
  
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
 
You are my King and my God, who decrees victories for Jacob. Through you we push back our enemies; through your name we trample our foes. I do not trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame. In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever. Selah ~ Psalm 44:4-8
 
To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. ~ Psalm 25:2-3

Nothing Is Everything

Sep 22

God’s view of life is so different from ours. His idea of success does not make sense to our way of natural thinking. God says we can have nothing and yet possess everything. If we are poor then He says he looks at us highly. Whether we are lacking earthly riches, confidence, esteem, or whatever else, we are not to look at this as shameful. If our hearts are aligned with God’s Word, that is all that matters. The apostle Paul even boasted of his weaknesses because He saw God’s power was everything in the situation. We need to align our minds with the mind of God. What are you lacking today? Dearest girlfriends, I pray that we would rejoice in the areas of our lives where we have nothing because that is where God is everything!

… having nothing, and yet possessing everything. ~ 2 Corinthians 6:10
 
Any of God’s people who are poor should be glad that he thinks so highly of them. ~ James 1:9
 
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

A Mist That Vanishes

Sep 22

God describes our lives here on earth as “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes”. We should never take tomorrow for granted. The book of Ecclesiastes tells us that we all share a common destiny—we all must face death. None of us can be certain when that will be.  How do you view the tomorrows of your life? Are you preparing more for the tomorrows here on earth or your eternal tomorrows? While we must be prepared for the days ahead of us on this earth, we need to be even more concerned of our preparations for eternity. Have you packed your eternal luggage? What are you taking with you? Jesus told us to store up for ourselves treasures in heaven. Serving God with all our hearts is certain to place our treasures in heaven. One of the greatest treasures you can take to heaven is the ones you have shared Christ with and are now destined to have eternal life. Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would set our eyes on the eternal tomorrows.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” ~ James 4:13-15   

… for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. ~ Ecclesiastes 7:2 

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. ~ Proverbs 27:1 

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ ~ Luke 12:16-21 

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does … ~ Ephesians 6:7-8 
 
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~ Matthew 6:19-21   
 
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise. ~ Proverbs 11:30

A Walk in the Dark

Sep 20

Ever feel like all the lights in your life have gone out and you are left fearfully clinging to the walls, navigating where you are going. Maybe you have abundant light that you have created for yourself.  Either way, God wants us to be totally dependant on Him, even if it means not understanding where we are going or how we are going to get there. When Jesus sent the disciples out he told them not to take provisions with them, what they needed would be provided. They may have felt like they were being sent out to walk in the dark, but they were about to experience the illuminating light that only God could provide. An amazing man named Ananias who has a small, but pivotal story recorded in the book of Acts took a very scary walk in the dark. God told him to go pray for a man named Saul who was murdering Christians. This was a significant event in Christianity as Saul was the one who God chose to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would not trust in the futile light we can provide for ourselves and instead take a walk in the dark with God who will illuminate the way for us.

Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment. ~ Isaiah 50:10-11

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. ~ Luke 9:1-4

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. ~ Acts 9:10-19

By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. ~ Exodus 12:21-22