Archive for February, 2011

R ♥ E ♥ S ♥ P ♥ E ♥ C ♥ T

Feb 28

by Victoria Robinson

One of our dear friends always likes to tell us, “I get no respect.” Of course this is a classic comedy line and is so untrue of this fine man. In reality he is an extremely well-respected and successful professor at a university. Yet beyond our friend’s joking lies a basic need we all have. We all desire to be respected. Herein lies a scriptural truth—that we should show proper respect to everyone.

First and foremost we need to show respect to our heavenly Father. Then to our leaders and those in authority, our spouses—really to everyone. The Greek word for respect is timao which means to estimate; fix the value of something belonging to one’s self; to honor; revere; venerate.

The way in which I show God that I neither love nor respect Him is by the obtuseness of my heart and mind towards what He says. – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Maybe unlike my friend who is joking when he says, “I get no respect.”, you really believe you are not respected. If so, you should examine your life and actions. Because not only are we to show respect to others, we are also to live a life that earns their respect.

Dearest girlfriends, let us show proper respect for everyone as well as live a life that earns respect from them.

Show proper respect to everyone … ~ 1 Peter 2:17 NIV 
 
There are many who don’t respect authority, and they fool others by talking nonsense. ~ Titus 1:10 CEV
 
Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:12 NIV
 
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. ~ Ephesians 5:33 NIV
 
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders … ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 NIV
 
In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. ~ 1 Timothy 3:11 NIV

Who’s Responsible?

Feb 27

by Victoria Robinson

Who’s responsible? Our dear ancestor Sarai tried to blame her husband for her misery. Yet as we back up in the story we see it was actually Sarai’s idea that started her misery. When Sarai grew impatient waiting on God to give her a child, she concocted a disastrous plan. She told her husband Abram to go sleep with her maidservant Hagar. After he did and Hagar became pregnant, Sarai’s  idea that gave birth to sin blossomed into full-blown misery for all involved. Now Sarai tells Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering.”

Really girlfriends??? Do we really believe Sarai? Should she not have realized she was responsible for her own conduct? Yes, there were plenty of guilty parties involved, but the point of this is we are responsible for our own conduct. We are to conduct our lives with the awareness of God’s truth. The apostle Paul said, “For we are each responsible for our own conduct.” The prophet Jeremiah said this about our own conduct, “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” Notice he does not say we would be judged according to our neighbor’s deeds.

It is always easy to look around for someone else to blame for our problems instead of looking inward and examining our own hearts. Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would conduct ourselves responsibly.

Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. ~ Galatians 6:4-5 NLT
  
Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.” ~ Genesis 16:5 NIV
 
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. ~ Genesis 16:1-2 NIV
 
 “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” ~ Jeremiah 17:10 NIV

Let No One Take Me For A Fool

Feb 26

by Victoria Robinson

Now enjoying a mansion in heaven, the apostle Paul could very well ask, “Who’s the fool now?” All of his earthly suffering has surely led to great eternal rewards. In his lifetime, many thought he was foolish for enduring such hardships as: beatings, imprisonments, riots, hard work, sleepless nights, and hunger.

How about you girlfriends, are you living a “foolish” life? Is your heart more in tune with heaven or earth? A dear friend lost her mother last year to cancer. In her last days as we were visiting with her, she made a beautiful statement to my husband. She said, “Keep sending them to us.” She had her heart set on things above and was more concerned about the salvation of those here on earth than her own suffering. What a beautiful lady!

Paul himself said, “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

Dearest girlfriends, let us live our lives “foolishly” considering our true life and rewards are in heaven.

… Let no one take me for a fool. … I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. ~ 2 Corinthians 11:16,23-28 NIV

And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. ~ Acts 20:22-24 NIV

They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. 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 NIV

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 NIV

Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. ~ 2 Corinthians 6:4-10 NIV

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. … ~ 2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV

Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” ~ 1 Corinthian 3:18-19 NIV

Are You in Someone’s Way?

Feb 25

by Victoria Robinson

Does your lifestyle put you in the way of someone else? Do your choices cause others to stumble? Our Lord and Savior told his good friend Peter that he was a stumbling block. The apostle Paul made it a point to avoid being a stumbling block to those in his life. He even went so far as to work night and day so that he would not be a financial burden to other’s.

One way we can cause others to stumble is to exercise our freedom in a way that is hurtful to those around us. For instance, there are those who do not struggle with overeating. Yet they should be careful how they eat when around a sister who lacks self-control. Serving a luscious chocolate ganache cheesecake might be an unwise choice. Instead they should consider the needs of their precious sister. Would it not be wiser to eat the cheesecake when they are in a different setting. The cheesecake is not necessarily evil, but the enemy can use it as a stumbling block to someone who has a weakness. Out of love, we should always be looking to the needs of others.

Dearest girlfriends, let us ask our heavenly Father to reveal to us if we are causing others to stumble.

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” ~ Matthew 16:23 NIV
 
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. ~ Romans 14:13 NIV
 
Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. ~ 1 Corinthians 8:9 NIV
 
We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. ~ 2 Corinthians 6:3 NIV
 
… We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9 NIV
 
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. ~ Philippians 2:3-4 NIV

Thought Catchers

Feb 24

by Victoria Robinson

The Word of God is like a sentry catching and tossing out ungodly ideas that try to enter our minds. Our Lord and Savior exemplified this so perfectly when Satan gave Him thoughts that were pure Scripture. To which Jesus responded with the Word of God. Sounds convoluted. How can one fight the Word with the Word? In this case Satan was distorting the Word and Jesus was correctly handling it. Using the Word of truth, He was able to catch these thoughts before they gave birth to sin.

Not all thoughts that need to be taken captive are wonderful sounding such as the scriptures Satan quoted to Jesus. Most are subtle ideas that lead towards sin and inevitable death. While still others are obvious to discern and yet if we savor them for even a moment they can destroy us. Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would strive to correctly handle the Word of truth so that the wrong thoughts that come to our minds would get caught by the truth of the Word.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV
 
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. ~ Romans 8:5-8 NLT
 
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus … ~ Philippians 2:5 NKJV
 
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ”‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. ~ Mathew 4:1-11 NIV
 
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 NIV
 
Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. ~ James 1:15 NIV
 
… Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. ~ Philippians 4:8 NLT

Discretion Is the Better Part of Valor

Feb 23

by Victoria Robinson

Shakespeare wrote, “The better part of valour is discretion; in the which better part I have saved my life.” More importantly, King Solomon wrote, “Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.”

According to the Collins English Dictionary the word discretion means: The quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid social embarrassment or distress. This describes a godly lady.

Are you a lady of discretion or are you behaving like a pig with a gold ring in your snout? Doesn’t sound very beautiful yet this is how King Solomon describes a lady who does not show discretion.

A lady of discretion …

  • Does not say everything that is on her mind.
  • Does not speak ill of others.
  • Does not spread rumors.
  • Does not boast about her accomplishments.

Dearest girlfriends, let us seek to be beautiful ladies of discretion.

Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. ~ Proverbs 2:11 NIV
 
Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion. ~ Proverbs 11:22 NIV
 
Keep what you know to yourself, and you will be safe; talk too much, and you are done for. ~ Proverbs 13:3 CEV
 
It is foolish to belittle a neighbor; a person with good sense remains silent. ~ Proverbs 11:12 NLT
 
A gossip goes around revealing secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence. ~ Proverbs 11:13 NLT
 
As the Scriptures say, “The person who wishes to boast should boast only of what the Lord has done.” When people boast about themselves, it doesn’t count for much. But when the Lord commends someone, that’s different! ~ 2 Corinthians 10:17-18 NLT
 
I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. ~ Proverbs 8:12 NIV

I am a friend like __________.

Feb 22

by Victoria Robinson

Among King David’s close friends, there are two that stand out. One was Jonathan and the other Ahithophel. On the one hand he had a faithful friend in Jonathan. On the other hand he had a faithless friend in Ahithophel.

Johnathan was the son of Saul who had become jealous of David and sought to destroy him. Jonathan faithfully watched out for his friend David. After the death of Jonathan, David penned these words, “I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.”

Then we have the unfortunate betrayal of Ahithophel who was David’s counselor who turned against him and sided with Absalom. Later when Ahithophel saw he had no longer any influence, and accordingly he at once left the camp of Absalom and returned to Giloh. There in his misery, he hanged himself. David also penned some words about this faithless friend, “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”

So, are you a faithful friend like Jonathan or are you a faithless friend like Ahithophel? If you filled in the blank above, which of David’s friend’s names would you put? Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would honor our heavenly Father by always being faithful in our friendships.

Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the LORD, saying, ‘The LORD is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’” … ~ 1 Samuel 20:42 NIV
 
How the mighty have fallen in battle! Jonathan lies slain on your heights. I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women. ~ 2 Samuel 1:25-26 NIV
 
While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he also sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, to come from Giloh, his hometown. And so the conspiracy gained strength, and Absalom’s following kept on increasing. ~ 2 Samuel 15:12 NIV
 
Now David had been told, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” So David prayed, “O LORD, turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness.” ~ 2 Samuel 15:31 NIV
  
Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. ~ Psalm 41:9 NIV
 
A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. ~ Proverbs 12:26 NIV
 
A friend loves at all times … ~ Proverbs 17:17 NIV

Never Say Never

Feb 21

by Victoria Robinson

The infamous story of a man named Peter who said he would never deny Jesus is a reminder for us to be careful about our words. As Jesus was preparing His friends to understand the cross, the resurrection and even their own hearts, he tells Peter, “This very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” To which Peter utters his now famous words, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” After Jesus was led away to be crucified  Peter is confronted three times and asked if he knew Jesus. All three times he denied knowing Jesus. His words were quite emphatic as we finally see him saying, “I don’t know the man!” As we know how this story ended we see Peter weeping as he remembers the words Jesus had spoken to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

Oh, our dear Peter, even before this incident we saw him use the word never to his Lord and Savior. When Jesus tells him what He must suffer and that He will be killed, Peter hastily responds with, “Never, Lord! … This shall never happen to you!” Jesus then sharply rebukes Peter by saying, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Later in the book of Acts we see Peter once again having an exchange with the Lord over his use of the word never. Peter says, “Never, Lord, … But the voice from heaven came again, ‘If God says something is acceptable, don’t say it isn’t.’” Wonder why he took so long to learn? More importantly, will we ever learn not to speak careless words?

Although we must be careful saying we will never do something, it is comforting to know our heavenly Father uses the word never in a trustworthy manner. He has made wonderful vows such as, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” After the devastating flood our heavenly Father makes a vow using the word never saying,  “Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” We have confidence that His promises are just and true.

Dearest girlfriends, let us not speak careless words, but carefully consider what the Lord’s will is.

Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: ”‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’  But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same. ~ Matthew 26:31-35 NIV
 
Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said. But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.” He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!” After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away.” Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. ~ Matthew 26:69-75
  
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” ~ Matthew 16:21-23 NIV
 
And I heard a voice say, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.’ “ ‘Never, Lord,’ I replied. ‘I have never eaten anything forbidden by our Jewish laws.’ “But the voice from heaven came again, ‘If God says something is acceptable, don’t say it isn’t.’ ~ Acts 11:7-9 NIV
 
Now then, listen, you wanton creature, lounging in your security and saying to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me. I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children.’ Both of these will overtake you in a moment, on a single day: loss of children and widowhood. ~ Isaiah 47:8-9 NIV
 
… God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” ~ Hebrews 13:5 NIV
 
Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. ~ Genesis 9:14-15 NIV
 
The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” ~ Genesis 8:21-22 NIV
 
But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. ~ Matthew 12:36-37 NIV

Quietly Trusting Him

Feb 20

by Victoria Robinson

True faith means that we quietly trust our heavenly Father to work everything out that concerns us. This can be difficult for someone like me  who tends to want the proof up front. Yet, that is not faith as we see in the book of Hebrews where it says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

In the suspenseful story of the Israelites fleeing the Egyptians, Moses tells the Israelites, “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” There was no way other than faith for the Israelites to know everything would turn out okay. Sure enough, as the story unfolds the Lord fought for His people by not only making a way of escape, but annihilating the enemy.

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would be still and quietly trust our heavenly Father for all our needs.

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him … ~ Psalm 37:5-7 NIV
 
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ~ Hebrews 11:1 NIV
 
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” ~ Exodus 14:13-14 NIV
 
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. ~ Lamentations 3:25-26 NIV

Sky High Faithfulness

Feb 19

by Victoria Robinson

Your heavenly Father has a wonderful faithfulness. In fact it is sky-high! The psalmist tells us His faithfulness reaches to the skies. If that is His character, then it should be our character. Faithfulness towards our heavenly Father, our family, and others. The Hebrew word for faithfulness is emuwnah, which means: firmness, fidelity, steadfastness, and steadiness. Do you portray these qualities in your relationships?

Consider the faithfulness of Hezekiah. He was good, right, and faithful before the LORD his God and so he prospered. Faithfulness will always lead to prosperity. We will prosper in our relationships, finances, and most importantly—our faith.

Dearest girlfriends, let us imitate our heavenly Father and have a sky-high faithfulness in all our relationships.

Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. ~ Psalm 36:5 NIV
 
This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the LORD his God. In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered. ~ 2 Chronicles 31:20-21 NIV
 
Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. … So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. ~ Malachi 2:15 NIV
 
A friend is always loyal … ~ Proverbs 17:17 NLT
  
Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is really faithful? ~ Proverbs 20:6 NLT
 
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ ~ Matthew 25:21 NIV