Archive for August, 2012

What’s Lurking in the Shadows of Your Life?

Aug 22

by Victoria Robinson

Shadows can be either beautiful or scary. I get great enjoyment when the trees bring shadows into the windows of my home. When the season changes to autumn I love the rustling of the trees in the wind and the dappling of light as it shifts and sways. For some reason this brings comfort to my heart. However, I do not want my heavenly Father to possess the same qualities. That would be terrifying! Not knowing when the shadows would move and what in the world could be lurking in them.

Fortunately, the Word of God shows us that our heavenly Father does not change like shifting shadows. The apostle James describes God as, “the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Our heavenly Father is totally trustworthy. In fact, in the book of Hebrews we read the wonderful words, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Just like the shadow of trees brings me comfort, knowing that our Lord never changes gives me even greater comfort.

Girlfriends, what shadows are lurking in your life? Is it the regret of your past? The stress of your present life? The fear of your future? If you are dealing with any of these dreaded shadows, then you need to embrace the comfort of your heavenly Father found in His unchanging Word. The Word of God is soothing to our hearts in times of distress. It does not shift or change like a shadow. The apostle Peter wrote a beautiful quote from the book of Isaiah, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.”

Dearest girlfriends, when we see shifting shadows in our life, lets us place our trust in the unchanging truth of our heavenly Father.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ~ James 1:17 NIV 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. ~ Hebrews 13:8 NKJV 

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” … ~ 1 Peter 1:23-25 NIV

Mirror, Mirror … Am I the Godliest?

Aug 18

by Victoria Robinson 

Girlfriends, have you looked in the mirror recently? Of course you have. Just basic grooming requires time in front of the mirror everyday, not to mention if you are glamming it up to go out. The real question isn’t if you look in the mirror on a daily basis—the real question is do you really see yourself as the Lord does?

When judging our spiritual appearance it is so easy to start looking around at others instead of focusing on ourselves. Well, well, I am certainly more godly than her! Um, but I don’t like to compare myself with that other friend though, she seems to be more godly than me. Maybe I should just focus on those who do not seem very godly. That way I can make myself appear better in my “spiritual” mirror! 

We do this to no avail though because no matter what we think of our godliness—it is meaningless. The apostle Paul told us that each one should test his own actions. In that way we can take pride in ourselves, without comparing ourselves to somebody else. He understood the importance of self-examination. He also understood what our goal should be—the approval of the Lord. In the book of Second Corinthians he said, “For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” 

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would look into the mirror of our heavenly Father’s eyes and seek to look just like Him. 

If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load. ~ Galatians 6:3-5 NIV 

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the field God has assigned to us, a field that reaches even to you.  We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ.  Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our area of activity among you will greatly expand,  so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in another man’s territory. But, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:12-18 NIV 

Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV 

Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. ~ Mark 10:18 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 

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. ~ James 1:22-25 NIV

What Will Your Restoration Look Like?

Aug 15

by Victoria Robinson

What does restoration look like? Is it an exact replication of what you have lost? Is it being able to reset the clock and go back in time? Being someone who likes antiques, old houses and historic buildings, restoration in my mind tends to go for transforming something back to it’s original state. But alas, that is not always an ideal solution.

In 1929 my grandparents got married and these sweet newlyweds purchased some furniture. One item in particular that I now possess is an oak table. As much as I love my grandmother’s 1929 oak table that graces my breakfast nook, it is not completely original. This precious keepsake has had many transformations in it’s life. It started life being blue with gold trim. Yet when I was growing up it was natural wood. When my sweet grandmother handed it down to me I stained it light teal blue. In one of our moves to a new house we stained it a lighter blue to match the décor. Thankfully, it is now back to a beautiful stained cobalt blue minus the gold trim. Though I am not even certain it is the exact original blue, it brings me joy to know my grandmother’s table is now restored to a darker blue. Our plans include restoring the gold trim.

The truth is, the chairs my grandmother had with the table are long gone, so the chairs I have are antique replacements. My restoration will always be flawed in my mind without those original chairs, yet that is how the restoration process goes. In downtown Tampa we have a historic treasure—a theater built in 1926. It has now been restored, but needless to say everything is not original. The marquee sign is an exact reproduction using the same types of materials. Not perfection, but close to it!

Do you envision restoration entailing whatever you have lost being restored exactly the way it was before? A man named Job and his wife needed restoration desperately, yet their restoration would not look the same as what they had lost in several devastating tragic events. After losing their entire family, possessions and even Job’s health, restoration from the hand of the Lord would come in an avalanche. As suddenly as tragedy overtook them, the Lord healed Job, restored their fortunes and gave them seven sons and three daughters.

Still Job and his wife’s restoration certainly could not change their past. Their losses were still very real. The imperfections of living in a fallen world are what we will have to contend with until our eternal restoration of perfection comes when Christ returns. If you have not personally experienced the restoration of knowing Jesus Christ, you can click on this link and find out how. Heaven

Perhaps your restoration will turn out with you getting back everything just the way it was. In the book of Second Kings there was a Shunammite lady who not only had her land restored, but all the proceeds that had been made on it for seven years. In the book of Joel we see the Lord declaring restoration for Israel when He said, “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.”

Girlfriends, what will restoration look like for you? Whatever restoration your heavenly Father chooses for you will be perfect. Whether your life will be totally different or restored to what you had does not matter. The important thing is that if you need restoration, you seek and trust the Lord to do a wondrous work in your heart.

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would allow our heavenly Father to bring restoration to all areas of our lives, letting go of all our past expectations and trusting Him for a wonderful future.

One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” ~ Job 1:13-19 NIV

So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. ~ Job 2:7-8 NIV

After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought upon him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so he died, old and full of years. ~ Job 42:10-17 NIV

Then Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had restored to life, saying, “Arise and go, you and your household, and stay wherever you can; for the Lord has called for a famine, and furthermore, it will come upon the land for seven years.” So the woman arose and did according to the saying of the man of God, and she went with her household and dwelt in the land of the Philistines seven years. It came to pass, at the end of seven years, that the woman returned from the land of the Philistines; and she went to make an appeal to the king for her house and for her land. Then the king talked with Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, saying, “Tell me, please, all the great things Elisha has done.” Now it happened, as he was telling the king how he had restored the dead to life, that there was the woman whose son he had restored to life, appealing to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, “My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed a certain officer for her, saying, “Restore all that was hers, and all the proceeds of the field from the day that she left the land until now.” ~ 2 Kings 8:1-6 NKJV

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 NKJV

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. ~ 71:20 NIV

Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. ~ Psalm 80:3 NIV

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. ~ Psalm 51:12 NIV

Is Your Destination Restoration?

Aug 14

by Victoria Robinson 

Girlfriends, is restoration your destination on this road called life? In the book of Second Kings there is a lady who experienced two major restorations in her life. This story unfolds when the Lord brought the prophet Elisha into her life. This gracious, hospitable lady, approached Elisha and persuaded him to come to her house so she could feed him. She soon came to see his need of a place to stay, so she asked her husband if they could build and furnish a room for him to stay in. The Lord blessed her kindness, and one day Elisha told her she was going to have the son she always wanted. Elisha’s words came true, but tragically her son became ill and died in her arms. This brave lady immediately set out on a journey with a destination of restoration.

Oh what a journey for restoration this would be! When her husband asked her why she was going to meet Elisha she said, “It is well.” That certainly would not have been my response! She saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, “Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.”

Restoration for her did not come immediately. When she approached Elisha with her need, he said to his servant, Gehazi, “Get yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the child.” This course of action did not satisfy this grieving mother’s need to see her son brought back to life. She emphatically told Elisha, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So he arose and followed her. She was a wise lady because as it turned out when Gehazi did what Elisha told him, the boy did not come back to life. It was then that Elisha went in with the boy and prayed to the Lord. He then went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.

Now that is a wonderful ending to her “destination restoration”! However, this lady would once again find herself in need of restoration. Some time later, Elisha instructed her to leave her home and take her family to go stay wherever she could because a famine was coming. Everything worked well except that after seven years when she returned she did not own her home. So she went to the king to make an appeal for the return of her property. As only our Lord could orchestrate, Gehazi was with the king telling him the story of how Elisha had brought a woman’s son back to life. Then Gehazi said, “My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed a certain officer for her, saying, “Restore all that was hers, and all the proceeds of the field from the day that she left the land until now.”

Dearest girlfriends, I pray that we would seek and allow the restoration only our heavenly Father can give us to bring healing to our lives.

The ultimate restoration we can experience is the eternal restoring of our souls. If you have not personally experienced the restoration of knowing Jesus Christ, you can click on this link and find out how. Heaven

Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food. And she said to her husband, “Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. “Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.” And it happened one day that he came there, and he turned in to the upper room and lay down there. Then he said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite woman.” When he had called her, she stood before him. And he said to him, “Say now to her, ‘Look, you have been concerned for us with all this care. What can I do for you? Do you want me to speak on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?’ ” She answered, “I dwell among my own people.” So he said, “What then is to be done for her?” And Gehazi answered, “Actually, she has no son, and her husband is old.” So he said, “Call her.” When he had called her, she stood in the doorway. Then he said, “About this time next year you shall embrace a son.” And she said, “No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!” But the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her. And the child grew. Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers. And he said to his father, “My head, my head!” So he said to a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out. Then she called to her husband, and said, “Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back.” So he said, “Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.” And she said, “It is well.”Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, “Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.” And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel. So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, “Look, the Shunammite woman!. “Please run now to meet her, and say to her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’ ” And she answered, “It is well.” Now when she came to the man of God at the hill, she caught him by the feet, but Gehazi came near to push her away. But the man of God said, “Let her alone; for her soul is in deep distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me, and has not told me.” So she said, “Did I ask a son of my lord? Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me’?” Then he said to Gehazi, “Get yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the child.” And the mother of the child said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So he arose and followed her. Now Gehazi went on ahead of them, and laid the staff on the face of the child; but there was neither voice nor hearing. Therefore he went back to meet him, and told him, saying, “The child has not awakened.” When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord. And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. And he called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite woman.” So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, “Pick up your son.” So she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; then she picked up her son and went out. ~ 2 Kings 4:8-37 NKJV

Then Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had restored to life, saying, “Arise and go, you and your household, and stay wherever you can; for the Lord has called for a famine, and furthermore, it will come upon the land for seven years.” So the woman arose and did according to the saying of the man of God, and she went with her household and dwelt in the land of the Philistines seven years. It came to pass, at the end of seven years, that the woman returned from the land of the Philistines; and she went to make an appeal to the king for her house and for her land. Then the king talked with Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, saying, “Tell me, please, all the great things Elisha has done.” Now it happened, as he was telling the king how he had restored the dead to life, that there was the woman whose son he had restored to life, appealing to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, “My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed a certain officer for her, saying, “Restore all that was hers, and all the proceeds of the field from the day that she left the land until now.” ~ 2 Kings 8:1-6 NKJV

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. ~ 71:20 NIV

Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. ~ Psalm 80:3 NIV

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. ~ Psalm 51:12 NIV

The Fragility of a House of Cards

Aug 09

by Victoria Robinson 

My father has a degree in building construction, so he knows of the importance of making sure plans for a building are designed in a structurally sound manner. I on the other hand, tend to focus more on the façade and what looks nice. The trouble with my focus is that without his knowledge of building construction, my beautiful design ideas would be nothing more than a “house of cards”. Intriguing to look at, but fragile in design. 

Just like my earthly father, my heavenly Father is more concerned about solid building principles. Our Lord and Savior told a story of a man who built a house on solid rock. he clearly shows us this was a good foundation that would withstand torrential rains, floodwaters, and winds. He said that though these would come against it—it would stand. He also shows us that if we build on anything other than solid rock, we are building on sand and our house will fall with a mighty crash. 

A sad example of one’s life crashing down is the story of Samson. While Samson was a person with great potential he fell short because of his sin and disobedience. His legacy of mighty physical strength is marred by his weakness in resisting temptation. Before he was even born the Lord told his mother that “No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth.” The cutting of his hair resulted in the loss of his strength. Subsequently the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and put him in prison. The tragic end of his life came as he was holding onto the pillars of the temple. There as a final act of strength he requested of the Lord, “O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” He also asked the Lord, “Let me die with the Philistines!” The result was that he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. His life literally came crashing down.

Girlfriends, when our lives are structured apart from the soundness of the Word of God, we live in a fragile uncertainty knowing that collapse is inevitable.  What is your life being built on? The Word of God and obedience to it are the solid foundation we should build our lives on if we want to avoid crashing like a “house of cards”.

Dearest girlfriends, I pray that we would dedicate ourselves to building our lives on the solid construction of obedience to the Word of God.

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse, because it is built on rock. But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will fall with a mighty crash.” ~ Matthew 7:24-27 NLT

“So why do you call me ‘Lord,’ when you won’t obey me? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then obeys me. It is like a person who builds a house on a strong foundation laid upon the underlying rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who listens and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will crumble into a heap of ruins.” ~ Luke 6:46-49 NIV

The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, “You are sterile and childless, but you are going to conceive and have a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean, because you will conceive and give birth to a son. No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” ~ Judges 13:3-5 NIV

Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was tired to death. So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite set apart to God since birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.” When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. Having put him to sleep on her lap, she called a man to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him. Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding in the prison. But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved. The Death of Samson Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, “Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.” When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, “Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands, the one who laid waste our land and multiplied our slain.” While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. When they stood him among the pillars, Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived. ~ Judges 16:15-30

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. ~ Proverbs 14:1 NIV