Archive for the ‘Dealing With Sin’ Category

A High Price!

Sep 17

SIN 091714by Victoria Robinson

In life we must always consider the cost of our purchases. Sometimes we tend to think that only wrong purchases are costly, but the truth is that our Lord has admonished us that following Him comes with a high price. Oh, but the rewards on that eternal investment are wonderful!

    Jesus Christ is a Pearl of great price, a Jewel of inestimable value, which will make those who have it rich, truly rich, rich toward God; in having him, we have enough to make us happy here and for ever.
    A true Christian is a spiritual merchant, that seeks and finds this pearl of price; that does not take up with any thing short of an interest in Christ, and, as one that is resolved to be spiritually rich, trades high: He went and bought that pearl; did not only bid for it, but purchased it. What will it avail us to know Christ, if we do not know him as ours, made to us wisdom?
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”  ~ 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 NASB
    Those who would have a saving interest in Christ, must be willing to part with all for him, leave all to follow him. Whatever stands in opposition to Christ, or in competition with him for our love and service, we must cheerfully quit it, though ever so dear to us. A man may buy gold too dear, but not this pearl of price.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary

Sin also comes with a high price. However, sin does not result in eternal rewards, but comes with a high price of suffering. The Word of God clearly says, “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” In fact, the ultimate price of sin is death. The book of Romans states, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

If you are dealing with “buyer’s remorse” because you have already paid the high price of sin, take heart—there is hope. Your heavenly Father loves you unconditionally and will never abandon you. This does not always negate the price we pay for sin, but it does give us tremendous comfort in knowing we are loved and will never be cast away. The apostle John tells us that, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This promise ensures us freedom from our sins when we confess with a repentant heart.

Dearest girlfriends, I pray the next time we consider sin, we would consider the price too high and would instead look at the rewards of the high price of following our Lord and Savior.

Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ ~ Luke 14:27-30 NASB
 
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?. ~ Luke 9:23-25 NASB
 
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. ~ Matthew 19:29 NASB
 
Peter said, “Behold, we have left our own homes and followed You.” And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.” ~ Luke 18:28-30 NASB
 
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 NASB
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 6:23 NASB

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. ~ 1 Timothy 6:10-11 NASB
 
Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. ~ 2 Timothy 2:22 NASB
 
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ 2 Peter 1:3-8 NIV
 
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. ~ Galatians 6:7-8 NASB
 
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ~ 1 John 1:8-9 NASB
 
If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” ~ Joshua 24:15 NASB

Finding Your Way to Happiness

Aug 02

Finding the Road to Happiness  080214by Victoria Robinson

The prophet Jeremiah once lamented that he had forgotten happiness. Compare those words of despair to the uplifting words of King Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes when he said, “To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, …” This renowned King known for his great wisdom, in this same passage, also goes on to explain what causes unhappiness. He states, “… but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

Solomon’s own father, King David, understood what the answer to despair is. He stated so eloquently, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” This is a man who had experienced tremendous happiness as well as dealt with an enormous amount of despair in his lifetime. Some of his despair was the result of sin and some of which was brought on by his enemies. To say that we can escape despair in our life here on earth is not a truth based on the Word of God.

Consider the tumultuous life of the apostle Paul. At one point he stated that he was burdened excessively, beyond his strength, so that he despaired even of life. Yet this same man found happiness even in the midst of sorrow and despair. In the book of Philippians he shares this truth with us. “But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.”

Dearest girlfriends, I pray that our hearts would be turned from desiring sin to desiring the goodness of our heavenly Father and therefore enjoy a happiness that only He can give us.

My soul has been rejected from peace; I have forgotten happiness. So I say, “My strength has perished, And so has my hope from the Lord.” ~ Lamentations 3:17-18 NASB
 
Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?  ~ Romans 2:4 NASB

I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter. ~ 2 Corinthians 7:9-11 NASB

 
To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. ~ Ecclesiastes 2:26 NIV
 
 
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord. ~Psalm 27:13-13 NASB
 
 
For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us,He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many. For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:8-12 NASB
 
But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me. ~ Philippians 2:17-18 NASB
 
… On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. ~ 1 Timothy 4:7-10 NASB
 
 
How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well with you.~ Psalm 128:1 NASB
 
 
How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast. ~ Proverbs 3:13-18 NASB
 
 
He who despises his neighbor sins, but happy is he who is gracious to the poor. ~ Proverbs 14:21 NASB
 
 
Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law. ~ Proverbs 29:18 NASB
 
 
I have seen that nothing is better than that man should be happy in his activities, for that is his lot. For who will bring him to see what will occur after him? ~ Ecclesiastese 3:22 NASB
 
 
In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider—God has made the one as well as the other so that man will not discover anything that will be after him. ~ Ecclesiastese 7:14 NASB

Life Could Be Better Without the “un”!

Jul 05

Life is Better Without the UN 070514by Victoria Robinson

Oh my, how two little letters can change the meaning of so many words! The prefix, “un” can modify words in a good way or, unfortunately, in a very bad way. Consider these words that had a wonderful meaning until the prefix of un was added:

 unproductive – productive

♥ ungodly – godly

 unloving – loving

unkindness – kindness

unknowledgeable  – knowledgeable

uncontrollable – controllable

 unforgiveness – forgiveness

 unhelpful – helpful

 unhappy – happy

 unfaithful – faithful

The Word of God so richly affirms to us what will keep the dreaded prefix “un” off of the word productive. In the book of Second Peter, the apostle Peter gives us great insight on how to keep from being unproductive. In the first chapter of this book he penned, he states, “For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” So what are these qualities he is referring to? Peter advises us to make every effort to add to our faith …

 goodness

 knowledge

 self-control

 perseverance

 godliness

 brotherly kindness

 love

He also gives us a very precious promise when he says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

Dearest girlfriends, I pray that we would make every effort to diligently add faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love to our life so that we will escape the corruption of the world caused by our evil desires.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. ~ 2 Peter 1:3-9 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

I Wanna Say I’m Sorry

Jun 28

by Victoria Robinson

The words, “I wanna say I’m sorry.” hold a special place in my heart. I have a precious young lady God has placed in my life and though she is now all “grown up” at six years old, when she was younger and would find herself stuck in the corner of the hallway of her home in a timeout, she would utter those sweet words. At times though, it would take some time facing the wall with no toys to play with for her heart to decide to line up with God’s heart. However short or long she waited, she would inevitably have a big smile on her face as she embraced the freedom a right heart brings.

When my heart is not right with God, I am stuck in that same prison my little friend found herself in. With a frown on my face, misery in my heart, and an unwillingness to say to God, “I wanna say I’m sorry.” my life just does not improve.

In the book of Numbers we see an example of a man named Balaam who suffered a crushed foot because of his refusal to have a right heart. Balaam had been summoned by the Moabite king Balak to curse the Israelites before they entered Canaan. Because of a greedy heart, he agreed to commit this evil act. God was clearly not pleased with him and even used a donkey to not only crush his foot, but to literally speak to him. Oh, if only Balaam would have said to God that he was sorry before his foot was maimed!

Along with saying you’re sorry, it is also essential to follow God’s plan. If you are truly sorry then obedience will follow. Just as my little friend would find herself right back in the corner if her behavior did not change, we will find ourselves back in trouble. In the book of Deuteronomy we see a perfect of example of this. The Israelites had chosen not to trust God and go up and take the land He promised them. Upon hearing Moses rebuke of their evil behavior they promptly decided to say they were sorry. However, as soon as they repented, they did not follow God’s advice. They told Moses they would now go take the land despite Moses warning them they would be killed. The Amorites who lived in those hills came out against them and chased them like a swarm of bees and beat them down from Seir all the way to Hormah. So, if you have told God you’re sorry, do not try to solve your problems, but allow Him to show you His plan.

Dearest girlfriends, do you need to stop right now and say to God, “I wanna say I’m sorry.”? If so, this is a perfect time to release yourself from an uncomfortable spiritual prison and walk in the freedom  that only He can give.

… yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and … Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. ~ 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 NIV 

Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure. ~ Ecclesiastes 7:3-4 NIV

Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road. Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again. Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”  The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?” “No,” he said. Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. The angel of the LORD asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.” Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back.”  ~ Numbers 22:21-34 NIV 

Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go. When the LORD heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore: “Not a man of this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your forefathers, except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly.” … Then you replied, “We have sinned against the LORD. We will go up and fight, as the LORD our God commanded us.” So every one of you put on his weapons, thinking it easy to go up into the hill country. But the LORD said to me, “Tell them, ‘Do not go up and fight, because I will not be with you. You will be defeated by your enemies.’” So I told you, but you would not listen. You rebelled against the LORD’s command and in your arrogance you marched up into the hill country. The Amorites who lived in those hills came out against you; they chased you like a swarm of bees and beat you down from Seir all the way to Hormah.  ~ Deuteronomy 1:29-36,41-43 NIV 

… I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. ~ Acts 26:20 NIV

Let’s Start Over!

Jan 09

by Victoria Robinson

In the beginning … ahhh those famous first words recorded in the book of Genesis. Beginnings so often start with a sense of great hope and wonderment. This was the fresh starts of all fresh starts. A blank canvas with limitless possibilities. Girlfriends, don’t you just love a fresh start? A chance to begin anew with no past mistakes. There are times when we just need to start over.

Spiritually speaking, a new beginning is found in the book of John. That new beginning is found in putting our faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The apostle Paul spoke of this transforming faith in the book of Titus. he said, “… a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time …” Acknowledging that a new life is only possible through Jesus Christ is the only way to have a fresh start. In fact, Jesus said to a man named Nicodemus, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” Born again—let’s start over! If this is your desire, click on this Heaven link and learn more. Heaven

If you already have a relationship with Jesus Christ then you surely know what a wonderful feeling it is to be able to “wipe the slate clean” and start over. King David came to a place in his life when he desperately needed to start over. Troubles surrounded him due to his disintegration into a sinful life. The enemy of his soul had enticed him to indulge in lustfully gazing upon a beautiful woman named Bathsheba. This led to sleeping with her apart from marriage as set forth in the Word of God. Once it becomes known to him that Bathsheba is pregnant, we see the actions of a desperate man. So panicked by his circumstances that he engaged in a murderous plot to kill Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah. If ever a person needed to start over it was King David.

The good news is David repented and turned his heart back to the Lord. David’s fresh start resulted in the Lord speaking these kind words about him after his departure from this world, “… walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness …”

King David whose life was ravaged by his sinful choices, but who got a fresh start from the heavenly Father, has been memorialized by the Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus.  He wrote, “David was truly a man after God’s own heart.”

This is an encouraging story when we reach a point in our life where we need a new beginning. If that is where you are today, then praying the very words King David prayed after he repented are appropriate. In the book of Psalms David wrote, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

Near the end of Lamentations, a book of poetry written to lament the destruction of Jerusalem, the prophet Jeremiah makes a plea to the Lord. He says, “Bring us back to you! Give us a fresh start.” What a wonderful way to cry out to the Lord when we have a remorseful heart and want to start over!

Dearest girlfriends, let us turn our hearts towards our heavenly Father and receive a new beginning.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. ~ Genesis 1:1-2 NIV
 
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. … The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. ~ John 1:1-2,14 NIV
 
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, ~ Titus 1:1-2 NIV
 
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. ~ John 3:1-6 NIV
 
… walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness … ~ 1 Kings 9:4 NKJV
 
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, …  Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. ~ Psalm 51:1-4,7-12 NIV
 
Bring us back to you! Give us a fresh start. ~ Lamentations 5:21 CEV

The Day the Laughter Died

Jan 05

by Victoria Robinson

Some would say that April 26, 1989 is the day the laughter died. That is the day that the greatest comedienne of all time died. Lucille Ball who spent her life bringing laughter to millions was silenced. My dearest friend Cyndee and I have spent numerous hours laughing while watching I Love Lucy. Who could resist laughing as Lucy and Ethel frantically gobble handfuls of chocolate candy to hide their failure on their new job venture. What about that hilarious expression on Lucy’s face when her boss says, “Speed it up a little!”? But alas, our lives are not always filled with laughter. Life has a way of turning laughter into mourning.

The Bible gives us many examples of times the laughter died. One such was when Sarah had given birth to Isaac. On this joyous day she said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Interestingly the name Isaac is Yitschaq in Hebrew which means “he laughs”. Yet, there would come a day when Sarah would find herself not laughing.  A great feast was held when Isaac was weaned. The truth is Sarah’s distress on this particular day was the result of sin. Sarah had refused to wait on the promise of God to have a child and took matters into her own hands. Subsequently Hagar gave birth to Abraham’s first son, Ishmael. At the feast, Sarah observed Ishmael mocking her son Isaac. Like any mother, this upset her.

Girlfriends, has your laughter died? There are many reasons we  find ourselves not laughing. One is quite simply sin. If this is why your laughter has ceased, then immediate repentance will bring joy to your heart and times of laughter to return.

 Another reason is that our heavenly Father allows difficulties to come into our life in order for His greater purposes to be accomplished. Such is the case of the many hardships Joseph had to endure in the book of Genesis. If this is the reason you have no laughter, then accepting God’s greater plan for your life will bring you joy. Last year in the short span of a week I had three friends lose their husbands. All these ladies have accepted Jesus Christ into their lives and have the comfort only He can provide. However, understandably this was a period in their lives with very little laughter.

The enemy of your soul also wants to steal your laughter. Sometimes he will even convince you of a lie. For instance, “God is not going to bring you through a difficult time.” The only way to prevent Satan from absconding with your laughter is shielding yourself with the Word. The book of Ephesians tells us to take up the shield of faith, with which we can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. The word faith in the original Greek is pistis which means conviction of the truth. The way to have conviction of the truth is to immerse yourself in the Word of God.

Laughter is an important gift our heavenly Father has given us. The Word of God tells us laughter can even bring healing to our bodies.
 
While we must recognize the truth that King Solomon told us so long ago—there is a time to weep and a time to laugh, let us examine our hearts to see if and why the laughter has died. If repentance is needed then, let us have a change of heart and watch the laughter return. If we are walking through divinely appointed hardships, let us rejoice in the fact that our heavenly Father knows what is best for us. If we are believing lies Satan is telling us, let us put on the shield of conviction of the truth of the Word of God.
 

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would allow the laughter to return to our hearts and enjoy the life God has chosen for us.

Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.” ~ Genesis 21:5-10 NIV
 
But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. ~ Genesis 50:19-20 NIV
  
So give yourselves humbly to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. And when you draw close to God, God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and let your hearts be filled with God alone to make them pure and true to him. Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done. Let there be sorrow and sincere grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Then when you realize your worthlessness before the Lord, he will lift you up, encourage and help you. ~ James 7:7-10 TLB
 
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. ~ Ephesians 6:16 NIV
 
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. ~ Proverbs 17:22 NIV
  

a time to weep and a time to laugh … ~ Ecclesiastes 3:4 NIV
 
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. ~ Proverbs 31:25 NIV
 
… Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. ~ Luke 6:21 NIV

Are You Wearing an Ugly Necklace?

Jul 05

Are You Wearing an Ugly Necklace 070511by Victoria Robinson

The psalmist lamented the prosperity of the wicked. Asaph said, “They wear pride like a jeweled necklace …” Asaph also came to realize the sin of envy plaguing his own heart. Oh girlfriends, if only we would be like Asaph and recognize our own shortcomings instead of focusing on the faults of others. The irony is that we are suffering from pride when we envy those who have pride. Thus we choose to wear an ugly necklace ourselves.

Asaph’s envy had turned to bitterness. Thankfully he came to understand how close he came to the edge of the cliff. When he comes to his senses he realizes it is the wicked who are on a slippery path and are going to slide over the cliff to destruction.

The wisdom found in Proverbs tells us to wear a beautiful necklace of loyalty and kindness and thus we will find favor with both God and people. It also shows us we will gain a good reputation as well.

Dearest girlfriends, let us not wear an ugly necklace of sin, but instead choose to wear a beautiful necklace of self-reflection by examining our own hearts.

Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure. But as for me, I came so close to the edge of the cliff! My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. They seem to live such a painless life; their bodies are so healthy and strong. They aren’t troubled like other people or plagued with problems like everyone else. They wear pride like a jeweled necklace, and their clothing is woven of cruelty. ~ Psalm 73:1-6NLT

So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is! Then one day I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I thought about the destiny of the wicked. Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. In an instant they are destroyed, swept away by terrors. Their present life is only a dream that is gone when they awake. When you arise, O Lord, you will make them vanish from this life. ~ Psalm 73:16-20 NLT

Then I realized how bitter I had become, how pained I had been by all I had seen. I was so foolish and ignorant—I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet I still belong to you; you are holding my right hand. You will keep on guiding me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. But those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you. But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do. ~ Psalm 73:21-28 NLT

Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. Psalm 23:17-18 NIV

Never let loyalty and kindness get away from you! Wear them like a necklace; write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will gain a good reputation. ~ Proverbs 3:3-4 NLT

 

Celebrate Freedom!

Jul 04

Celebrate Freedom 060411by Victoria Robinson

Oh girlfriends, the irony just cannot go unnoticed when the apostle Paul tells us, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Is not this the same man who spent so much of his ministry in prison? Yet here we have a man celebrating freedom—freedom from the sinful life he had previously known before his encounter with the Savior.

Paul then goes on to tell us, “For you have been called to live in freedom—not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature …” The apostle James admonishes us that freedom comes from obedience  when he says, “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.” The psalmist also tells us freedom requires obedience when he writes these wonderful words, “I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.”

All of these truths encourage us that regardless of our circumstances true freedom comes about through personal proper behavior. The responsibility to be free lies within each of us. Sin is a choice that will imprison our souls—obedience will set us free.

Dearest girlfriends, let us celebrate the freedom from sin that we have through our relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. ~ Galatians 5:1 NIV
 
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV
 
For you have been called to live in freedom—not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. ~ Galatians 5:13 NLT
 
I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. ~ Psalm 119:45 NIV
 
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 1:25 NIV
 
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 6:15-23 NIV

♥ Seeking Restoration ♥

Jul 03

by Victoria Robinson

Three times within the eightieth Psalm, the psalmist seeks restoration from God. Each time he says, “Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.” Our need for restoration comes from varied reasons. Sometimes it is due to our own sinfulness. Other times it is due to circumstances beyond our control. It can even be due to the need to intercede for someone else.

  • King Nebuchadnezzar found himself desolate because of pride. As soon as he repented and acknowledged that the Most High is sovereign his sanity and kingdom were restored.
  • Joseph needed restoration not because of sin, but because of the providence of God. Throughout his ordeal he glorified God and eventually experienced immense restoration.
  • A man of God interceded for King Jeroboam for his hand to be restored.

Girlfriends, do you need restoration either for yourself or a friend? The Israelites received gracious restoration of an ugly devastation they endured due to sin. The prophet Joel describes how a great army of locusts had devoured Israel and then goes on to proclaim the words of the Lord, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten … You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. ” The psalmist gives us great hope for restoration when he says, “Who, O God, is like you? 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.”

Dearest girlfriends, let us seek the Lord for restoration of anything we need in our lives as well as our friends. 

Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. ~ Psalm 80:3 NIV
 
Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things. Who, O God, is like you? 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. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again. ~ Psalm 71:19-21 NIV
 
You have rejected us, O God, and burst forth upon us; you have been angry—now restore us! You have shaken the land and torn it open; mend its fractures, for it is quaking. You have shown your people desperate times; you have given us wine that makes us stagger. But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner to be unfurled against the bow. Selah  Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered. ~ Psalm 60:1-5 NIV
 
‘I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm— my great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. ~ Joel  2:25-26 NIV
 
“This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king:  You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes. The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules. Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.”  All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. … At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble. ~ Daniel 4:24-28,3436 NIV 

… he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. ~ Psalm 23:3 NIV

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

So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and men shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.” ~ Genesis 41:41-44, NIV
 
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. ~ Genesis 45:4-8 NIV
 
When King Jeroboam heard what the man of God cried out against the altar at Bethel, he stretched out his hand from the altar and said, “Seize him!” But the hand he stretched out toward the man shriveled up, so that he could not pull it back. Also, the altar was split apart and its ashes poured out according to the sign given by the man of God by the word of the LORD. Then the king said to the man of God, “Intercede with the LORD your God and pray for me that my hand may be restored.” So the man of God interceded with the LORD, and the king’s hand was restored and became as it was before. ~ 1 Kings 13:4-6 NIV