Archive for the ‘Dealing With Your Past’ Category

Seeing Is Believing … Or Is It?

Jun 05

Seeing is Believing Or is It 060514by Victoria Robinson

If seeing is believing, then why do we sometimes struggle to believe? In the book of John, Jesus tells a large group of people, “But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.” It is easy for us to scoff at these pitiful people. Afterall, they saw and heard Jesus in the flesh. Unbelievable! Yet you and I are no different when we forget all our heavenly Father has done for us, and do not trust Him for our future.

The evidence our heavenly Father has given us is overwhelming. We can see so many examples in the Word of God where our heavenly Father cares so graciously for His children and yet we find ourselves doubting that He will meet our needs.

When we read the illustrious stories in the Word of God, there is evidence beyond our imagination that  our Lord is capable to care for every single need we have and yet we continue in our unbelief. Concerning the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of the Israelite’s exodus from slavery to the promised land there are so many examples of how our Lord majestically delivered and provided for His children. Yet time and time again the Israelites faltered in their faith that the Lord is all-sufficient. After the miraculous deliverance out of Egypt the Israelites complained to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” Yet just a few verses later we see the epic deliverance of the Israelites when God parted the Red Sea and annihilated their enemies.

Interestingly enough, the Israelites did believe what they saw while they were slaves and captive to Pharaoh. They remembered the fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic, they ate freely in Egypt. Yet they must have had selective memory as they did not complain about being in captivity at the same time. Oh, how I wish I could say I never only remember the wrong things in my past, but the truth is, I find it so easy to romanticize certain events, while ignoring the blatant truth of the misery surrounding what good I did have. In this case, the Israelites should have looked backwards without fondness on their captivity and joyfully and with gladness of heart looked forward to the future of the promised land that awaited them.

In the book of Joshua we read where twelve stones were set up as a memorial for future generations to be reminded of how the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord when it crossed the Jordan.

Ask yourself this question, “What have you seen your heavenly father do in your past that unequivocally lines up with the truth of His Word?” The Word of God instructs us to write down what the Lord has done so future generations will praise Him.

In the book of Isaiah, God states, “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.”

To the sacred history: “Remember the former things of old, what the God of Israel did for his people in their beginnings, whether he did not that for them which no one else could, and which the false gods did not, nor could do, for their worshippers. Remember those things, and you will own that I am God and there is none else.’’ — Matthew Henry’s Commentary

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would consider what we have seen the Lord do in our past, and prepare our hearts to confidently believe Him for the future.

But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. ~ John 6:36 NASB

Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” ~ Exodus 14:11-12 NASB
Now when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe, and command them, saying, ‘Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight.’ ” So Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the sons of Israel, one man from each tribe; and Joshua said to them, “Cross again to the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel. Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.” ~ Joshua 4:1-7 NASB
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. ~ Matthew 12:38-42 NASB 
For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him. ~ Matthew 21:32 NASB
  For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”— and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. ~ 2 Peter 1:16-20 NASB
The rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.” ~ Numbers 11:4-6 NASB
Walk about Zion and go around her; count her towers; consider her ramparts; go through her palaces, that you may tell it to the next generation. For such is God, our God forever and ever; He will guide us until death. ~ Psalm 48:12-14 NASB
Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD: ~ Psalm 102:18 NIV
Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord. ~ Psalm 107:43 NLT
Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. ~ Isaiah 46:9 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

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

♥ 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

Overcoming Youthful Indiscretions

Jun 22

by Victoria Robinson

Girlfriends, from time to time the enemy of our souls will bring accusations to us about our past indiscretions. Shame, discouragement and even depression can result which is exactly the outcome Satan is striving for. While his striving is ultimately in vain, we must not allow these accusations to overtake us. The Word of God so beautifully states wonderful truths to retort back to the enemy and bring comfort to our hearts.

The psalmist was agonizing over his past indiscretions when he said, “Overlook my youthful sins, O Lord! Look at me instead through eyes of mercy and forgiveness, through eyes of everlasting love and kindness.” His request was accurately in line with the will of our Lord. The book of Isaiah makes a comforting promise in this regard. It says, “Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. The shame of your youth … will be remembered no more …” This truth directly contradicts the accusations of the enemy.

The importance of repentance is the key that will free us of our past indiscretions. The apostle Paul said, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” If you have not repented of your sins the pain you are experiencing is a worldly sorrow. To walk in no regrets requires forgiveness. The apostle John encourages us with these words, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Dearest girlfriends, let us overcome our past indiscretions with a repentant heart and the assurance of our heavenly Father’s compassionate forgiveness.

Overlook my youthful sins, O Lord! Look at me instead through eyes of mercy and forgiveness, through eyes of everlasting love and kindness. ~  Psalm 25:6-7 TLB
 
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. ~ Psalm 103:8-14 NIV
 
“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. The shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood will be remembered no more, for your Creator will be your husband. The Lord Almighty is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth. For the Lord has called you back from your grief—as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,” says your God. “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will take you back. In a moment of anger I turned my face away for a little while. But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer. ~ Isaiah 54:4-8 NLT
 
“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins. ~ Isaiah 43:25 NKJV
 
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. ~ 2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV
 
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. ~ 1 John 1:9 NIV
 
Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,“It has happened at last—the salvation and power and kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ! For the Accuser has been thrown down to earth—the one who accused our brothers and sisters before our God day and night. And they have defeated him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of their testimony. … ~ Revelation 12:10-11 NLT

This Is YOUR Life!

May 29

by Victoria Robinson

In the song This Is Your Life, by Switchfoot, the question is posed, “This is your life, are you who you want to be?” Sometimes in life we can develop a “victim” mentality. That is based on the thinking—my life is not my fault. Things have happened to me along the way and I have no choice in what I have become. I can’t help but think about what a certain young man all of seventeen would have said about that idea. At seventeen, this young man was terrorized by his brothers, threatened with death, sold into slavery, falsely accused of rape, imprisoned, and left to languish in prison by a friend who neglected to help him. This godly man named Joseph did not understand “playing the victim”. Instead, he knew this was HIS life and he took responsibility for his actions. Because Joseph chose to act godly, the difficulties during this period of his life were intermingled with favor from the Lord.

Even after God places Joseph in a prominent position and gives him power over his brothers, there is never ever a hint of unforgiveness in his heart. Instead, once again, he chooses to be a blessing to those who have cursed him. After experiencing seventeen years of a difficult life, Joseph was godly enough to say to his brothers, “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. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.”

Girlfriends, this is YOUR life and you need to behave properly regardless of what others have done to you. Just as Joseph was richly rewarded for his godly actions, so we will experience our heavenly Father’s blessings when we act appropriately.

Dearest girlfriends, I pray our actions would consistently reflect our heavenly Father’s principles no matter what difficulties we are living through.

 … So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” … So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the richly ornamented robe he was wearing— and they took him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. ~ Genesis 37:17-20,23-24 NIV
 
Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed. So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt. … Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard. ~ Genesis 37:27-28,36 NIV
 
… Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.” She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.” When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. … ~ Genesis 39:6-20 NIV
 
But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. For I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.” … Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials: He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand, but he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation. The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him. ~ Genesis 40:14-15,20-23 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. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. ~ Genesis 50:19-21 NIV
 
But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. ~ Luke 6:27-28 NIV
 
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible. Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, “I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,” says the Lord. Instead, do what the Scriptures say: “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you.” Don’t let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good. ~ Romans 12:17-21 NLT
 
Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your principles! Then I will not be disgraced when I compare my life with your commands. ~ Psalm 119:5-6 NLT

A Forgetful Father

Oct 22

by Victoria Robinson

Having someone in your life that is forgetful can be difficult to deal with. You expect them to do certain things and they are not reliable. However, there is someone who forgets certain things and yet is totally reliable. That would be your heavenly Father. The great thing about Him is that His love for us enables Him to forget our sins when we have repentant hearts. So here’s what we can learn from Him—to accept the apologies of those in our life and choose not to keep a record of their wrongs. I know that it is often said, “I can forgive, but I will never forget!” This is how our natural self operates, and yet we need to operate in our heavenly Father’s power. His Word tells us that with God all things are possible. If God Himself told us we are not to keep a record of wrongs, then in the natural selves this is impossible, but with Him we can be obedient to an amazing truth. God sees all of us in an eternal light and we tend to see everyone in an earthly light.  We presume that if someone has a history of hurtful behavior towards us, then it is impossible for them to change. When the apostle Paul accepted that Jesus was the Savior, the Christians were afraid of Him because of his past behavior. He was their enemy and was responsible for their persecution and even deaths. They suddenly found themselves having to embrace a thug who now had become a spiritual brother. They had to bury the past. In the book of Galatians we see how they had gone from fear and dislike to praising God for him. Can you imagine serving side by side with someone who had hurt you so deeply? God can. He has accepted us even though when we were lost and unfortunately even sometimes after we were saved we treated Him badly. Dearest girlfriends, let us imitate our heavenly Father’s forgetfulness and remember the sins of others no more.

I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. ~ Isaiah 43:25 NIV
 
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. ~ Psalm 103:8-12 NIV
 
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV
 
for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. ~ Philippians 2:13 NIV
 
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” ~ Mark 10:27 NIV
 
For nothing is impossible with God. ~ Luke 1:37 NIV
 
I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they praised God because of me. ~ Galatians 1:22-24 NIV

Seeking Restoration

Sep 28

by Victoria Robinson

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t Look Back!

Sep 10

Lamenting over your past is very harmful and will prevent you from enjoying your life today, as well as keep you from the divine future God has planned for you. Lot’s wife certainly experienced this when she looked back. Solomon tells us it is not good to question why our past was better. The Israelites who were disobedient, ultimately missed out on the glorious future God planned for them because of holding on to their past, as well as being afraid of the future. You may be lamenting over the loss of good times in your past or bad memories from hurts. Either way, you are losing out on all God has for you. Start today by not looking back, instead, look forward to all the wonderful days God has planned for you.

As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” … But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. ~ Genesis 19:17,26
 
Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions. ~ Ecclesiastes 7:10
 
The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” ~ Numbers 11:4-6
 
… But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 3:13-14