Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

You Get What You Pray For!

Jun 28

You Get What You Pray For 062815by Victoria Robinson

You get what you pay for is a common saying. While that is sometimes painfully true, another truth is that you oftentimes get what you pray for. The Word of God clearly shows us three examples of getting what you pray for. 

 You do not receive because you do not ask.

 You receive the wrong things because you should not have asked.

 You receive the right things because you asked according to His will.

It all comes down to the motives of your heart. Are your motives right or wrong when it comes to your prayers?

Dearest girlfriends, let us not only turn our hearts to Him in prayer, but let us ask for only for what is His will!

… You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. ~ James 4:2-3

Say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the ears of the Lord, saying, “Oh that someone would give us meat to eat! For we were well-off in Egypt.” Therefore the Lord will give you meat and you shall eat. You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, but a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you; because you have rejected the Lord who is among you and have wept before Him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?” ’ ” ~ Numbers 11:18-20
This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. ~ 1 John 5:14-15

Que Sera Sera

Jul 25

by Victoria Robinson

In the Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Doris Day sang her now infamous song, Que Sera Sera.  She sang these words to her son who at the time could never have imagined he would soon become the victim of a kidnapper. Her idyllic life would soon be transformed into a terrifying nightmare.

Que Sera, Sera,

Whatever will be, will be

The future’s not ours to see

 Que Sera, Sera,

What will be, will be. 

This song echoes the divine providence of the Lord in the truth that He is the One who is ultimately in charge and the only One who really knows our future. Our Lord and Savior made this perfectly clear to a man who was rich and was making his own plans. Jesus said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” The apostle James gave us this wisdom regarding our future, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 

After Daniel’s prophecy to King Nebuchadnezzar came true this humbled king said of the Lord, “He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”

While it is true that the Lord will do as He pleases, we as His children are in a wonderful position to approach Him with boldness and confidence and ask for His help. It is of the utmost importance that as we make requests to our heavenly Father, we do it in the same manner as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  When confronted with the horrendous reality of death on the cross He uttered these now famous words, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” This same attitude should be in our hearts as we boldly approach our heavenly Father. As was the case of Jesus, sometimes our Lord will not take the “cup” from us, but allow difficult things to happen in our life not only for our good, but the good of others. 

Then again, there are certainly times when our whole course of life will be altered because of a request we make to the Lord. In the book of James we see  the importance of making requests to the Lord. James said, “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” He further states that their motives should be right when asking our Lord for something. 

The infamous story of a lady named Hannah found in the book of First Samuel exemplifies how a godly lady boldly approached the Lord with her request. Hannah was so distressed after not being able to conceive that she came before the Lord in bitterness of soul weeping and praying to the LORD. The Lord not only gave her a son, but God rewarded Hannah’s piety and faithfulness with three more sons and two daughters. While we cannot know for certainty what Hannah’s future would have held had she not cried out to the Lord, perhaps she never would have received the blessing of children. 

So as we ponder the words of Doris Day, “Whatever will be will be, the future’s not ours, to see.” let us trust in the divine providence of the One who created us and has our best interests in mind. 

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would boldly approach the throne of God with our requests understanding that His answer is going to be perfect. 

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ ~ Luke 12:16-20 NIV 

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. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” 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 4:34-37 NIV 

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. ~ Hebrews 4:14-16 NIV

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. ~ Ephesians 3:12 NIV

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. ~ Luke 22:42 NIV

… You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. ~ James 4:2-3 NIV 

In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. And she made a vow, saying, “O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine.” “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the LORD for him.” ~ 1 Samuel 1:10-20 NIV

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

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. ~ 1 John 5:14-15

A Polite Conversation With Him

Jan 07

A Polite Conversation With Him 010712 2by Victoria Robinson

What in the world does learning how to use etiquette in conversation and learning how to converse with our heavenly Father have in common? Actually, quite a bit. Conversations with Him are what we think of as prayer. In the 1896 etiquette book, The Secret of a Happy Home, Christian author, Marion Harland, speaks of the satisfaction in telling one’s woes and sorrows to an interested listener.

“Undoubtedly there is a momentary satisfaction in telling one’s woes and sorrows to an interested listener. When the auditor is a friend, and a trusted friend, whose sympathy is genuine and whose discretion is vast, there is a comfort beyond description in unburdening one’s soul.”

Marion Harland, The Secret of a Happy Home 1896

Fortunately every one of us has a trusted friend we can unburden our souls to. King Solomon told us, “… there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” The friend  he is referring to is Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Our Lord and Savior gave us detailed instructions on having a polite conversation in prayer with our heavenly Father. He told us, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”

“Some people are always bored. May it not be because they look at everything animate and inanimate from a selfish standpoint, with the query in their minds, “How does that affect me?” The old definition of a bore as “a person who talks so much of himself that he gives you no chance to of yourself,” may apply not only to the bore, but to the bored. When you find yourself wearied and uninterested, be honest enough to examine yourself calmly, and see if the reason is not because your vis-a-vis is not talking about anything which interests you especially. Should he turn the conversation upon your favorite occupation or pastime, or even upon your personal likes and dislikes (which, by the way, might be an infinite bore to him), would he not at once become entertaining?”
Marion Harland, The Secret of a Happy Home 1896

Listening to the other person is an important key to polite conversation. Nobody enjoys chatting with a boorish person who only is concerned with prattling on about themselves. Your heavenly Father is not interested in having a one-way conversation with you. Besides, if you are not listening during your prayer, you cannot possibly attain His wisdom for your requests. Conversing with our heavenly Father must always include listening. In her 1860 book, The Ladies’ Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness, Florence Hartley gives us instruction on the importance of listening while conversing.

“It seems paradoxical to observe that the art of listening well forms a part of the duty of conversation. To give up the whole of your attention to the person who addresses himself to you, is sometimes a heavy tax, but it is one which we must pay for the privileges of social life, and an early practice will render it an almost involuntary act of good breeding; whilst consideration for others will give this little sacrifice a merit and a charm.”
Florence Hartley, The Ladies’ Book of Etiquette, and Manual of Politeness 1860

Genuine praise is another important aspect of good conversation. Marion Harland gives an excellent example of developing the habit of praising the one you are talking with.

“Ten girls whom I know formed a society for the repression of unkind criticism. The members themselves to try, as far as in them lay, to speak kindly of people when it was possible for them to do so, and when impossible to say nothing. At first it was hard, for self-conceit would intrude, and it is hard for one girl to praise another who dislikes her. Little by little the tiny seed of effort grew into a habit of kindly speech.”
Marion Harland, The Secret of a Happy Home 1896

This story is reminiscent of the hardness that can develop in our hearts and hinder us from praising our heavenly Father during prayer. The enemy of your soul will always point out why God is not worthy to be praised. A direct contradiction to the Scriptures! The psalmist tells us, “I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.”

Just as Marion Harland reminds us that no true lady complains while conversing with others, neither should we bring our request to the Lord in a complaining manner.

“But if you do not feel this, for politeness’ sake refrain from making your listener supremely uncomfortable by your complaints. No true lady will so far forget her innate ladyhood as to be guilty of this rudeness.”
Marion Harland, The Secret of a Happy Home 1896

An extremely descriptive picture of the perils of complaining while praying are found in the book of Numbers. The Israelites were whining about not having meat and my oh my did they ever get their request granted! The Lord said, “The LORD heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it. You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the LORD, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”

Polite conversation sometimes involves forgiveness. The person chatting with you may say something offensive and it is important for you to overlook the words that have wounded your heart. The Lord instructed us that prayer also involves forgiveness. In the book of Matthew, Jesus told us, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Our prayers will be hindered if we approach God and have unforgiveness towards others.

Dearest girlfriends, let us endeavor to develop polite conversation when we pray.

Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. … ~ Psalm 55:22 NLT 

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you. ~ 1 Peter 5:7 NLT
 
If you are having trouble, you should pray. … ~ James 5:13 CEV
 
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. ~ Proverbs 18:24 NIV
 
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies. ~ Psalm 18:3 NKJV
 
“Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The LORD heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it. You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the LORD, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’” ~ Numbers 11:18-20 NIV
 
A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult. ~ Proverbs 12:16 NIV
 
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This, then, is how you should pray: ”‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ~ Matthew 6:7-13 NIV
You can read these antique etiquette books from the library of Girlfriend’s Café by clicking on the links below.
 The Secret of a Happy Home
The Ladies’ Book of Etiquette, and Manual of Politeness

She Argued With Him

Jul 14

She Argued With Him 071411by Victoria Robinson

Oh my girlfriends, have you ever gotten into an argument with someone and then felt ashamed for your improper behavior? There once was a Greek woman who found out Jesus had come to town and rushed to ask Him for help. Her request was heartbreaking. She begged Jesus to drive a demon out of her daughter. Instead of our loving Lord granting her request He gave the most peculiar reply, “First let the children eat all they want, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” This woman had the nerve to argue her case with our Lord. She replied, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

Now what in the world does all this mean? Jesus’ reply was to test the intent of her desire and faith. His illustration of dogs is not an expression of contempt for Greeks, He is merely putting a test before her. When she argued her case her words proved her heart attitude, and her request was granted. The Lord told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”

After being told he was going to die, a man named Hezekiah argued his case before the Lord. He said, “Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” The Lord’s response to his argument was wonderful. The Lord said, “This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the LORD. I will add fifteen years to your life.”

Jesus also encourages us that sometimes we need to argue our case repeatedly. He told a story about a widow who presented her case to a judge many times. The judge ignored her for a while, but eventually she wore him out and he said, “I fear neither God nor man,’ he said to himself, ‘but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!”

Needless to say, the Lord does not always take our arguments and grant us our desires, but that should not hinder us from arguing our case with Him.

Dearest girlfriends, with a respectful and sincere heart let us argue our case with the Lord and trust Him with the outcome.
Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. ~ Mark 7:24-30 NIV
 
In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.” Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, “Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him: “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the LORD. I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’” ~ 2 Kings 20:1-6 NIV 
 
One day Jesus told his disciples a story to illustrate their need for constant prayer and to show them that they must never give up. “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who was a godless man with great contempt for everyone. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, appealing for justice against someone who had harmed her. The judge ignored her for a while, but eventually she wore him out. ‘I fear neither God nor man,’ he said to himself, ‘but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’ ” Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this evil judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end, so don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who plead with him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when I, the Son of Man, return, how many will I find who have faith?” ~ Luke 18:1-8 NLT
 
But I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God. ~ Job 13:3 NIV
 
Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence. ~ Isaiah 43:26 NIV

A ♥ S ♥ K

Jul 13

ASK 071311by Victoria Robinson

Our Lord and Savior told us three important ways to attain success. He said, “So I say to you:  Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” He goes on to paint a picture of success, ” For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

He also reminds us that even in our sinful state we give good gifts to our children when he says, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

Prior to this story we see someone asking his friend for help. This man boldly goes on an “ASK” mission. His need was bread. His friend had bread. However, the bread was behind a locked door. First, he knocked on the friend’s door. Second, he asked for help. Third, he continued to seek what he needed. His mission ended successfully. Our Lord told us this story to exemplify how to ask Him for our needs.

Seeking our heavenly Father for our needs is scripturally supported as well as His desire to provide for us.  However, we must recognize that our heavenly Father is not a “Genie in a bottle” who grants all our wishes. As His children, we are not to be brats telling Him what He must do. We are to be godly children and ask of Him what lines up with His Word. These are the requests we know He will answer.

Dearest girlfriends, let us boldly go on an “ASK” mission to our loving heavenly Father in order to attain what we have need of.

Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ “Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. ~ Luke 11:5-10 NIV
 
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! ~ Matthew 7:7-11 NIV
 
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. ~ 1 John 5:14-15 NIV

3 Days To Victory!

Jun 18

by Victoria Robinson

The queen and all her people were faced with imminent death. Would three days be the key to victory? Could three days bring you victory? In the third chapter of the suspenseful cliffhanger book of Esther, death was looming in the air. The evil villain Haman was preparing to kill all the Jews. When this heinous plan comes to light, our hero Mordecai turns to his cousin for help. His cousin just happened to be royalty. The heroine Queen Esther devises her own three-day plan that will bring victory. She along with her maids and all the Jews fasted and prayed. After these three days the Lord intervenes in some wonderful ways. By the end of this story victory came for all the Jews and Haman is hanged on a gallows.

Further truth of the victories fasting will bring are found in the words of our Lord and Savior. The disciples asked Him why a demon would not come out of a boy and his response was, “… this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Girlfriends, do you need victory in some area that only fasting can change? Is there a need you have brought before the Lord and have not gotten victory? Make no mistake about fasting. This act of self-sacrifice does not guarantee your desires will be given to you. Hence more of the self-sacrifice when we give over our desires to Him. Yet, fasting is an element of God’s arsenal in prayer that we all should be utilizing on a regular basis. The changes the Lord brings about through self-denial are heavenly.

Dearest girlfriends, lets us turn to fasting and prayer when we are in dire need and trust the Lord for His victories in our lives.

Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” ~ Esther 4:15-16 NIV
 
King Xerxes replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Because Haman attacked the Jews, I have given his estate to Esther, and they have hanged him on the gallows. Now write another decree in the king’s name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king’s signet ring—for no document written in the king’s name and sealed with his ring can be revoked.” At once the royal secretaries were summoned—on the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan. They wrote out all Mordecai’s orders to the Jews, and to the satraps, governors and nobles of the 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush. These orders were written in the script of each province and the language of each people and also to the Jews in their own script and language. Mordecai wrote in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king’s signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king. … Mordecai left the king’s presence wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen. And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration. For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor. In every province and in every city, wherever the edict of the king went, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them. ~ Esther 8:7-10,15-17 NIV
 
“Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. “So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” ~ Matthew 17:15-21 NKJV

Well-Nurtured Plants and Gracefully Carved Pillars

Jun 08

by Victoria Robinson

I love gardens and architecture, so as I ponder the words King David penned concerning his desires for his children, it paints a beautiful picture in my mind. He writes, “May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants. May our daughters be like graceful pillars, carved to beautify a palace.” I love how Matthew Henry so beautifully illuminates this passage.

It adds much to the comfort and happiness of parents in this world to see their children promising and likely to do well. First, It is pleasant to see our sons as plants grown up in their youth, as olive-plants, the planting of the Lord—to see them as plants, not as weeds, not as thorns,—to see them as plants growing great, not withered and blasted,—to see them of a healthful constitution, a quick capacity, a towardly disposition, and especially of a pious inclination, likely to bring forth fruit unto God in their day,—to see them in their youth, their growing time, increasing in every thing that is good, growing wiser and better, till they grow strong in spirit. Secondly, It is no less desirable to see our daughters as corner-stones, or corner-pillars, polished after the similitude of a palace, or temple. By daughters families are united and connected, to their mutual strength, as the parts of a building are by the corner-stones; and when they are graceful and beautiful both in body and mind they are then polished after the similitude of a nice and curious structure. When we see our daughters well-established and stayed with wisdom and discretion, as corner-stones are fastened in the building,—when we see them by faith united to Christ, as the chief corner-stone, adorned with the graces of God’s Spirit, which are the polishing of that which is naturally rough, and become women professing godliness,—when we see them purified and consecrated to God as living temples, we think ourselves happy in them.

Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible

Girlfriends, we need to always give thanks for the gift our heavenly Father has given us—our children. We must be diligent to pray that our sons will be well-nurtured plants and our daughters graceful pillars. We also recognize the truth that just like King David’s offspring, our children will make their own decisions as they mature and grow into adults. Even when they choose to travel down paths contrary to the Word of God, we must remain steadfast knowing our prayers align with His divine will.

Dearest girlfriends, let us faithfully pray for not only our children, but all those the Lord has placed around us.

May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants. May our daughters be like graceful pillars, carved to beautify a palace. ~ Psalm 144:12 NLT
 
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. ~ Psalm 127:3 NLT 
 
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. ~ 1 John 5:14-15 NIV

Lady Sings the Blues

May 31

by Victoria Robinson

Hannah was a lady who knew how to “sing the blues” because of her troubles. Sadness had overtaken her life to the point that she did not even desire food. What she did desire was unattainable to her. Being barren had taken a great toll on her heart.

As we follow the story of Hannah, we see that the Lord gave her a son named Samuel who grew up to be a godly man. He continued his mother’s legacy of prayer. When the Philistines battled against Israel, Samuel cried out to the Lord and the Lord thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines and gave the Israelites victory that day. When you cry out to the Lord in your distress the effects go far beyond Him answering you—you are creating a godly heritage to those in your life. Now that alone is worth “singing the blues” for!

Girlfriends, are you a lady who is “singing the blues”? Is something troubling your heart to the point of utter despair? Then take your burdens and sadness before the Lord and allow Him to relieve your sorrows as only He can. Then, just as Hannah did, you will be able to sing His praises instead of your blues.

Dearest girlfriends, let us “sing the blues” in our times of trouble so that we can sing His praises when He delivers us.

On the day Elkanah presented his sacrifice, he would give portions of the sacrifice to Peninnah and each of her children. But he gave Hannah a special portion because he loved her very much, even though the Lord had given her no children. But Peninnah made fun of Hannah because the Lord had closed her womb. Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle. Hannah would finally be reduced to tears and would not even eat. “What’s the matter, Hannah?” Elkanah would ask. “Why aren’t you eating? Why be so sad just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?” Once when they were at Shiloh, Hannah went over to the Tabernacle after supper to pray to the Lord. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance. Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. And she made this vow: “O Lord Almighty, if you will look down upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.” As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her. Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. “Must you come here drunk?” he demanded. “Throw away your wine!” “Oh no, sir!” she replied, “I’m not drunk! But I am very sad, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. Please don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.” “In that case,” Eli said, “cheer up! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.” “Oh, thank you, sir!” she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad. The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the Lord once more. Then they returned home to Ramah. When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the Lord remembered her request, and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.” ~ 1 Samuel 1:4-20 NLT

Then Hannah prayed: “My heart rejoices in the Lord! Oh, how the Lord has blessed me! Now I have an answer for my enemies, as I delight in your deliverance. No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. ~ 1 Samuel 2:1-2 NLT

And Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. Then Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him. Now as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the Lord thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and drove them back as far as below Beth Car. Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” ~ 1 Samuel 7:9-12 NKJV

Then at last his people believed his promises. Then they finally sang his praise. ~ Psalm 106:12 NLT

Wait … Before You Speak …

May 14

by Victoria Robinson

The strong leader and prophet Nehemiah, set a wonderful example of being slow to speak for us all to follow. After hearing the distressful news that his fellow Israelites were in trouble, he immediately prayed. Not so amazing since that is the usual action one would expect of a godly man. However, following this scenario is something quite interesting concerning prayer. When King Artaxerxes notices Nehemiah’s sadness and ask him what he wanted, Nehemiah does not just blurt out the overflow of pain in his heart. Instead, he pauses to pray before answering the king. We would do well to follow his example.

These two incidents are actually separated by three months. Nehemiah was a man with a strong conviction of the power of prayer and had prayed during this three-month period. One of his request was for God to grant him favor with King Artaxerxes. After praying for three months it would be easy to think he was “prayed up” and ready to speak up. Not this man who took prayer so seriously—he thought one more prayer was important enough to keep the king waiting.

Our Lord and Savior was an expert at not hurrying to blurt out the thoughts He held so tightly inside. When Pilate questioned Jesus where He was from, He did not immediately answer. When this was taking place, can’t you just imagine how uncomfortable the situation was as Jesus remained silent.

Girlfriends, we tend to look more at our horizontal relationships than our more important vertical relationship—our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It would seem that Nehemiah being the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, a very intimate relationship, would have just blurted out his needs to this powerful man. Instead he trusted more in his vertical relationship with his all-powerful God. A great example to remind us of the power of prayer.

Dearest girlfriends, let us always consider the importance of prayer before we speak.

The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.” ~ Nehemiah 2:4-5 NIV
 
When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” ~ John 19:8-11 NIV
 
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert … ~ Ephesians 6:18 NIV

What Do You Want?

Mar 07

by Victoria Robinson

Have you told your heavenly Father what you want? He is the only one who has the power to grant your request. It is futile to just talk about your desires. Tell the one who can make things happen. But be prepared—His answers are sometimes surprising. Imagine how the people who were with Jesus felt when they tried to quiet the blind man who called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”, only to see Jesus ask him what he wanted. The man replied, “Lord, I want to see.” Jesus went on to give him his sight. What a great story! On  the other hand there is the story of the disciples who requested to be seated next to Jesus in heaven. Jesus answer was a resounding no as He told them only the heavenly Father could grant such a lofty request. Their request was brought with a wrong motive. The apostle James tells us we do not have because we do not ask. He went further and said our motives need to be right when we ask.

Girlfriends, whether He tells you yes or no—have you told Him what you want? Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would openly tell our heavenly Father what we want once our motives are pure.

As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. ~  Luke 18:35-43 NIV
 
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.” When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” ~  Mark 10:35-45 NIV
 
… You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. ~ James 4:2-3 NIV