Archive for the ‘Spiritual Health’ Category

Simply Relinquish!

Aug 15

Relinquish 081514by Victoria Robinson

Relinquish? Who … me? You want me to give something up? Even something I have a right to? There is an irony to the concept of relinquishing what we want. It is the scriptural truth that the tighter we hold onto what we want—the more frustrating and difficult our life will be. When we simply relinquish everything to our heavenly father, that is when we gain everything. Our Lord and Savior told us, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

Our Lord and Savior knew all about relinquishing. Even to the point of giving up His very life! Make no mistake, even our Lord was dreading His agonizing fate on the cross. He even cried out these words in prayer, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.” This scene tells us that it is not wrong, for after all Jesus never sinned, to make a plea to our heavenly Father to not have to give something up. Nonetheless, we must be willing. Just as Abraham placed his son Isaac on the altar and was willing to relinquish his own child, we must be willing to give all to Him. In the case of Abraham’s sacrifice, our Lord did in turn provide a ram in a thicket as the sacrifice instead of Isaac.

And what about the sins that we harbour in our hearts. The ones that no one else knows about. Must we let go of those as well? King David knew the agony all too well of trying to hold on to secret sins. Only when his faithful and brave friend, Nathan, approached him did he relinquish what he knew was wrong. This in turn brought about discipline from our heavenly Father. But, hold on … the story does not end there. King David was now walking in freedom due to the beautiful condition of a repentive heart.

Girlfriends, is there something you are refusing to relinquish? If so, simply let it go. Perhaps it is something we would consider either good or bad, such as …

 Possessions
 Money
 Rights
 Position
 Fear
 Worry
 Hurt
 Bitterness
Anger
I love these words of wisdom from Oswald Chambers.
    No one is ever united with Jesus Christ until he is willing to relinquish not sin only, but his whole way of looking at things. To be born from above of the Spirit of God means that we must let go before we lay hold, and in the first stages it is the relinquishing of all pretence. What Our Lord wants us to present to Him is not goodness, nor honesty, nor endeavour, but real solid sin; that is all He can take from us. And what does He give in exchange for our sin? Real solid righteousness. But we must relinquish all pretence of being anything, all claim of being worthy of God’s consideration.
    Then the Spirit of God will show us what further there is to relinquish. There will have to be the relinquishing of my claim to my right to myself in every phase. Am I willing to relinquish my hold on all I possess, my hold on my affections, and on everything, and to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?
    There is always a sharp painful disillusionment to go through before we do relinquish. When a man really sees himself as the Lord sees him, it is not the abominable sins of the flesh that shock him, but the awful nature of the pride of his own heart against Jesus Christ. When he sees himself in the light of the Lord, the shame and the horror and the desperate conviction come home.
    If you are up against the question of relinquishing, go through the crisis, relinquish all, and God will make you fit for all that He requires of you.
Oswald Chambers
My Utmost for His Highest

Dearest girlfriends, I pray that we would simply relinquish our own desires and sins in order to attain a peaceful heart that comes from obedience.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. ~ Phillipians 2:3-8  NASB

He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.” ~ Matthew 26:42 NASB
Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. ~ Genesis 22:9-13 NASB
Nathan then said to David, … “Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon.” … Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die. ~ 2 Kings 12:7-9,13 NASB
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. ~ Mattghew 19:29 NASB
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. ~ Matthew 16:24-25 NASB

Life Could Be Better Without the “un”!

Jul 05

Life is Better Without the UN 070514by Victoria Robinson

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

 unproductive – productive

♥ ungodly – godly

 unloving – loving

unkindness – kindness

unknowledgeable  – knowledgeable

uncontrollable – controllable

 unforgiveness – forgiveness

 unhelpful – helpful

 unhappy – happy

 unfaithful – faithful

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

 goodness

 knowledge

 self-control

 perseverance

 godliness

 brotherly kindness

 love

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

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

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

Are You Surviving or Thriving?

Dec 12

Are You Surviving or Thriving 121212by Victoria Robinson

As our Lord and Savior was on His way to become the ultimate sacrifice for mankind, we find a man right in the middle of the intense action. In the twenty-second chapter of the book of Luke, as Jesus was being arrested, one of his closest friends was caught in a dilemma. As history was being changed forever would this man be more concerned about surviving or thriving? This man’s name was Peter, who was in the midst of terrifying circumstances. On this horrific yet glorious day, we see a man who chose survival for himself rather than thriving for the glory of God. Despite being warned by Jesus that the temptation to be more concerned with his own survival we see the picture of a man who was scared. So scared that he not only denied he knew Jesus, but he vehemently denied it three times, even swearing to it. When first questioned if he knew Jesus Peter said, “Woman, I do not know Him.” The second time he was accused of being a follower of Christ he said, “Man, I am not!” On the third occasion Peter  lashes out with these immortal words, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.”

Girlfriends, sometimes we find ourselves in dire straights and our fear can cause us to abandon the desire to thrive and become so obsessed with just surviving. Our thought process can start managing our survival by scheduling our days mentally. When we become survival minded our thoughts become consumed with just making it to the next item on our mental schedule. Instead of thriving for the glory of God, everything we do is wrapped up in our desire to survive. This is where our dear friend Peter found himself. He did not want to be entangled in the deadly mission his friend and mentor, Jesus, had so willingly became involved with. His fearful heart was now determining his actions and instead of bringing glory to God, he brought shame to himself.

But hold on for the end of the story of Peter! His life would not end in survival mode, but rather this cowardly man would get past surviving and go on to thriving in tremendous ways that would ultimately bring glory to God. In the book of Acts we see the incredible story of thousands of people coming to know Jesus Christ as their Savior. This once survival minded man had gotten past surviving the moment to looking to the importance of eternity. As we continue to read about Peter, we see that he went on to live a life of thriving spiritually.

Dearest girlfriends, I pray that when life calls us to merely survive, we would set our hearts on things above and not on earthly things, therefore living to thrive for His glory!

Having arrested Him, they led Him away and brought Him to the house of the high priest; but Peter was following at a distance. After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them.And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, “This man was with Him too.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”A little later, another saw him and said, “You are one of them too!” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, saying, “Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.”But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed.The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. ~ Luke 22:54-62 NASB

But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. … Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!”  So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. ~ Acts 2:14, 36-41 NASB

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. ~ Colossians 3:1-4 NASB

The Purity of Praise

Nov 16

by Victoria Robinson

The Word of God shows us that God inhabits the praises of His people. Since God is pure, then when we choose to praise Him we are focusing on purity.

The psalmist said, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Wow! If we would align our hearts with this same truth and praise our heavenly Father for how He chose to create us then the purity of praising Him would set us free. Free from thoughts like …

 I hate being short!

 I hate being tall!

 I hate my thin and stringy hair!

 I hate my thick and frizzy hair!

 I hate the color of my eyes!

 I hate my small feet!

 I hate my big feet!

 I hate my nose!

When we use the purity of praise we align with the truth. The truth is that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made by our heavenly Father. Therefore whatever height, hair, eyes, and feet we have were designed in perfection. Yet as women we can easily get focused on what we do not like about our bodies instead of understanding the freedom that protects us when we praise God for His wonderful creation.

If you are ready to focus on the purity of praise then Psalm 150 is a great place to start. This psalm is a doxology which is a declaration of praise to God or a brief hymn expressing His power and glory. Within this short Psalm the word praise is found thirteen times! Have fun praising the Lord girlfriends!

Psalm 150

Praise the LORD. 

Praise God in his sanctuary;

praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power;

praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,

praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with tambourine and dancing,

praise him with the strings and flute,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,

praise him with resounding cymbals. 

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. 

Praise the LORD.

Dearest girlfriends, let us focus on the purity of praising our heavenly Father rather than bemoaning the lies the enemy of our souls tells us.

But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel. ~ Psalm 22:3 NKJV 

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. ~ Psalm 139:13-16 NIV 

Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! ~ Psalm 147:1 NIV 

Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD. ~ Psalm 150:1-6 NIV

Mirror, Mirror … Am I the Godliest?

Aug 18

by Victoria Robinson 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. ~ 2 Timothy 2:15 NIV 

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

What Will Your Restoration Look Like?

Aug 15

by Victoria Robinson

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

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

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

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

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

Perhaps your restoration will turn out with you getting back everything just the way it was. In the book of Second Kings there was a Shunammite lady who not only had her land restored, but all the proceeds that had been made on it for seven years. In the book of Joel we see the Lord declaring restoration for Israel when He said, “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame.  ~ Joel 2:25-26 NKJV

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

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

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

The Fragility of a House of Cards

Aug 09

by Victoria Robinson 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He Wasn’t Making Biscuits!

Mar 25

by Victoria Robinson

Being a southern girl, I love to make the perfect biscuit. My favorite biscuit recipe yields a buttery biscuit that has a nice crispness on the outside and a flaky and fluffy inside. And … this is very important … a beautiful tall biscuit! You can click on this link to get my recipe. Flaky Buttermilk Biscuit Hearts One of my signature designs in the kitchen is cutting all sorts of foods into heart shapes and my biscuits are almost always cute hearts. Which brings me to the true point of this devotional. Focusing on hearts. Our spiritual hearts.

When we talk about baking, the subject of sifting flour will inevitably come up. Sometimes you need to sift flour by itself and other times it is necessary to sift with other dry ingredients such as sugar, leavening, etc. Jesus talked about sifting when he told Simon Peter he would be sifted as wheat. Just as in baking, sifting can produce a better product, the sifting of Simon Peter would produce a better person.

We also see two other examples where God referred to sifting in the scriptures. In both cases God was sifting a nation. In both of these example we see God declaring He was going to sift the nation of Israel.

Girlfriends, God wasn’t making biscuits when He was allowing Simon Peter to be sifted like wheat. He was concerned with something far more important—the making of a spiritually strong person. The same was true when God sifted the nation of Israel. Is God sifting you today? While the process of being sifted is painful—the results are far greater than a perfect flaky hot biscuit fresh out of the oven. The results are heavenly!

Dearest girlfriends, I pray that just as Simon Peter became a stronger follower of our Lord and Savior, we would also allow God’s sifting process to strengthen us.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” ~ Luke 22:31-32 NIV
 
Behold, the name of the Lord comes from afar, Burning with His anger, And His burden is heavy; His lips are full of indignation, And His tongue like a devouring fire. His breath is like an overflowing stream, Which reaches up to the neck, To sift the nations with the sieve of futility; And there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, Causing them to err. ~ Isaiah 30:27-28 NKJV
 
“For surely I will command, And will sift the house of Israel among all nations, As grain is sifted in a sieve; Yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground. ~ Amos 9:9 NKJV

Nurturing a Happy Heart

Jun 19

by Victoria Robinson

King Solomon told us, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Therefor it is important to nurture a happy heart. Yet can one have a happy heart when times are bad? A godly widow recently told me that on the day of her husband’s funeral, she had joy in her heart. She went on to say that she did not tell anyone because she feared how that would be perceived. Given the darkness of losing her husband, that concern was so understandable. However, as a christian we know how it is possible for her heart to have joy at such an unthinkable time. This precious widow understood God knew what was best in His providence.

I love what the following commentary says concerning Solomon’s words, “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.”

God has balanced prosperity with adversity according to His providence so that man may be totally dependent upon Him. This trust in divine providence is the only sufficient protection against the evil which inevitably comes. 
Believer’s Study Bible

So how can we nurture a happy heart even when times are bad? First, it is important to make sure you are purging sin from your heart. The apostle Peter said, “Do you want to be happy? Then stop saying cruel things and quit telling lies. Give up your evil ways and do right, as you find and follow the road that leads to peace.” A heart at peace is a happy heart.

Praise and thanksgiving will also nurture a happy heart. The book of Philippians tells us that a thankful heart will bring us peace that will control the way we think and feel.

Girlfriends, King Solomon also taught us that we should enjoy life. The Believers Study Bible so eloquently says, “Enjoyment is godly cheerfulness of the heart which directly flows from gratitude for all that God provides.”

Dearest girlfriends, let us seek to nurture a happy heart and enjoy the life God has given us.

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. ~ Proverbs 15:13 NIV

… for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. ~ Proverbs 15:15 NLT

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. … ~ Ecclesiastes 7:14 NIV 

Do you really love life? Do you want to be happy? Then stop saying cruel things and quit telling lies. Give up your evil ways and do right, as you find and follow the road that leads to peace. ~ 1 Peter 3:10-11 CEV
 
If you obey the Lord, you will be happy, but there is no future for the wicked. ~ Proverbs 10:28 CEV
 
Always be glad because of the Lord! I will say it again: Be glad. Always be gentle with others. The Lord will soon be here. Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel. ~ Philippians 4:4-7 CEV
 
So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people to do in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them. ~ Ecclesiastes 8:15 NLT
 
Be happy and shout to God who makes us strong! Shout praises to the God of Jacob. ~ Psalm 81:1 CEV

A Laughing Matter

May 30

by Victoria Robinson

In one of the all-time classic I Love Lucy episodes, while the Ricardos and the Mertzes are traveling in Italy, Lucy is determined to land a role in the Italian movie, “Bitter Grapes.” As the mayhem ensues Lucy finds herself pretending to be an experienced grape stomper in order to research and bring realism to her role. Who can forget the hilarious images of Lucy and her fellow vineyard worker tussling in the purple staining grapes. While I have seen this episode more times than I can count, it never fails to make me laugh. Interestingly enough, in Bible times when grapes were being stomped, there was oftentimes great laughter and enjoyment. So it should be in our lives–there should be times of great laughter which will bring health to our bodies.

King Solomon wisely told us there are times to laugh and that a cheerful heart is good medicine. How about taking his advice and inviting some girlfriends over for some fun activities? My best friend and I have wonderful memories of watching I Love Lucy together, cracking up to the point of tears streaming down our cheeks. I have become her Lucy and she is my Ethel. Our laughter has brought so much happiness to our lives.

While we recognize the truth of laughter not being able to mask a heavy heart, taking a break from troubling times can be very refreshing. Perhaps you know someone who could benefit immensely if they could just enjoy some laughter. You could make a real difference in their circumstances by providing some fun times. Go and allow your heavenly Father to use you as His instrument of healing.

Dearest girlfriends, I pray God would send us all some times of laughter to brighten our faces and hearts.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. ~ Proverbs 17:22 NLT
 
We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.” Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy! ~ Psalm 126:2-3 NLT
  
Laughter cannot mask a heavy heart. When the laughter ends, the grief remains. ~ Proverbs 14:13 TLB
 
… a time to laugh … ~ Ecclesiastes 3:4 NIV