Posts Tagged ‘apostle paul’

A High Price!

Sep 17

SIN 091714by Victoria Robinson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At the End of the Day

Oct 11

by Victoria Robinson

Some days just don’t start out well at all … some weeks just don’t start out well … some years just don’t start out well. In our lives it is important to focus on the “end of the day”. Whether that is literally a twenty-four hour day, less than a day, or many days. In the midst of tumultuous times we can lose hope. Yet we must always stand on the scriptural truth that what is important is how we finish—not how we start, or even how long success takes. In the suspenseful saga of Queen Esther we see a wonderful ending to the Jews “day”, “Before the end of the day, King Xerxes gave Esther everything that had belonged to Haman, the enemy of the Jews.”

This story had its beginnings years before the victorious ending. One could say the roots of this story began during the reign of King Saul. The villain in Queen Esther’s story, Haman, was a descendant of King Agag whom King Saul was told to annihilate. Instead of obeying God, Saul killed all the Amalekites, but allowed King Agag to live. Some theologians believe that this could be the reason Haman wanted to destroy the Jews. Saul’s obedience to God might have prevented what the Jews were facing in the days of Queen Esther. But alas, it is important to keep in mind that no matter what or who caused your “day” to start badly, the ending can turn out good as long as your trust is in God. Just like the Jews who fasted and prayed for God to deliver them from the hands of the evil Haman, so also you must seek God and place your trust in Him.

King Solomon gave us wise counsel when he said, “The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.”

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning. Since a true appraisal of any enterprise can only be made from the vantage point of its completion, the end is, the Preacher of wisdom reminds us, better than the beginning. However, the end is frequently arrived at very slowly, and the man who would find profit in this life must be a patient man.
 KJV Bible Commentary

Girlfriends, how is your “day” going to end? No one except our Lord can truly answer that, but are you trusting Him for the outcome no matter what you are facing? The apostle Paul faced many difficult days and yet he knew what counted was how well his “day” ended. In the book of First Timothy he stated, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would hold firmly onto the hand of our heavenly Father and wait patiently for the “end of the day”.

Before the end of the day, King Xerxes gave Esther everything that had belonged to Haman, the enemy of the Jews. Esther told the king that Mordecai was her cousin. So the king made Mordecai one of his highest officials and gave him the royal ring that Haman had worn. Then Esther put Mordecai in charge of Haman’s property. ~ Esther 8:1-2 CEV
 
When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged. Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes. … Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom whose customs are different from those of all other people and who do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them. If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will put ten thousand talents of silver into the royal treasury for the men who carry out this business.” So the king took his signet ring from his finger and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. “Keep the money,” the king said to Haman, “and do with the people as you please.” ~ Esther 3:5-6,8-11 NIV
 
Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’” … Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, to the east of Egypt. He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed. Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel: “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was troubled, and he cried out to the LORD all that night. ~ 1 Samuel 15:3,7-11 NIV
 
The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. ~ Ecclesiastes 7:8 NIV
 
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. ~ 2 Timothy 4:6-8 NIV

I Cannot … or Can I?

Sep 06

by Victoria Robinson

The answer to whether I cannot or can in a given situation depends on two things. First, what our heavenly Father allows and secondly, will we allow Him to use us His way. Job felt such frustration when he said, “He has blocked my way so I cannot pass; he has shrouded my paths in darkness.” Poor Job’s life had been hijacked by the enemy of his soul and yet the truth is this—the Lord is the One who had allowed the assault on this faithful servant causing him to feel penned in and not able to do anything. Or is that a true statement that Job could not do anything? Today as you read the story of Job and how it unfolded, you have the luxury, unlike Job, of seeing a victorious ending to his excruciatingly painful saga.

The truth is that Job did do something—something very important that affects us all these centuries later.  Even as his life was going from unbelievably bad to worse the important thing Job did was what he did not do. He did not sin! His faithfulness in a difficult situation has spoken loudly to countless believers including you and me.

The Apostle Paul had many “cannot” times during his ministry and yet he always served in the circumstances God placed him in. Whether he was in prison, on a ship about to wreck, or other reasons, Paul always ministered where he was. Prison guards were saved, a ship’s crew saw the hand of God rescue their lives, he discipled Christians from his prison cell and so much more!

Girlfriends, your usefulness to the kingdom of God is NEVER dependant on whether you cannot do something, but only are you willing to allow God to use you in your situation.

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would always remember how God CAN use us wherever He has placed us!

He has blocked my way so I cannot pass; he has shrouded my paths in darkness. ~ Job 19:8 NIV

He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. ~ Job 2:10 NIV

God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles. ~ Romans 1:9-13 NIV

Girlfriends, Is He Lying?

Jul 27

Girlfriends is He Lying 072711by Victoria Robinson

Girlfriends, if he’s talking—he’s lying! Our Lord and Savior made this fact clear when He told us, “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” The enemy of your soul does not have one shred of truth in him so it is impossible for him to tell the truth. Satan is not only a liar, he is actually quite chatty. The very first time we see him, he was chatting it up with Eve. He told her, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” This was in direct contradiction to what God did say. He had told Adam, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

I love the wisdom Matthew Henry imparts to us about this tragic series of events.

“O that our hearts were deeply affected with this record! For we are all nearly concerned in it; let it not be to us as a tale that is told.”
Matthew Henry

Before we condemn our sister Eve for falling for such an obvious lie, let us look at our own folly. Have you ever had the thought, “Just inhaling the luxurious scent of chocolate won’t have any calories.”? Then suddenly you find yourself in a daze with chocolate on your lips and fat on your hips! The lie was to believe that toying with your weakness would not hurt you. I am certainly not saying chocolate in itself is evil, but if it is not done in moderation, then it can be a sin.

The apostle paul showed great concern that the Christians in Corinth were susceptible to falling for lies when he said, “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

So what’s a girl to do? Take your thoughts captive and do a truth check utilizing the Word of God. Had Eve taken a moment to think on the very words spoken by God, she would have had clarity in the situation and avoided sinning.

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would be strengthened with the truth of God’s Word instead of believing the enemy’s lies.

… He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. ~ John 8:44 NIV
 
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” ~ Genesis 3:1-5 NIV
 
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” ~ Genesis 2:15-17 NIV
 
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:3 NIV
 
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie … ~ Romans 1:25 NIV
 
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV

An Upside to Your Downside

Jul 26

An Upside to Your Downside 072611by Victoria Robinson

Is it possible to find an upside to your downside? As hard as it can be to understand, the answer lies in a familiar passage that sometimes we love to hate. The apostle Paul said, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” In the midst of dealing with a downside in your life, it can actually hurt to hear those well-worn words. Still, the truth is the truth and there is an upside to what you are going through.

When the apostle Paul who wrote those words of encouragement was suffering through a downside, he focused on the upside. After being beaten and imprisoned we see him praising God. Suddenly the upside of his situation appears! The jailer who was imprisoning him is about to kill himself when Paul stops him. Then the jailer responds, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” The truly great upside to this story was that the jailer became filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family. And yet to come was that Paul and his companion Silas were released from jail.

Girlfriends, are you focusing on the upside of what the Lord is doing through your problems or are you wallowing in the misery brought about by your downside? The agony of your troubles can cloud your vision unless you stay focused on the unchanging truth of the Word of God. Joseph viewed the lengthy downside he experienced after his brothers sold him into slavery as an upside. He said, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” His focus was on the purposes the Lord had in mind and not the suffering of the downside he had suffered through.

Dearest girlfriends, when we are tempted to focus on the downside of our circumstances, let us trust that our heavenly Father has a wonderful upside He is going to bring about.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ~ Romans 8:28 NIV

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family. When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.” ~ Acts 16:25-36 NIV

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. ~ Genesis 50:20 NASB

Celebrate Freedom!

Jul 04

Celebrate Freedom 060411by Victoria Robinson

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

Paul then goes on to tell us, “For you have been called to live in freedom—not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature …” The apostle James admonishes us that freedom comes from obedience  when he says, “But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” The psalmist also tells us freedom requires obedience when he writes these wonderful words, “I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.”

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

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

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

H ♥ O ♥ P ♥ E

Jul 02

HOPE 070211by Victoria Robinson

Girlfriends, there is nothing sadder than having a heart filled with hopelessness. In order to have hope we must, “Hold Onto Promises Eternally”. This is how the patriarch Abraham had hope. In fact the book of Hebrews shows us he held onto promises he would only see in eternity, “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.”

Job, a godly man found himself in despair and said, “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope.” As his days progress we see the hand of the Lord bringing deliverance to Job. Just as this once hopeless man does indeed live to see better days, so can you and I.

Alexander Pope, the eighteenth century poet penned these wonderful words that resonate with God’s truth.

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
Alexander Pope

When we find ourselves dealing with a hopeless heart the remedy is to delve deeply into the promises our heavenly Father has given us and focus on His truths. One example of hope was given to us by the apostle Paul on the darkest subject we must deal with—death. He said, “I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died.” This promise gives us hope to hold onto in the midst of grief. Another wonderful promise was given to us by our Lord himself when he said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Girlfriends, is there hopelessness in your heart? If so, what is troubling you? Rest assured that whatever it is, the Word of God has promises to hold tightly onto. An excellent resource to search the Word of God is biblegateway.com. You can do a word search on any topic and find hope.

Dearest girlfriends, let us have hope as we hold onto our heavenly father’s promises eternally.

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.” And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. ~ Hebrews 6:11-15 NASB 

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. … ~ Hebrews 11:13 NIV

My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, And are spent without hope. ~ Job 7:6 NIV

And now, brothers and sisters, I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 NLT 

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. ~ Matthew 5:4 NIV 
 
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:12 NIV
 
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. ~ Romans 8:24-25 NIV
 
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. ~ Hebrews 10:23 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

♥ A Contented Heart ♥

Jun 12

by Victoria Robinson

Oh the pain of discontentment! The “Woe is me!” heart is filled with unhappiness. Let us examine two sets of people with very different outcomes. One with a “Woe is me!” heart and one with a “Praise Him” heart. The first focuses on us and our selfish needs while the latter focuses on Him.

The discontented heart is a highly contagious disease. The Egyptians who made the trip out of Egypt with the Israelites spread their discontentment with their fellow travelers. As we know, the trip became miserable and long due to the effects of this terrible disease. The discontented heart oftentimes begins with a lie. The Egyptians were complaining about the food. Were their needs being neglected by God? By no means. Every morning food was literally falling down from heaven. Granted, it might have become difficult to come up with new recipes for this new ingredient called manna, but their needs were being met.

On the other hand, we see the apostle Paul who was by no means living a dream life say, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” A contented heart will always look to Him and to the concerns of others. Paul poured out his life to his Lord and Savior and to those around him, including the very ones who imprisoned and mercilessly beat him. On one  such occasion we see Paul and his faithful friend, Silas, while chained in their prison cell, singing praises to God. The miraculous outcome was not only freedom, but more importantly salvation for the jailer and his family.

Girlfriends, if your heart is full of discontentment then start turning things around by finding something to be thankful for. Ask the Lord to open your eyes to His blessings. No matter what you are living through there is always goodness to be found. Dearest girlfriends, let us discard a “Woe is me!” heart and develop a “Praise Him!” heart.

Then the Egyptians who had come with them began to long for the good things of Egypt. This added to the discontent of the people of Israel and they wept, “Oh, for a few bites of meat! Oh, that we had some of the delicious fish we enjoyed so much in Egypt, and the wonderful cucumbers and melons, leeks, onions, and garlic! But now our strength is gone, and day after day we have to face this manna!” ~ Numbers 11:4-6 TLB
 
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. ~ 1 Timothy 6:6-9 NIV
 
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family. ~ Acts 16:25-34 NIV
 
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. ~ Philippians 4:11-13 NIV