Posts Tagged ‘circumstances’

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

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

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

♥ Seeking Restoration ♥

Jul 03

by Victoria Robinson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Less Than a Penny’s Worth of Trust

Mar 10

by Victoria Robinson

Do you trust your heavenly Father? There was a widow who had less than a penny’s worth of trust in Him, yet Jesus characterized her trust greater than all the other people. She had given two very small copper coins worth less than a penny to the temple treasury. The reason this oh so small amount mattered was that it was all the money she had. This act showed her total trust in her Lord.

When it comes to your life, have you given Him everything? Regardless of your circumstances have you trusted Him in all areas of your life? Not just your money, but your entire life. The reason we can trust Him is because He is trustworthy. What a glorious thought!

Less than a penny’s worth of trust can be a beautiful thing to behold. Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would examine our hearts to see if we truly trust our heavenly Father with all aspects of our lives.

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” ~ Mark 12:41-44 NIV
 
For the word of the Lord holds true, and everything he does is worthy of our trust. ~ Psalm 33:4 NLT
 
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. ~ Psalm 143:8 NIV

When In Doubt… Rely On the Black & White

Feb 17

by Victoria Robinson

There are times in all our lives when we cannot seem to understand God’s direction. To solve this mystery we must rely on the truth of His written Word. The answers are all there in black and white. Clearly He is using these circumstances in your life to bring you deeper into His Word. Embrace what He is doing and dig as deep as you possibly can into the black and white truths He has so graciously given us.

You may want to make a list in black and white by writing down your questions and His answers according to His Word. An excellent resource for searching His Word is: biblegateway.com. You can search using words or topics. This free website provides plenty of great material to assist your search for black and white answers to your perplexing questions.

Dearest girlfriends, I pray that when we cannot understand our heavenly Father’s direction, we will dig deeply into His Word and allow the black and white truths to navigate us to safety.

Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. ~ Psalm 119:133 NIV
 
May my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word. ~ Psalm 119:169 NIV
 
Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. ~ John 17:17 NIV
 
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. ~ Hebrews 4:12 NIV
 
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. ~ Psalm 119:105 NIV
 
Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. ~ Psalm 119:35 NIV

Embrace Today!

Jan 07

by Victoria Robinson

Girlfriends, fashion experts tell us to dress for the body we have today. Sometimes this is a painful thought as most of us do not feel perfect and would rather wait to embrace the body we imagine having someday, instead of the one we have today. When it comes to our life, we need to be able to embrace our today instead of waiting for the life we imagine having someday. Even with all the imperfections in our lives, our heavenly Father has given us this day to enjoy.

Do you accept your “lot in life” as King Solomon put it? If so, he said you will not need to look back with sorrow on your past. Are you frittering away all your todays waiting on a better life. If so, embrace today by giving your heavenly Father thanks for all He has done for you. Recognize that He is aware of all your circumstances and cares for you.

Dearest girlfriends, whatever today brings, I pray we would embrace the life our heavenly Father has given us.

… 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

… To enjoy your work and to accept your lot in life—that is indeed a gift from God. The person who does that will not need to look back with sorrow on his past, for God gives him joy. ~ Ecclesiastes 5:19-20 TLB
 
So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him? ~ Ecclesiastes 3:22 NIV
 
Be joyful always; … give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16,18 NIV
 
However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all. ~ Ecclesiastes 11:8 NIV