Posts Tagged ‘dear friend’

The Ugliness of Pain

Mar 03

by Victoria Robinson

Have you ever seen a woman who no matter how beautiful her clothes, hairdo, and makeup are is just plain ugly? This ugliness stems from the pain of her inner self. She has been hurt deeply and is scared, bitter, or is just writhing in pain. Such appears to be the case with a woman named Naomi we find in the book of Ruth. She was so bitter that she changed her name and said, “Don’t call me Naomi, … Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty.” It is interesting to note the name Naomi means “my delight” while Mara means “bitter”. This woman went from delightful to bitter. One can only imagine the ugliness of perhaps a haggard and drawn face this poor woman might have had. Just what brought Naomi to this point? She was left alone in an ungodly foreign country where her husband and sons died.

Contrast the story of Naomi with that of a precious friend of mine, Nancy, who recently became a widow. The beauty of Nancy shined through at her husband’s funeral. I watched as she raised her hands in praise to God for His goodness even at a difficult time. Her beauty continued to glorify God as she had planned the entire funeral to bring salvation to the lost who were in attendance. This is a memory of a beautiful woman I shall forever cherish.

Later in the book of Ruth we see Naomi as a beautiful woman who had gotten beyond her pain. Her friends said, “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”

Understandably in the midst of our darkest days, we may never look in the mirror and see a beautiful woman outwardly. Yet even during these trials, others can see our inner beauty if our hearts are in right standing with our Lord. Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would seek the inner beauty only godliness can give us.

So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?” “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” ~ Ruth 1:19-21 NIV
 
The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” ~ Ruth 4:14-15 NIV
 
See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. ~ Hebrews 12:15 NIV
 
But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. ~ James 3:14-16 NIV
 
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. … ~ 1 Peter 3:3-5 NIV

Let No One Take Me For A Fool

Feb 26

by Victoria Robinson

Now enjoying a mansion in heaven, the apostle Paul could very well ask, “Who’s the fool now?” All of his earthly suffering has surely led to great eternal rewards. In his lifetime, many thought he was foolish for enduring such hardships as: beatings, imprisonments, riots, hard work, sleepless nights, and hunger.

How about you girlfriends, are you living a “foolish” life? Is your heart more in tune with heaven or earth? A dear friend lost her mother last year to cancer. In her last days as we were visiting with her, she made a beautiful statement to my husband. She said, “Keep sending them to us.” She had her heart set on things above and was more concerned about the salvation of those here on earth than her own suffering. What a beautiful lady!

Paul himself said, “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

Dearest girlfriends, let us live our lives “foolishly” considering our true life and rewards are in heaven.

… Let no one take me for a fool. … I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. ~ 2 Corinthians 11:16,23-28 NIV

And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. ~ Acts 20:22-24 NIV

They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. ~ Acts 14:21-22 NIV

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 NIV

Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. ~ 2 Corinthians 6:4-10 NIV

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. … ~ 2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV

Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” ~ 1 Corinthian 3:18-19 NIV

The Strength of Gentleness

Feb 16

by Victoria Robinson

The strength of gentleness sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? Yet this truth found in the Word of God is amazing. As ladies, we should always be concerned about coming across to others as gentle and feminine. This concept is not so difficult for me. As a dear friend has said to me, “You put the “F” in feminine.” I must admit I am a girly girl. Always have been—always will be. This is just naturally who I am. Even so, being truly gentle requires more than just an outward behavior, it requires a heart of gentleness. Here is where I can get in trouble. All the gentleness displayed only outwardly, not from a pure heart has no strength. But gentleness that  is born of a godly heart has great strength. Such is the case of the admonition written by the apostle Peter. He said, “Be beautiful in your heart by being gentle and quiet.” In this same passage we find that by doing this we display the powerful truth of our heavenly Father that can even lead others to salvation.

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would utilize the strength of gentle godly behavior in our lives.

Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. ~ Proverbs 25:15 NIV
 
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. ~ Proverbs 15:1 NIV
 
If you are a wife, you must put your husband first. Even if he opposes our message, you will win him over by what you do. No one else will have to say anything to him, because he will see how you honor God and live a pure life. Don’t depend on things like fancy hairdos or gold jewelry or expensive clothes to make you look beautiful. Be beautiful in your heart by being gentle and quiet. This kind of beauty will last, and God considers it very special. ~ 1 Peter 3:1-4 CEV