Posts Tagged ‘girlfriends’

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

Is Your Destination Restoration?

Aug 14

by Victoria Robinson 

Girlfriends, is restoration your destination on this road called life? In the book of Second Kings there is a lady who experienced two major restorations in her life. This story unfolds when the Lord brought the prophet Elisha into her life. This gracious, hospitable lady, approached Elisha and persuaded him to come to her house so she could feed him. She soon came to see his need of a place to stay, so she asked her husband if they could build and furnish a room for him to stay in. The Lord blessed her kindness, and one day Elisha told her she was going to have the son she always wanted. Elisha’s words came true, but tragically her son became ill and died in her arms. This brave lady immediately set out on a journey with a destination of restoration.

Oh what a journey for restoration this would be! When her husband asked her why she was going to meet Elisha she said, “It is well.” That certainly would not have been my response! She saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, “Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.”

Restoration for her did not come immediately. When she approached Elisha with her need, he said to his servant, Gehazi, “Get yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the child.” This course of action did not satisfy this grieving mother’s need to see her son brought back to life. She emphatically told Elisha, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So he arose and followed her. She was a wise lady because as it turned out when Gehazi did what Elisha told him, the boy did not come back to life. It was then that Elisha went in with the boy and prayed to the Lord. He then went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.

Now that is a wonderful ending to her “destination restoration”! However, this lady would once again find herself in need of restoration. Some time later, Elisha instructed her to leave her home and take her family to go stay wherever she could because a famine was coming. Everything worked well except that after seven years when she returned she did not own her home. So she went to the king to make an appeal for the return of her property. As only our Lord could orchestrate, Gehazi was with the king telling him the story of how Elisha had brought a woman’s son back to life. Then 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.”

Dearest girlfriends, I pray that we would seek and allow the restoration only our heavenly Father can give us to bring healing to our lives.

The ultimate restoration we can experience is the eternal restoring of our souls. If you have not personally experienced the restoration of knowing Jesus Christ, you can click on this link and find out how. Heaven

Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food. And she said to her husband, “Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. “Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.” And it happened one day that he came there, and he turned in to the upper room and lay down there. Then he said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite woman.” When he had called her, she stood before him. And he said to him, “Say now to her, ‘Look, you have been concerned for us with all this care. What can I do for you? Do you want me to speak on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?’ ” She answered, “I dwell among my own people.” So he said, “What then is to be done for her?” And Gehazi answered, “Actually, she has no son, and her husband is old.” So he said, “Call her.” When he had called her, she stood in the doorway. Then he said, “About this time next year you shall embrace a son.” And she said, “No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!” But the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her. And the child grew. Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers. And he said to his father, “My head, my head!” So he said to a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out. Then she called to her husband, and said, “Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back.” So he said, “Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.” And she said, “It is well.”Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, “Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.” And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel. So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, “Look, the Shunammite woman!. “Please run now to meet her, and say to her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’ ” And she answered, “It is well.” Now when she came to the man of God at the hill, she caught him by the feet, but Gehazi came near to push her away. But the man of God said, “Let her alone; for her soul is in deep distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me, and has not told me.” So she said, “Did I ask a son of my lord? Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me’?” Then he said to Gehazi, “Get yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the child.” And the mother of the child said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So he arose and followed her. Now Gehazi went on ahead of them, and laid the staff on the face of the child; but there was neither voice nor hearing. Therefore he went back to meet him, and told him, saying, “The child has not awakened.” When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord. And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. And he called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite woman.” So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, “Pick up your son.” So she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; then she picked up her son and went out. ~ 2 Kings 4:8-37 NKJV

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

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

I Wanna Say I’m Sorry

Jun 28

by Victoria Robinson

The words, “I wanna say I’m sorry.” hold a special place in my heart. I have a precious young lady God has placed in my life and though she is now all “grown up” at six years old, when she was younger and would find herself stuck in the corner of the hallway of her home in a timeout, she would utter those sweet words. At times though, it would take some time facing the wall with no toys to play with for her heart to decide to line up with God’s heart. However short or long she waited, she would inevitably have a big smile on her face as she embraced the freedom a right heart brings.

When my heart is not right with God, I am stuck in that same prison my little friend found herself in. With a frown on my face, misery in my heart, and an unwillingness to say to God, “I wanna say I’m sorry.” my life just does not improve.

In the book of Numbers we see an example of a man named Balaam who suffered a crushed foot because of his refusal to have a right heart. Balaam had been summoned by the Moabite king Balak to curse the Israelites before they entered Canaan. Because of a greedy heart, he agreed to commit this evil act. God was clearly not pleased with him and even used a donkey to not only crush his foot, but to literally speak to him. Oh, if only Balaam would have said to God that he was sorry before his foot was maimed!

Along with saying you’re sorry, it is also essential to follow God’s plan. If you are truly sorry then obedience will follow. Just as my little friend would find herself right back in the corner if her behavior did not change, we will find ourselves back in trouble. In the book of Deuteronomy we see a perfect of example of this. The Israelites had chosen not to trust God and go up and take the land He promised them. Upon hearing Moses rebuke of their evil behavior they promptly decided to say they were sorry. However, as soon as they repented, they did not follow God’s advice. They told Moses they would now go take the land despite Moses warning them they would be killed. The Amorites who lived in those hills came out against them and chased them like a swarm of bees and beat them down from Seir all the way to Hormah. So, if you have told God you’re sorry, do not try to solve your problems, but allow Him to show you His plan.

Dearest girlfriends, do you need to stop right now and say to God, “I wanna say I’m sorry.”? If so, this is a perfect time to release yourself from an uncomfortable spiritual prison and walk in the freedom  that only He can give.

… yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and … Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. ~ 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 NIV 

Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure. ~ Ecclesiastes 7:3-4 NIV

Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road. Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again. Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”  The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?” “No,” he said. Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. The angel of the LORD asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.” Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back.”  ~ Numbers 22:21-34 NIV 

Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go. When the LORD heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore: “Not a man of this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your forefathers, except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly.” … Then you replied, “We have sinned against the LORD. We will go up and fight, as the LORD our God commanded us.” So every one of you put on his weapons, thinking it easy to go up into the hill country. But the LORD said to me, “Tell them, ‘Do not go up and fight, because I will not be with you. You will be defeated by your enemies.’” So I told you, but you would not listen. You rebelled against the LORD’s command and in your arrogance you marched up into the hill country. The Amorites who lived in those hills came out against you; they chased you like a swarm of bees and beat you down from Seir all the way to Hormah.  ~ Deuteronomy 1:29-36,41-43 NIV 

… I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. ~ Acts 26:20 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

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

A Polite Conversation With Him

Jan 07

A Polite Conversation With Him 010712 2by Victoria Robinson

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

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

Marion Harland, The Secret of a Happy Home 1896

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Day the Laughter Died

Jan 05

by Victoria Robinson

Some would say that April 26, 1989 is the day the laughter died. That is the day that the greatest comedienne of all time died. Lucille Ball who spent her life bringing laughter to millions was silenced. My dearest friend Cyndee and I have spent numerous hours laughing while watching I Love Lucy. Who could resist laughing as Lucy and Ethel frantically gobble handfuls of chocolate candy to hide their failure on their new job venture. What about that hilarious expression on Lucy’s face when her boss says, “Speed it up a little!”? But alas, our lives are not always filled with laughter. Life has a way of turning laughter into mourning.

The Bible gives us many examples of times the laughter died. One such was when Sarah had given birth to Isaac. On this joyous day she said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Interestingly the name Isaac is Yitschaq in Hebrew which means “he laughs”. Yet, there would come a day when Sarah would find herself not laughing.  A great feast was held when Isaac was weaned. The truth is Sarah’s distress on this particular day was the result of sin. Sarah had refused to wait on the promise of God to have a child and took matters into her own hands. Subsequently Hagar gave birth to Abraham’s first son, Ishmael. At the feast, Sarah observed Ishmael mocking her son Isaac. Like any mother, this upset her.

Girlfriends, has your laughter died? There are many reasons we  find ourselves not laughing. One is quite simply sin. If this is why your laughter has ceased, then immediate repentance will bring joy to your heart and times of laughter to return.

 Another reason is that our heavenly Father allows difficulties to come into our life in order for His greater purposes to be accomplished. Such is the case of the many hardships Joseph had to endure in the book of Genesis. If this is the reason you have no laughter, then accepting God’s greater plan for your life will bring you joy. Last year in the short span of a week I had three friends lose their husbands. All these ladies have accepted Jesus Christ into their lives and have the comfort only He can provide. However, understandably this was a period in their lives with very little laughter.

The enemy of your soul also wants to steal your laughter. Sometimes he will even convince you of a lie. For instance, “God is not going to bring you through a difficult time.” The only way to prevent Satan from absconding with your laughter is shielding yourself with the Word. The book of Ephesians tells us to take up the shield of faith, with which we can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. The word faith in the original Greek is pistis which means conviction of the truth. The way to have conviction of the truth is to immerse yourself in the Word of God.

Laughter is an important gift our heavenly Father has given us. The Word of God tells us laughter can even bring healing to our bodies.
 
While we must recognize the truth that King Solomon told us so long ago—there is a time to weep and a time to laugh, let us examine our hearts to see if and why the laughter has died. If repentance is needed then, let us have a change of heart and watch the laughter return. If we are walking through divinely appointed hardships, let us rejoice in the fact that our heavenly Father knows what is best for us. If we are believing lies Satan is telling us, let us put on the shield of conviction of the truth of the Word of God.
 

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would allow the laughter to return to our hearts and enjoy the life God has chosen for us.

Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.” ~ Genesis 21:5-10 NIV
 
But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. ~ Genesis 50:19-20 NIV
  
So give yourselves humbly to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. And when you draw close to God, God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and let your hearts be filled with God alone to make them pure and true to him. Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done. Let there be sorrow and sincere grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Then when you realize your worthlessness before the Lord, he will lift you up, encourage and help you. ~ James 7:7-10 TLB
 
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. ~ Ephesians 6:16 NIV
 
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. ~ Proverbs 17:22 NIV
  

a time to weep and a time to laugh … ~ Ecclesiastes 3:4 NIV
 
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. ~ Proverbs 31:25 NIV
 
… Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. ~ Luke 6:21 NIV

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

His Timing Is Everything

Aug 24

by Victoria Robinson

Girlfriends, how many times have you thought, “If only His timing was my timing!” Tick tock, tick tock, oh those hands on the clock! They seem to move so painfully slow when we are anxiously waiting for Him to move in our lives. Yet we must recognize the scriptural truth that His timing is always correct, even when we do not like it! This truth is penned in the prophetical book of Isaiah, “I, the Lord, will bring it all to pass at the right time.”

Let’s consider some people who refused to accept His timing and the consequences that followed.

  • Sarah refused to wait for the Lord to give her a child and heartache followed …

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. … But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.” ~ Genesis 16:1-4, 20:9-10 NIV

  • The Israelites who waited too long and then went ahead into the Promised Land despite warnings …

The LORD said to Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.” … But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. … “We have sinned,” they said. “We will go up to the place the LORD promised.” But Moses said, “Why are you disobeying the LORD’s command? This will not succeed! Do not go up, because the LORD is not with you. You will be defeated by your enemies, for the Amalekites and Canaanites will face you there. Because you have turned away from the LORD, he will not be with you and you will fall by the sword.” Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the high hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the LORD’s covenant moved from the camp. Then the Amalekites and Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah. ~ Numbers 13:1-2, 31-32, 14:40-45 NIV

  • The centurion who was transporting his prisoner, the Apostle Paul, refused to wait to set sail and lost the ship and all cargo …

Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Fast. So Paul warned them, “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. … We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved. After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. ~ Acts 27:9-12, 27:18-21 NIV

Girlfriends, His timing is everything and when we either wait too long to act on His commands or run ahead without Him—dissaster is sure to follow. The psalmist so wonderfully told the Lord, “But I pray to you, Lord. So when the time is right, answer me and help me with your wonderful love.” I see tremendous confidence in this prayer. It was the cry of a King who was in the midst of severe trials, yet he knew the Lord’s timing was everything!

Dearest girlfriends, let us always seek to understand His timing and move ahead or wait according to His perfect will.

… I, the Lord, will bring it all to pass at the right time. ~ Isaiah 60:22 NLT

But I pray to you, Lord. So when the time is right, answer me and help me with your wonderful love. ~ Psalm 69:13 CEV

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