Posts Tagged ‘godliness’

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

An Escape Passageway

Jun 14

by Victoria Robinson

When I was a little girl I was fascinated with movies that showed old mansions with secret passageways. Even the classic board game, Clue, has a secret passageway. Wouldn’t it be cool in your life if you had an escape passage? When sin is chasing you God has given you a way of escape. Through His very great and precious promises we are able to escape the corruption of this world.

This truth emphasizes the need to know and memorize the Word. Jesus did not have time to search His iPhone Bible for a snappy comeback when He was being tempted to sin. His escape passage was embedded in His heart. Girlfriends, we must be just as ready with the Word as our Lord is. We should be able to deftly handle the word of truth when sin is chasing us.

Dearest girlfriends, lets us run to the escape passageway of the Word when sin is chasing us.

A list of some common sins are listed below along with scripture you can use for an escape passage.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV
 
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. ~ 2 Peter 1:3-4 NIV 
 
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. ~ 2 Timothy 2:15 NIV 
  • Adultery — Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. ~ Hebrews 13:4 NIV
  • Anger — A fool gives full vent to anger, but a wise person quietly holds it back. ~ Proverbs 29:11 NLT
  • Bitterness — 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
  • Drunkenness — Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise. ~ Proverbs 20:1 NIV
  • Envy — A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. ~ Proverbs 14:30 NIV
  • Fear — Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” ~ Isaiah 53:3-4 NIV 
  • Gluttony — Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags. ~ Proverbs 23:20-21 NIV
  • Gossip — A gossip goes around revealing secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence. ~ Proverbs 11:13 NLT
  • Greed — Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” ~ Luke 12:15 NIV 
  • Laziness — Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich. ~ Proverbs 10:4 NLT
  • Lust — God wants you to be holy, so you should keep clear of all sexual sin. Then each of you will control your body and live in holiness and honor—not in lustful passion as the pagans do, in their ignorance of God and his ways. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 NLT
  • Selfishness — Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. ~ Psalm 119:36 NIV
  • Unforgiveness — Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. ~ Ephesians 4:32 NIV
  • Worry — So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ~ Matthew 6:31-33 NIV

An Ugly Wardrobe

Jun 13

by Victoria Robinson

Two important things my sweet husband has learned to say are, “No, that dress does not make you look fat.”, and “Cute shoes!” Girlfriends, doesn’t it always give you a wonderful feeling to have someone make flattering comments about your wardrobe? It is even more important for our heavenly Father to assure us we are dressed beautifully. Now that is a priceless feeling!

Dressing appropriately involves two aspects. Never wearing something ugly and alway wearing beautiful attire. The psalmist describes two ugly pieces of a wardrobe. A prideful necklace and violent clothes. Wow! That paints an awful picture. Joshua was told to change from his filthy clothes into rich garments. Now that paints a beautiful picture! What was required of Joshua to change his wardrobe was to walk in the ways of the Lord.

Girlfriends, an ugly wardrobe comes out of our “sin closet”. Rich garments come out of our “godly closet”. Which closet are you dressing from today?

Dearest girlfriends, let us throw away the ugly wardrobe of sin and dress ourselves in the beauty of godliness.

Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. ~ Psalm 73:4 NIV
 
Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.” Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by. The angel of the LORD gave this charge to Joshua: “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here. ~ Zechariah 3:3-4 NIV

♥ 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

What Misery is Mine!

Jun 09

by Victoria Robinson

Girlfriends, when misery beckons, it is easy to feel like uttering the heart wrenching words of the prophet Micah who said, “What misery is mine!” In his tremendous despair, Job poetically spoke these words, “If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas …”

If “misery loves company”, and you are experiencing some misery, then you are certainly in the company of two fine men—Micah and Job. Micah was a prophet. Job was a godly man who feared God and through his gut wrenching ordeals did not sin. A character trait we should desire to display when we are in misery.

All that aside, what is the answer to dealing with misery? Certainly not an easy question to answer. One thing we do know from looking at the Word of God is that even in misery, sin is never the answer. Also, focusing on ourselves always compounds the misery. One remedy is to look around and see who we can pray for in their time of trouble.

Above all—trusting our heavenly Father is in control and will only allow what is in our best interest. My precious friend Ann, who is a professional caterer and baker, frequently says, “God has everything under control.” An essential character quality for someone who has chosen a profession filled with urgent deadlines and unexpected emergencies. Oh my sweet Ann—how her godliness has taught me so much.

We cannot overlook the sad truth that our misery might be caused by sin and therefore relief will only come upon repentance. The great news is, outside of the rejection of Christ and His salvation, there is no sin so atrocious that can separate us from our compassionate heavenly Father. His love for us is unconditional and if only we will acknowledge our wrongdoing, we are at once forgiven. Micah so wonderfully stated, “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”

Dearest girlfriends, I pray that in times of misery we would find our hope and allow our actions to be guided by our Savior’s life changing Word.

What misery is mine! I am like one who gathers summer fruit at the gleaning of the vineyard; there is no cluster of grapes to eat, none of the early figs that I crave. ~ Micah 7:1 NIV
 
If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas— no wonder my words have been impetuous. ~ Job 6:2-3 NIV
 
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. ~ Job 1:22 NIV
 
Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression? ~ Psalm 44:24 NIV
 
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. ~ Micah 7:18-19 NIV
 
And when they heard that the LORD was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped. ~ Exodus 4:31 NIV

Well-Nurtured Plants and Gracefully Carved Pillars

Jun 08

by Victoria Robinson

I love gardens and architecture, so as I ponder the words King David penned concerning his desires for his children, it paints a beautiful picture in my mind. He writes, “May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants. May our daughters be like graceful pillars, carved to beautify a palace.” I love how Matthew Henry so beautifully illuminates this passage.

It adds much to the comfort and happiness of parents in this world to see their children promising and likely to do well. First, It is pleasant to see our sons as plants grown up in their youth, as olive-plants, the planting of the Lord—to see them as plants, not as weeds, not as thorns,—to see them as plants growing great, not withered and blasted,—to see them of a healthful constitution, a quick capacity, a towardly disposition, and especially of a pious inclination, likely to bring forth fruit unto God in their day,—to see them in their youth, their growing time, increasing in every thing that is good, growing wiser and better, till they grow strong in spirit. Secondly, It is no less desirable to see our daughters as corner-stones, or corner-pillars, polished after the similitude of a palace, or temple. By daughters families are united and connected, to their mutual strength, as the parts of a building are by the corner-stones; and when they are graceful and beautiful both in body and mind they are then polished after the similitude of a nice and curious structure. When we see our daughters well-established and stayed with wisdom and discretion, as corner-stones are fastened in the building,—when we see them by faith united to Christ, as the chief corner-stone, adorned with the graces of God’s Spirit, which are the polishing of that which is naturally rough, and become women professing godliness,—when we see them purified and consecrated to God as living temples, we think ourselves happy in them.

Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible

Girlfriends, we need to always give thanks for the gift our heavenly Father has given us—our children. We must be diligent to pray that our sons will be well-nurtured plants and our daughters graceful pillars. We also recognize the truth that just like King David’s offspring, our children will make their own decisions as they mature and grow into adults. Even when they choose to travel down paths contrary to the Word of God, we must remain steadfast knowing our prayers align with His divine will.

Dearest girlfriends, let us faithfully pray for not only our children, but all those the Lord has placed around us.

May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants. May our daughters be like graceful pillars, carved to beautify a palace. ~ Psalm 144:12 NLT
 
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. ~ Psalm 127:3 NLT 
 
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. ~ 1 John 5:14-15 NIV

Driven to Distraction

Jun 01

by Victoria Robinson

Girlfriends, when you are driven to distraction, you need to ask, “Who is driving you?” Most likely, you will find it is the enemy of your soul—Lucifer. He is always ready to distract you with activities that have the appearance of being godly. Such is the scenario when two sisters invite Jesus into their home. Martha is distracted with all the preparations to the point of whining to Jesus about her sister Mary’s behavior. Yet the Lord tells Martha how wrong her focus is. His response shows her the godliness of Mary who is sitting at His feet hanging onto every word He spoke.

Gracious hospitality is a scriptural attribute a godly lady should practice. But, oh my, telling your guest how much work they have put upon you by coming into your home does not sound gracious does it? Our frazzled Martha would have been smarter to order some takeout and pay attention to her honored guest. (I know… there was not a Domino’s Pizza in the neighborhood!) The real point is, the enemy will use activities that have a godly appearance to distract us from focusing on our heavenly Father.

Dearest girlfriends, let us examine our hearts for any distractions that would keep us too busy to sit at our Lord and Savior’s feet.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” ~ Luke 10:38-42 NIV
 
But Jesus told him, “Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” ~ Luke 9:62 TLB

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

Living an Undeserved Life

Jan 30

by Victoria Robinson

An undeserved life cuts both ways. On the one hand sometimes we get what we do not deserve, such as God’s generous mercy. All of us who have received the forgiveness of our sins through Jesus Christ have received the ultimate undeserved mercy there is. Though sometimes we get what we do not deserve as in the case of Joseph who was sold into slavery and then imprisoned. The mercy is easy to accept while undeserved hardship is not.

Though it is sad to say, no life is entirely free of undeserved hardships. What is most important is how we handle these situations. Girlfriends,  I wish I could say these hardships are never ordained by our heavenly Father, but that is not the truth. Our unjust sufferings are just one way our heavenly Father helps us to follow in His Son’s steps. Jesus suffered unjustly so that you and I could spend eternity in a place called heaven. That, sweet girlfriends, is how we should look at undeserved hardships. In other words, like Jesus, we should focus not on the pain, but on the beauty of our heavenly Father’s greater plan and the comfort our suffering will bring others. As in the case of Joseph, his entire family was rescued from starvation. Yes, I know, even his wicked brothers who meant to harm him. Yet in his godliness Joseph told his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Dearest girlfriends, as difficult as it is let us embrace the undeserved life we are living, both in the good times and bad.

… For it pleased God in his kindness to choose me and call me, even before I was born! What undeserved mercy! ~ Galatians 1:15 NLT
 
For I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon. ~ Genesis 40:15 NIV
 
And so we keep on praying for you, that our God will make you worthy of the life to which he called you. And we pray that God, by his power, will fulfill all your good intentions and faithful deeds. Then everyone will give honor to the name of our Lord Jesus because of you, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the undeserved favor of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ. ~ 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 NLT
 
And if they are saved by God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s wonderful kindness would not be what it really is—free and undeserved. ~ Romans 11:6 NLT
 
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. ~ Psalm 103:8-10 NIV
 
For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:9-10 NIV
  
For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. ~ 1 Peter 2:19-23 NIV
 
His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. 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. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. ~ Genesis 50:18-21 NIV
  • Afterthoughts …

If you have not received the free gift of eternal life, please click here:  Heaven

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. ~ Hebrews 2:9 NIV