Posts Tagged ‘heaven’

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

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

She’s Just Like Her Father!

Jul 20

She's Just Like Her Father 072011by Victoria Robinson

Have you ever heard the statement, “She’s just like her father!” That can either be a compliment or a disparaging remark depending on the character of her father. Girlfriends, are you just like your father? More importantly, are you just like your heavenly Father? One of the endearing traits of our heavenly Father is his kindness. He is well-known for it to the point of sacrificing His own Son so that we might have the forgiveness of our sins and thus spend eternity in Heaven.

A great story about kindness is found in the book of Second Chronicles. In the town of Shunem lived a woman who showered a man of God named Elisha with hospitality. This kindness continued to the point of her building a room onto her house for Elisha to stay at when he came to town. Because of her kindness Elisha wanted to do something nice for her. She told him no and that she was perfectly content. However, Elisha persisted and asked someone else what he could do for her. His friend told him her husband was old and that she did not have a son. Elisha summoned her to come back and told her “Next year at about this time you shall have a son!”

When you are being kind you are being just like your Father and you never know what He has in store for you. Your motive should never be a material reward, but sometimes as in the case of this Shunemite woman—wonderful things will happen! Yet, the most important reason to be kind is our heavenly Father tells us to. In fact, the Word of God goes so far as to warn us, “Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness.”

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would be known as ladies of kindness just like our heavenly Father!

… Tell her that we appreciate her kindness to us. … ~ 2 Kings 4:13 TLB
 
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love and his kindness go on forever. ~ 1 Chronicles 16:34 TLB
 
Now all praise to God for his wonderful kindness to us and his favor that he has poured out upon us because we belong to his dearly loved Son. So overflowing is his kindness toward us that he took away all our sins through the blood of his Son, by whom we are saved; and he has showered down upon us the richness of his grace—for how well he understands us and knows what is best for us at all times. ~ Ephesians 1:6-8 TLB
 
One day Elisha went to Shunem. A prominent woman of the city invited him in to eat, and afterwards, whenever he passed that way, he stopped for dinner. She said to her husband, “I’m sure this man who stops in from time to time is a holy prophet. Let’s make a little room for him on the roof; we can put in a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp, and he will have a place to stay whenever he comes by.” Once when he was resting in the room he said to his servant Gehazi, “Tell the woman I want to speak to her.” When she came, he said to Gehazi, “Tell her that we appreciate her kindness to us. Now ask her what we can do for her. Does she want me to put in a good word for her to the king or to the general of the army?” “No,” she replied, “I am perfectly content.” “What can we do for her?” he asked Gehazi afterwards. He suggested, “She doesn’t have a son, and her husband is an old man.” “Call her back again,” Elisha told him. When she returned, he talked to her as she stood in the doorway. “Next year at about this time you shall have a son!” “O man of God,” she exclaimed, “don’t lie to me like that!” But it was true; the woman soon conceived and had a baby boy the following year, just as Elisha had predicted. ~ 2 Kings 4:8-17 TLB
 
Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. ~ Romans 11:22 NIV

Just Mention My Name

Jun 16

by Victoria Robinson

Who of us does not want to know someone’s name we can mention and all of a sudden wonderful things start happening? A great job, a table at a fine restaurant, better seating, etc. The common phrase, “Just mention my name.”, takes on a whole new meaning when looked at in the light of the Word of God. It is in the name of Jesus that wonderful things can happen. Jesus himself told us to mention His name when we pray.

It is because of the name of Jesus we can have confidence when bringing request to our heavenly Father. The apostle Luke tells a great story of healing, “It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.”

Mentioning His name also involves trust. The psalmist said, “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Girlfriends, that is a powerful statement. Because we have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ our prayers are transformed from “Hope He hears me.” to “I know He hears me!”

Dearest girlfriends, let us pray with total trust and confidence and expect great things to happen—just mention His name!

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. ~ John 14:13-14 NIV
 
By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see. ~ Acts 3:16 NIV
 
It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is ”‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” ~ Acts 4:10-12 NIV
 
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name. ~ Luke 10:17 NIV
 
Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. ~ Psalm 20:6-8 NIV
 
Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. ~ Psalm 9:10 NIV

Heavenly Control

Mar 16

by Victoria Robinson

God is my copilot. Really girlfriends, do we really want God in the passenger seat? I know when my life is soaring through the skies, (Which aren’t always so friendly!) I want God in the pilot’s seat! So why is it I insist on being the one with the controls in my hands? Pure foolishness! My attitude reminds me of Satan when he said, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” Hmmm … we can certainly see how well that turned out can’t we?

Jesus made it abundantly clear that EVERYTHING that happens to us has already been approved by our heavenly father. This can be both comforting and yet discomforting all at the same time. In our foolish sin nature we wish to have full control of what takes place in our lives not choosing to trust our creator’s wisdom. Job spoke wisely about the creator when he said, “Whatever he wants to do, he does. So he will do for me all he has planned. He controls my destiny.”

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would turn over the controls of our lives to the only One who can land us safely.

Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. … ~ Luke 22:31-32 NIV
 
… I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. ~ Isaiah 41:13-14 NIV
 
Nevertheless, his mind concerning me remains unchanged, and who can turn him from his purposes? Whatever he wants to do, he does. So he will do for me all he has planned. He controls my destiny. ~ Job 23:1-14 NLT

What Do You Want?

Mar 07

by Victoria Robinson

Have you told your heavenly Father what you want? He is the only one who has the power to grant your request. It is futile to just talk about your desires. Tell the one who can make things happen. But be prepared—His answers are sometimes surprising. Imagine how the people who were with Jesus felt when they tried to quiet the blind man who called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”, only to see Jesus ask him what he wanted. The man replied, “Lord, I want to see.” Jesus went on to give him his sight. What a great story! On  the other hand there is the story of the disciples who requested to be seated next to Jesus in heaven. Jesus answer was a resounding no as He told them only the heavenly Father could grant such a lofty request. Their request was brought with a wrong motive. The apostle James tells us we do not have because we do not ask. He went further and said our motives need to be right when we ask.

Girlfriends, whether He tells you yes or no—have you told Him what you want? Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would openly tell our heavenly Father what we want once our motives are pure.

As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. ~  Luke 18:35-43 NIV
 
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.” When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” ~  Mark 10:35-45 NIV
 
… You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. ~ James 4:2-3 NIV

Never Say Never

Feb 21

by Victoria Robinson

The infamous story of a man named Peter who said he would never deny Jesus is a reminder for us to be careful about our words. As Jesus was preparing His friends to understand the cross, the resurrection and even their own hearts, he tells Peter, “This very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” To which Peter utters his now famous words, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” After Jesus was led away to be crucified  Peter is confronted three times and asked if he knew Jesus. All three times he denied knowing Jesus. His words were quite emphatic as we finally see him saying, “I don’t know the man!” As we know how this story ended we see Peter weeping as he remembers the words Jesus had spoken to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

Oh, our dear Peter, even before this incident we saw him use the word never to his Lord and Savior. When Jesus tells him what He must suffer and that He will be killed, Peter hastily responds with, “Never, Lord! … This shall never happen to you!” Jesus then sharply rebukes Peter by saying, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Later in the book of Acts we see Peter once again having an exchange with the Lord over his use of the word never. Peter says, “Never, Lord, … But the voice from heaven came again, ‘If God says something is acceptable, don’t say it isn’t.’” Wonder why he took so long to learn? More importantly, will we ever learn not to speak careless words?

Although we must be careful saying we will never do something, it is comforting to know our heavenly Father uses the word never in a trustworthy manner. He has made wonderful vows such as, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” After the devastating flood our heavenly Father makes a vow using the word never saying,  “Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” We have confidence that His promises are just and true.

Dearest girlfriends, let us not speak careless words, but carefully consider what the Lord’s will is.

Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: ”‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’  But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same. ~ Matthew 26:31-35 NIV
 
Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said. But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.” He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!” After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away.” Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. ~ Matthew 26:69-75
  
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” ~ Matthew 16:21-23 NIV
 
And I heard a voice say, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.’ “ ‘Never, Lord,’ I replied. ‘I have never eaten anything forbidden by our Jewish laws.’ “But the voice from heaven came again, ‘If God says something is acceptable, don’t say it isn’t.’ ~ Acts 11:7-9 NIV
 
Now then, listen, you wanton creature, lounging in your security and saying to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me. I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children.’ Both of these will overtake you in a moment, on a single day: loss of children and widowhood. ~ Isaiah 47:8-9 NIV
 
… God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” ~ Hebrews 13:5 NIV
 
Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. ~ Genesis 9:14-15 NIV
 
The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” ~ Genesis 8:21-22 NIV
 
But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. ~ Matthew 12:36-37 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

Falling Into the Hands of Mercy

Jan 04

by Victoria Robinson

How and when our heavenly Father chooses to have mercy on us is a mystery. In fact what the Lord told Moses only deepens the mystery. He said, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy …” The Hebrew word for mercy King David used in the twenty-fourth chapter of Second Samuel is racham, which means compassion, and tender love. He was in distress and relied upon the thought of falling into the hands of the Lord for His mercy.

The mystery of His mercy is unexplainable. Nothing exemplifies this more than the parable of The Workers in the Vineyard. This story shows us the complete mercy of our heavenly Father. Here we see a landowner hiring men to work in his vineyard for a day and agreeing to pay them each a denarius. Sounds straight forward and fair to all the workers except not all the workers worked all day. In fact he hired workers throughout the day so that some worked all day and the last ones hired worked only one hour. When the pay was given, each man got the same pay of one denarius. The workers who had worked all day were upset at the irrationality of the pay scale. Why should they be paid the same as those working less hours, and yet the landowner set them straight in his answer. He said, “Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?” This story brings to mind all of the comments I have heard from lost people who say, “God would never let a murderer or worse into heaven just the same as a good man like Billy Graham.” The mystery of our heavenly Father’s mercy is the only explanation for such a gracious act of generosity.

There is however one aspect of mercy where you will find no mystery. To retain the mercy your heavenly Father has lavished on you, you must give mercy to those in your life.

Our heavenly Father’s mercy is a mystery and unexplainable which is good for us all. Girlfriends, lest you think His mercy is doled out wrongly, you better look into the annuls of your own life and consider the wonderous mercy He has shown you. Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would marvel at the mystery of His mercy and give thanks that His love is unconditional.

David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.” ~ 2 Samuel 24:14 NIV
 
 
What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? ~ Romans 9:14-24 NIV 
 
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. “About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace … He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. “He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. … “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ “The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ “But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ ~ Matthew 20:1-15 NIV
 
“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart. ~ Matthew 18:32-35 NIV