Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

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

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

Did You Bother to Ask?

Mar 01

by Victoria Robinson

Have you ever jumped into something quickly without bothering to ask the Lord what you should do? Never fails to turn out disastrous when we do not inquire of the Lord concerning our plans. In fact King Solomon said, “Don’t talk before you think or make promises to God without thinking them through.” Unfortunately Joshua and his leaders did not use this principle when they signed a peace treaty with some men they had just met. Turns out these men were deceptive and were actually from Gibeon. Before Joshua led the Israelites into the promised land the Lord had forbidden them to make a treaty with them.

Though the Israelites eventually repented of making a hasty decision, they nonetheless went through needless troubles before everything worked out. They understood that breaking their oath would only be another violation of God’s Word. Herein is another good principle for us to glean from this story. Once we make a hasty decision, it is unwise to violate the Word of God to get out from under it. We must follow God’s principles to find the way to success from our failures.

Dearest girlfriends, let us not be hasty, but ask of the Lord before we make decisions.

Joshua and the other leaders finally believed them. They did not bother to ask the Lord but went ahead and signed a peace treaty. And the leaders of Israel ratified the agreement with a binding oath. Three days later the facts came out—these men were close neighbors. The Israeli army set out at once to investigate and reached their cities in three days. (The names of the cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim.) But the cities were not harmed because of the vow which the leaders of Israel had made before the Lord God. The people of Israel were angry with their leaders because of the peace treaty. ~ Joshua 9:14-18 TLB
  
When the Lord brings you into the Promised Land, as he soon will, he will destroy the following seven nations, all greater and mightier than you are: the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, the Jebusites. “When the Lord your God delivers them over to you to be destroyed, do a complete job of it—don’t make any treaties or show them mercy; utterly wipe them out. Do not intermarry with them, nor let your sons and daughters marry their sons and daughters. That would surely result in your young people’s beginning to worship their gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be hot against you, and he would surely destroy you. ~ Deuteronomy 7:1-4 NLT
 
Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the LORD. ~ Leviticus 19:12 NIV
 
We humans make plans, but the Lord has the final word. We may think we know what is right, but the Lord is the judge of our motives. Share your plans with the Lord, and you will succeed. ~ Proverbs 16:1-3 CEV
 
Don’t talk before you think or make promises to God without thinking them through. God is in heaven, and you are on earth, so don’t talk too much. ~ Ecclesiastes 5:2 CEV
 
It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way. ~ Proverbs 19:2 NIV

A Wonderful Heritage

Jan 03

by Victoria Robinson

Some people have a wonderful heritage. Their family tree is full of famous and admirable relatives. On the other hand some people do not proudly announce their heritage. (Perhaps a few too many black sheep in the tree?) The Word of God speaks of a wonderful heritage that is available to everyone regardless of who has preceded you in your family tree.

This heritage is based on the statutes of the Lord. King David said they were the joy of his heart. These statutes are found in the Word of God and provide rich reading that will give your life the heritage we all desire. Along with learning and obeying the Lord’s statutes, it is important to continue this rich heritage by telling them to the next generation and therefore keeping the heritage going.

Girlfriends, are you more concerned about your earthly heritage or your heavenly heritage. You can determine this by examining your life. Do you set your heart on keeping the Lord’s decrees? Dearest girlfriends, won’t you allow the statutes of the Lord give you a godly heritage today?

Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end. ~ Psalm 119:11-112 NIV
 
O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old— what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. ~ Psalm 18:1-7 NIV

A Glorious New Beginning

Oct 24

by Victoria Robinson 

Each day offers us a chance at a glorious new beginning. Sometimes it is refreshing to think yesterday is gone and today is a new day. Let’s face it girlfriends, we do sin and cause ourselves lots of grief. So it’s a good thing our heavenly Father loves us with an unfailing love and through His mercies He gives us a new beginning each day. Unfortunately this does not work like a magic eraser though. We still have to deal with the consequences of our wrong choices. Yet, God does sometimes in His great mercy take pity on us and relent from the consequences we really deserve. This was the case with the sins Israel had committed. In the book of Psalms it is recorded that, “… he took note of their distress when he heard their cry; for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented.” Girlfriends, it would be a grievous mistake to presume upon the love and mercy of our heavenly Father and live our lives with reckless abandonment and concern for His commands to obey Him. We should constantly be concerned with eliminating sin through desiring a pure heart. Dearest girlfriends, let us come to God with clean hearts, asking for His mercy, as well as His divine power to stop sinning so that we may enjoy tomorrow as a glorious new day!

The unfailing love of the Lord never ends! By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day. ~ Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT 

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. ~ Galatians 6:7-8 NIV

Therefore the LORD was angry with his people and abhorred his inheritance. He handed them over to the nations, and their foes ruled over them. Their enemies oppressed them and subjected them to their power. Many times he delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin. But he took note of their distress when he heard their cry; for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented. He caused them to be pitied by all who held them captive. ~ Psalm 106:40-46 NIV

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. ~ James 4:7-8 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. ~ Romans 9:14-18 NIV

… let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. ~ Hebrews 10:22 NIV

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. ~ 1 Peter 3:1-4 NIV

Relent, O LORD! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants. Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. ~ Psalm 90:13-14 NIV

A New Day Shines

Oct 17

by Victoria Robinson

The prophetic message to Israel found in the book of Isaiah makes one think of the times we are living in today and the need for God’s light to shine on us. Everywhere you go there seems to be talk of the dark times we are in right now. The thought of a new day coming is refreshing. But, just when will a new day arrive? Perhaps in your life you are waiting for a new job, better finances, or any number of things to get better. Whatever situation seems dark to you, rest assured God wants to bring forth a new day of light in His timing. Just as this prophecy for Israel will come about when God is ready, so it is with the requests we have laid before Him in prayer. While we are waiting on God, let us seek to live a righteous life which will make us shine brightly to others. Dearest girlfriends, whatever darkness may be in your life, I pray you would arise and see the light that comes from the glory of the Lord.

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. ~ Isaiah 60:1-2 NIV
 
The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out. ~ Proverbs 13:9 NIV

Seeking Restoration

Sep 28

by Victoria Robinson

Ever felt destitute because the enemy has ravaged your life? This is how Jeremiah felt in the book of Lamentations. He said there was “no one to restore my spirit.” Is there any hope for all you have lost? Regardless of what has caused your need for restoration, God is there for you. Sometimes as in the case of the Israelites, your destruction is the result of sin. Other times it can be like the story of Job, where you have not sinned, and by God’s divine providence, destruction has come in your life.

Obviously if you have sinned you need to have a change of heart and ask God for forgiveness. This will not always insure restoration, as in the case of the Israelites refusing to enter the promised land and then having a change of heart. God warned them not to go. He made it clear through Moses that they would perish if they pressed on. The foolish ones went ahead and suffered the consequences. Even if God does not choose to restore all you have lost, the only way to have your best life now is through repentance.

If your situation is like Job’s, then you need to press on in prayer and pleadings to God for restoration. Remember, God’s view is eternal not temporal. Even if restoration does not take place until the other side of eternity, do not let the enemy turn your heart against God. It might just be that God does have restoration for you right here on earth. The book of Joel says God would restore the years the locust had devoured Israel. Remember moaning and lamenting will only prolong God’s rescue for you. If you have experienced loss because someone has wronged you, then put that aside today by forgiving them, and pray for God to bless them, as bitterness will hinder you from receiving restoration from God.

There is one type of restoration I believe God wants for all who need it. That is the restoration of the joy of salvation. If you have lost your joy, then pray right now for God to restore that in your life. Never give up praying for restoration, even if it takes years. God is most interested in your heart being turned to Him. Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would seek God’s restoration for our lives.

“This is why I weep and my eyes overflow with tears. No one is near to comfort me, no one to restore my spirit. My children are destitute because the enemy has prevailed.” ~ Lamentations 1:16
 
So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; And My people shall never be put to shame. ~ Joel 2:25-26
 
Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” … After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. ~ Job 1:8-12, 42:10
 
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. ~ Psalm 51:12