Posts Tagged ‘israelites’

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

His Timing Is Everything

Aug 24

by Victoria Robinson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

♥ Seeking Restoration ♥

Jul 03

by Victoria Robinson

Three times within the eightieth Psalm, the psalmist seeks restoration from God. Each time he says, “Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.” Our need for restoration comes from varied reasons. Sometimes it is due to our own sinfulness. Other times it is due to circumstances beyond our control. It can even be due to the need to intercede for someone else.

  • King Nebuchadnezzar found himself desolate because of pride. As soon as he repented and acknowledged that the Most High is sovereign his sanity and kingdom were restored.
  • Joseph needed restoration not because of sin, but because of the providence of God. Throughout his ordeal he glorified God and eventually experienced immense restoration.
  • A man of God interceded for King Jeroboam for his hand to be restored.

Girlfriends, do you need restoration either for yourself or a friend? The Israelites received gracious restoration of an ugly devastation they endured due to sin. The prophet Joel describes how a great army of locusts had devoured Israel and then goes on to proclaim the words of the Lord, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten … You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. ” The psalmist gives us great hope for restoration when he says, “Who, O God, is like you? Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.”

Dearest girlfriends, let us seek the Lord for restoration of anything we need in our lives as well as our friends. 

Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. ~ Psalm 80:3 NIV
 
Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things. Who, O God, is like you? Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again. ~ Psalm 71:19-21 NIV
 
You have rejected us, O God, and burst forth upon us; you have been angry—now restore us! You have shaken the land and torn it open; mend its fractures, for it is quaking. You have shown your people desperate times; you have given us wine that makes us stagger. But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner to be unfurled against the bow. Selah  Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered. ~ Psalm 60:1-5 NIV
 
‘I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm— my great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. ~ Joel  2:25-26 NIV
 
“This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king:  You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes. The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules. Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.”  All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. … At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble. ~ Daniel 4:24-28,3436 NIV 

… he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. ~ Psalm 23:3 NIV

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. ~ Psalm 51:12 NIV

So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and men shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.” ~ Genesis 41:41-44, NIV
 
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. ~ Genesis 45:4-8 NIV
 
When King Jeroboam heard what the man of God cried out against the altar at Bethel, he stretched out his hand from the altar and said, “Seize him!” But the hand he stretched out toward the man shriveled up, so that he could not pull it back. Also, the altar was split apart and its ashes poured out according to the sign given by the man of God by the word of the LORD. Then the king said to the man of God, “Intercede with the LORD your God and pray for me that my hand may be restored.” So the man of God interceded with the LORD, and the king’s hand was restored and became as it was before. ~ 1 Kings 13:4-6 NIV

Whatever He Says

Jun 20

by Victoria Robinson

Girlfriends, whatever is a really big word! When someone agrees to do whatever, it includes everything or anything. That can encompass a whole lot of options! Mary, the mother of our Lord and savior once said of her son, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” This sums up what our life should be like at all times. Notice I said should be because unfortunately most of us do not always walk in obedience to our Lord.

When the prophet Jeremiah confronted the Israelites their response was, “The Lord himself will be our witness that we promise to do whatever he says, even if it isn’t what we want to do. We will obey the Lord so that all will go well for us.” What a wonderful attitude of their hearts! They were not just agreeing to be obedient, but to obey no matter what the Lord said. Matthew Henry wrote these words concerning their obedience.

Though it may seem evil to us, yet we will believe that if God command it it is certainly good, and we must not dispute it, but do it. Whatever God commands, whether it be easy or difficult, agreeable to our inclinations or contrary to them, whether it be cheap or costly, fashionable or unfashionable, whether we get or lose by it in our worldly interests, if it be our duty, we will do it.
Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary

Just like the Israelites, we need to have a heart of obedience so that all will go well for us. Hezekiah’s life was not only spared, but lengthened for fifteen years because he pleaded with the Lord and said, “Don’t forget that I have been faithful to you, Lord. I have obeyed you with all my heart, and I do whatever you say is right.” There is that limitless word again, whatever! Our trust in our Lord should be so complete that we always obey Him in whatever He says.

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would do whatever He says and reap the subsequent rewards.

His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” ~  NKJVJohn 2:5
 
They answered, “The Lord himself will be our witness that we promise to do whatever he says, even if it isn’t what we want to do. We will obey the Lord so that all will go well for us.” ~ Jeremiah 42:5-6 CEV
 
Hezekiah turned toward the wall and prayed, “Don’t forget that I have been faithful to you, Lord. I have obeyed you with all my heart, and I do whatever you say is right.” After this, he cried hard. Before Isaiah got to the middle court of the palace, the Lord sent him back to Hezekiah with this message: Hezekiah, you are the ruler of my people, and I am the Lord God, who was worshiped by your ancestor David. I heard you pray, and I saw you cry. I will heal you, so that three days from now you will be able to worship in my temple. I will let you live fifteen years more, while I protect you and your city from the king of Assyria. I will defend this city as an honor to me and to my servant David. ~ 2 Kings 20:2-6 CEV

♥ 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

Lady Sings the Blues

May 31

by Victoria Robinson

Hannah was a lady who knew how to “sing the blues” because of her troubles. Sadness had overtaken her life to the point that she did not even desire food. What she did desire was unattainable to her. Being barren had taken a great toll on her heart.

As we follow the story of Hannah, we see that the Lord gave her a son named Samuel who grew up to be a godly man. He continued his mother’s legacy of prayer. When the Philistines battled against Israel, Samuel cried out to the Lord and the Lord thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines and gave the Israelites victory that day. When you cry out to the Lord in your distress the effects go far beyond Him answering you—you are creating a godly heritage to those in your life. Now that alone is worth “singing the blues” for!

Girlfriends, are you a lady who is “singing the blues”? Is something troubling your heart to the point of utter despair? Then take your burdens and sadness before the Lord and allow Him to relieve your sorrows as only He can. Then, just as Hannah did, you will be able to sing His praises instead of your blues.

Dearest girlfriends, let us “sing the blues” in our times of trouble so that we can sing His praises when He delivers us.

On the day Elkanah presented his sacrifice, he would give portions of the sacrifice to Peninnah and each of her children. But he gave Hannah a special portion because he loved her very much, even though the Lord had given her no children. But Peninnah made fun of Hannah because the Lord had closed her womb. Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle. Hannah would finally be reduced to tears and would not even eat. “What’s the matter, Hannah?” Elkanah would ask. “Why aren’t you eating? Why be so sad just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?” Once when they were at Shiloh, Hannah went over to the Tabernacle after supper to pray to the Lord. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance. Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. And she made this vow: “O Lord Almighty, if you will look down upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.” As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her. Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. “Must you come here drunk?” he demanded. “Throw away your wine!” “Oh no, sir!” she replied, “I’m not drunk! But I am very sad, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. Please don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.” “In that case,” Eli said, “cheer up! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.” “Oh, thank you, sir!” she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad. The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the Lord once more. Then they returned home to Ramah. When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the Lord remembered her request, and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.” ~ 1 Samuel 1:4-20 NLT

Then Hannah prayed: “My heart rejoices in the Lord! Oh, how the Lord has blessed me! Now I have an answer for my enemies, as I delight in your deliverance. No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. ~ 1 Samuel 2:1-2 NLT

And Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. Then Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him. Now as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the Lord thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and drove them back as far as below Beth Car. Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” ~ 1 Samuel 7:9-12 NKJV

Then at last his people believed his promises. Then they finally sang his praise. ~ Psalm 106:12 NLT

Ain’t Misbehavin’

May 21

by Victoria Robinson

The lyrics to the original 1929 recording of “Ain’t Misbehavin'”, sung by the great jazz musician, Fats Waller, might be good to ponder in light of our relationship with our heavenly Father.
I know for certain,
The one I love,
I through with flirtin’,
It’s just you I’m thinkin’ of.
Ain’t misbehavin’,
I’m savin’ my love for you.

Girlfriends, how about you, do you love God with all your heart or are you flirtin’ with other “gods”? In the book of Exodus the Israelites were warned against flirting with other gods because the one true God is jealous. Other gods can be anything that we devote our love to more than the one true God. Inanimate objects, friends, lovers, or even spiritual leaders are just some of the “gods” we can find ourselves idolizing.

One of my best girlfriends and I attended a conference where a well-known Bible teacher was speaking. I have to tell you, we were both taken aback at the behavior of some of the ladies attending. It truly was bordering on idol worship. Ladies were jockeying for position even to the point of moving other people’s belongings from the seats. We both looked at each other in disbelief. While the speaker was incredible and there is no doubt she does not encourage worship of herself, we were just a little frightened when the doors opened and the “ladies” stampeded in! My friend and I were there to hear the Word of God as spoken through a gifted lady of God—not a “god”.

Dearest girlfriends, let us examine our hearts and make certain there is only room for one true God so that we can honestly say, “Ain’t misbehavin’!”

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. ~ Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV
 
Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. ~ Exodus 34:14 NIV
 
Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. ~ 1 Samuel 12:21 NIV

Immediately!

May 19

by Victoria Robinson

There was a man named Cornelius who was given specific instructions and immediately took action. This quick response ultimately led to a place in heaven for not only this faithful man, but also his relatives and close friends. This story actually encompasses two men who took quick action. The first being Cornelius and the second being the apostle Peter. Peter did not hesitate to go with the men Cornelius had sent to accompany him on this glorious journey. Oh the joys that come from immediately obeying the Lord’s commands. As this story unfolds, Peter would see even more redemption in his life. You see, it was Peter who while Jesus was being brutally beaten spoke these now famous words, “Woman, I don’t know him.” He had so wrongfully denied Jesus three times in that same night. How glorious to go from denying his Lord and Savior to seeing all these wonderful people receive the gift of eternal life because of his bold proclamation!  Two men who did not know each other and yet both benefited from immediately obeying the Lord.

Oh girlfriends, the dangers of not immediately obeying the Word of the Lord can be so devastating. The Israelites who hardened their hearts against the voice of the Lord would never enter the promised land. In fact the book of Hebrews so graphically states, “Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert?” Now contrast that disobedience with the immediate action of the Israelite’s enemies in the book of Exodus. Can’t you just picture Pharaoh’s outrage and unbelief when some of his officials immediately brought in their livestock and servants to prevent them from being destroyed in the fierce storm the Lord promised to send, while at the same time Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened?

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would act immediately when the Lord speaks and reap the rewards He has planned for us.

Cornelius answered: “Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.” ~ Acts 10:30-33 NIV
 
Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. ~ Luke 22:54-62 NIV 
 
As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. ~ Hebrews 3:15-19 NIV
 
Some of Pharaoh’s officials believed what the Lord said. They immediately brought their livestock and servants in from the fields. But those who had no respect for the word of the Lord left them out in the open. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Lift your hand toward the sky, and cause the hail to fall throughout Egypt, on the people, the animals, and the crops.” So Moses lifted his staff toward the sky, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and lightning struck the earth. The Lord sent a tremendous hailstorm against all the land of Egypt. Never in all the history of Egypt had there been a storm like that, with such severe hail and continuous lightning. It left all of Egypt in ruins. Everything left in the fields was destroyed—people, animals, and crops alike. Even all the trees were destroyed. ~ Exodus 9:20-25 NLT

Wait … Before You Speak …

May 14

by Victoria Robinson

The strong leader and prophet Nehemiah, set a wonderful example of being slow to speak for us all to follow. After hearing the distressful news that his fellow Israelites were in trouble, he immediately prayed. Not so amazing since that is the usual action one would expect of a godly man. However, following this scenario is something quite interesting concerning prayer. When King Artaxerxes notices Nehemiah’s sadness and ask him what he wanted, Nehemiah does not just blurt out the overflow of pain in his heart. Instead, he pauses to pray before answering the king. We would do well to follow his example.

These two incidents are actually separated by three months. Nehemiah was a man with a strong conviction of the power of prayer and had prayed during this three-month period. One of his request was for God to grant him favor with King Artaxerxes. After praying for three months it would be easy to think he was “prayed up” and ready to speak up. Not this man who took prayer so seriously—he thought one more prayer was important enough to keep the king waiting.

Our Lord and Savior was an expert at not hurrying to blurt out the thoughts He held so tightly inside. When Pilate questioned Jesus where He was from, He did not immediately answer. When this was taking place, can’t you just imagine how uncomfortable the situation was as Jesus remained silent.

Girlfriends, we tend to look more at our horizontal relationships than our more important vertical relationship—our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It would seem that Nehemiah being the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, a very intimate relationship, would have just blurted out his needs to this powerful man. Instead he trusted more in his vertical relationship with his all-powerful God. A great example to remind us of the power of prayer.

Dearest girlfriends, let us always consider the importance of prayer before we speak.

The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.” ~ Nehemiah 2:4-5 NIV
 
When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” ~ John 19:8-11 NIV
 
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert … ~ Ephesians 6:18 NIV