Posts Tagged ‘Jerusalem’

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

Easy Living

Dec 11

by Victoria Robinson

In the 1937 classic comedy, Easy Living, we find the leading lady, Mary Smith, broke and in dire circumstances. Through some very funny events, Mary, who is still broke, soon finds herself living in a luxury apartment. Mary is living an easy life, even though her life is imperfect. By the end of the movie Mary finds true happiness.

Does an easy life mean an idyllic life? According to a story found in the book of Jeremiah, not necessarily so. Imagine living as an exile from your homeland, yet still having an easy life. Sounds like a paradox doesn’t it? Here we find the Israelites having been carried into exile by God, the one no less, telling them to live a wonderful life. The truth we can take from this is to look at our lives right now, no matter how difficult, and look for the good things God has for us.

Jesus himself told us, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Yet He also told us, “In this world you will have trouble.” He also went on to say, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Dearest girlfriends, I pray that no matter how imperfect our lives are, we would look for the “easy living” found in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
 
This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” ~ Jeremiah 29:4-7 NIV 
 
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33 NIV
 
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~ Matthew 6:34 NIV

What Are You Getting Intoxicated On?

Nov 09

by Victoria Robinson

There are at least four ways a person can become intoxicated. The first is being intoxicated on love as we see described in the romantic scriptures found in Song of Solomon. The second is the most obvious, by becoming physically intoxicated. God clearly shows us this is not wise. The third is shown to us in the book of Isaiah where God calls Jerusalem to awaken from her spiritual drunkenness due to sin.  The fourth is to become intoxicated on the Spirit as found in the book of Acts. This is where God says not to get drunk on wine, but instead be filled with the Spirit.

The first kind of intoxication is certainly wonderful as long as you are in a godly relationship. The second and third way to get intoxicated are really one and the same. Both are simply sin. So girlfriends, is there some sin in your life that is making you stagger in drunkenness? Just like alcohol, sin can overtake you gradually. One sin doesn’t necessarily make you stagger in drunkenness. Maybe even two does not seem to bother you. But in the end all sin, whether a little sip or a large swig will be harmful. The more you sin, the more your heart becomes hardened.

The fourth is the best way to be intoxicated, that is to be drunk on the Spirit of God. There is no better feeling than to revel in your relationship to your heavenly Father. Dearest girlfriends, let us not get drunk on sin, but instead be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Therefore hear this, you afflicted one, made drunk, but not with wine. This is what your Sovereign LORD says, your God, who defends his people: “See, I have taken out of your hand the cup that made you stagger; from that cup, the goblet of my wrath, you will never drink again. ~ Isaiah 51:21-22 NIV
  
Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt! They beat me, but I don’t feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?” ~ Psalm 23-29-35 NIV
 
Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise. ~ Proverbs 20:1 NIV
 
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— for your love is more delightful than wine. ~ Song of Solomon 1:2
 
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. ~ Ephesians 5:18 NIV
 
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. ~ Ephesians 4:30-31 NIV
 
They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. ~ Ephesians 4:18-19 NIV
 
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.~ Titus 3:7 NIV
 
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. ~ Romans 14:17-18 NIV

A Passionate Worker

Nov 08

by Victoria Robinson
  
Do you have a heart of  passion when it comes to your work? Whether your work includes working outside the home or not, you need to have a passion in all the work you perform. Most importantly we should have a passionate heart concerning our service to God. Scripture shows us that we cannot really separate our work into compartments. Our service to our families, career, and what we would consider the Lord’s work are really all one and the same. They are really all service to our Lord and Savior.
 
When it comes to serving our families, we are to have a passion like the woman found in the thirty-first chapter of the book of Proverbs. As for serving our employers, we are to look at it as serving the Lord recognizing He will reward us. The Lord’s work really encompasses both of these types of work as well as our service in ministry.
 
If your financial situation makes it necassary to work, you need to thank God for His provision. The Word of God says, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”  When you think about working for an employer, maybe you surmise that the problem with lack of passion is because you are working for a harsh person who treats you unfairly. While this is hard to accomplish, God has made it clear that we are to still to serve with passion. On the other hand, if your boss is a wonderful Christian, the Word of God warns us not to take this for granted, but to serve them even better, because those who benefit from their service are believers.  

Our ambition as to when and where we serve should never come from our own desires, but rather looking to our heavenly Father’s desires instead. The apostle Paul showed this clearly in the book of Romans where he says he wanted to come to Rome for years, but he had waited until his work in Greece was finished.
 
Sometimes the problem with lack of passion in our service is that we are not serving in an area God has chosen for us. When I first accepted Jesus Christ into my heart, I was eager to get started serving. I found myself volunteering in several areas of the church. Sometimes I was miserable and had to realize that I was not in God’s will. I did endeavor to serve in one area where I found myself in over my head. I was extremely excited to enroll in an evangelism training program. This program was intense and required much memorization as well as a boldness to speak to strangers. I was able to master the memorization, but when it came to talking, I was just plain tongue-tied. Fear gripped my heart to the point of becoming ill. However, there was something that kept me going. That was a passion and belief that God has called us to share the gospel with the world. Because of the grace of God, I not only completed the class, but also the commitment I had made to train others. Little did I know at the time just how tremendously God was going to use this in my life. Over the years I have since trained a multitude of people how to share their faith. The passion God has given me has made all the difference.  

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would always be passionate in whatever work we are called by our heavenly Father to accomplish.
 
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. ~ Ecclesiastes 9:10 NIV 
  
 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. ~ Proverbs 31:27 NIV
  
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV

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 15:10 NIV 
 
Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. ~ Colossians 3:22-24 NIV 
  
Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. ~ 1 Peter 2:18-19 NIV
  
Those who have believing masters are not to show less respect for them because they are brothers. Instead, they are to serve them even better, because those who benefit from their service are believers, and dear to them. These are the things you are to teach and urge on them. ~ 1 Timothy 6:2 NIV 

For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:7-10 NIV
  
But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to see you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while. Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there. ~ Romans 15:23-25 NIV
   
We work hard with our own hands. … ~ 1 Corinthians 4:12 NIV
  
And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, … ~ Colossians 1:10 NIV
  
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. ~ Romans 12:11 NIV