Posts Tagged ‘prophet jeremiah’

The Goodness of Suffering

Jun 29

by Victoria Robinson

Some words just naturally go together. Like …

peaches & cream

dates & romance

ice cream & summer

vacation & fun

chocolate & strawberries

But some word combinations bring to mind the term oxymoron. There are just some word combinations that seem contradictory. Like the words goodness and suffering. Yet without tremendous suffering you and I could never experience the goodness of God. The sufferings of Christ are so descriptively written in the Word of God that I do not personally enjoy reading those verses the way I do the scriptures that paint a beautiful picture in my mind. For instance the words of the prophet Jeremiah when he said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. … Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful.” Now that sounds like fun! 

Yet as a child of God we must come to understand the goodness of suffering. The apostle Peter tells us we should not be surprised by painful trials we suffer. He also tells us we should rejoice that we participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that we may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. This is really the key to understanding suffering. The fact that everything in our lives is designed to bring glory to God. Again Peter speaks of suffering when he tells us that Christ suffered thereby leaving us an example. 

One of my dearest friends and I, always jest that when suffering comes our way, both of us are quick to look for the exit door. We just want the pain to stop and stop right now. The apostle James said, “As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered.” When the apostle James spoke about the sufferings of Job he said, “You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” So once again we find a great contradiction in our human thinking. Jobs tremendous sufferings and God’s compassion and mercy. 

The apostle Paul left a legacy of Godly suffering. His life as a Christian began with God saying, “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Paul was quick to embrace suffering. He said, “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” His focus in life was to share the eternal salvation he had found when he embraced Jesus as Lord and Savior and to help people grow in the grace and knowledge of their Savior. When the Holy Spirit warned him that prison and hardships were facing him in Jerusalem he said, “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” 

Dearest girlfriends, let us embrace the goodness of God when sufferings come our way and seek to glorify Him. 

In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. ~ Hebrews 2:10 NIV 

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful. ~ Jeremiah 31:3-4 NIV 

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. ~ 1 Peter 4:12-13 NIV 

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” ~ 1 Peter 2:19-22 NIV 

Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. ~ James 5:10-11 NIV 

But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” ~ Acts 9:15-16 NIV 

“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. ~ Acts 20:22-24 NIV 

Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. ~ Hebrews 10:32-36 NIV 

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. ~ 2 Timothy 2:8-10 NIV 

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. ~ 2 Timothy 1:8-12 NIV

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

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

The Pain of Disappointment

Jun 10

by Victoria Robinson

The prophet Jeremiah once inquired of God, “I am badly injured and in constant pain. Are you going to disappoint me, like a stream that goes dry in the heat of summer?” There can be great pain when we are disappointed. Consider some of the people before us who had to deal with disappointment.

  • Naomi experienced the disappointment of losing her husband and sons and even changed her name to Mara which means bitter.
  • Amongst tremendous other woes, Job had to endure the disappointment of fair-weather friends.
  • The widow living in Zarephath who had tended to Elijah’s needs, and whose son became ill and died.

Strangely enough the Word of God clearly states, “For the Scriptures tell us that no one who believes in Christ will ever be disappointed.” So how in the world does this truth come together with the pain of disappointment we see over and over in the Scriptures? Needless to say, all Scriptures need to be looked at in light of the entire Bible. While there certainly will be disappointments, the final outcome of our lives can be victorious. Every example of disappointment listed above does have a great ending.

Clearly all of our disappointments towards God are a result of not accepting His will. There is however another form of disappointment that can actually be good. That is when we are disappointed in our own sinful actions and turn to our heavenly Father in repentance. Make no mistake that sorrow without repentance does us no good. The apostle Paul said, “For God can use sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek salvation. We will never regret that kind of sorrow. But sorrow without repentance is the kind that results in death.”

Dearest girlfriends, lets us place our trust in our heavenly Father when we are faced with the pain of disappointment.

I am badly injured and in constant pain. Are you going to disappoint me, like a stream that goes dry in the heat of summer? ~ Jeremiah 15:18 CEV

For the Scriptures tell us that no one who believes in Christ will ever be disappointed. ~ Romans 10:11 TLB

“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” ~ Ruth 1:20-21 NIV

The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” ~ Ruth 4:14-15 NIV

… But they were disappointed, just as I am with you. Only one look at my suffering, and you run away scared. ~ Job 6:20-21 CEV

After Job had prayed for his three friends, the Lord made Job twice as rich as he had been before. Then Job gave a feast for his brothers and sisters and for his old friends. They expressed their sorrow for the suffering the Lord had brought on him, and they each gave Job some silver and a gold ring. The Lord now blessed Job more than ever … ~ Job 42:10-12 CEV 

Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?” ~ 1 Kings 17:17-18 NIV 
 
“Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. Then he cried out to the LORD, “O LORD my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this boy’s life return to him!” The LORD heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!”  ~ 1 Kings 17:19-23 NIV
 
For God can use sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek salvation. We will never regret that kind of sorrow. But sorrow without repentance is the kind that results in death. ~ 2 Corinthians 7:10 NLT

And so the Lord says, “I’m laying a firm foundation for the city of Zion. It’s a valuable cornerstone proven to be trustworthy; no one who trusts it will ever be disappointed. ~ Isaiah 26:16 CEV

… Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed. ~ Isaiah 49:23 NIV

Oh What a Little Boasting Can Do!

Mar 05

by Victoria Robinson

A great accomplishment certainly seems worthy of a little crowing and yet there is the downfall. If we are not giving God all the glory, boasting will result in pride. Pride will then in turn result in our downfall. However if we are only glorifying our Lord, pride has no place in our life.

The Apostle Paul said, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ …” The prophet Jeremiah gave us this admonition, “Let them boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who is just and righteous, whose love is unfailing, and that I delight in these things.” Boasting on our Lord not only brings glory to Him, but it is instrumental in others coming to know Him. Hearing of His greatness is like salt on the tongue of the lost who will in turn seek out water—the living water of Jesus Christ!

Boasting also encourages our sisters and brothers in the Lord. Our testimony of God’s faithfulness can help others believe Him for what they need.

Dearest girlfriends, let us never boast of our own accomplishments, but only what the Lord has done.

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. ~ Proverbs 16:17 NIV
 
This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise man gloat in his wisdom, or the mighty man in his might, or the rich man in his riches. Let them boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who is just and righteous, whose love is unfailing, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken! ~ Jeremiah 9:23-24 NLT
 
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. ~ Galatians 6:14 NIV
 
But, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:17-18 NIV
 
My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. ~ Psalm 34:2 NIV
 
In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever. ~ Psalm 44:8 NIV

Who’s Responsible?

Feb 27

by Victoria Robinson

Who’s responsible? Our dear ancestor Sarai tried to blame her husband for her misery. Yet as we back up in the story we see it was actually Sarai’s idea that started her misery. When Sarai grew impatient waiting on God to give her a child, she concocted a disastrous plan. She told her husband Abram to go sleep with her maidservant Hagar. After he did and Hagar became pregnant, Sarai’s  idea that gave birth to sin blossomed into full-blown misery for all involved. Now Sarai tells Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering.”

Really girlfriends??? Do we really believe Sarai? Should she not have realized she was responsible for her own conduct? Yes, there were plenty of guilty parties involved, but the point of this is we are responsible for our own conduct. We are to conduct our lives with the awareness of God’s truth. The apostle Paul said, “For we are each responsible for our own conduct.” The prophet Jeremiah said this about our own conduct, “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” Notice he does not say we would be judged according to our neighbor’s deeds.

It is always easy to look around for someone else to blame for our problems instead of looking inward and examining our own hearts. Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would conduct ourselves responsibly.

Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. ~ Galatians 6:4-5 NLT
  
Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.” ~ Genesis 16:5 NIV
 
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. ~ Genesis 16:1-2 NIV
 
 “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” ~ Jeremiah 17:10 NIV

Who’s Misleading You?

Jan 17

by Victoria Robinson

Ultimately you know who the misleader is—the enemy of your soul—Satan. It is nonetheless important to consider who he uses to do his bidding. It could even be your very own friends. In the words of the prophet Jeremiah, “They misled you and overcame you— those trusted friends of yours. Your feet are sunk in the mud; your friends have deserted you.” The apostle Paul warned us when he said, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

After Jesus had fasted and prayed for forty days, the devil tried to mislead Him by telling Him Scripture. Hmmm… scary thought that the devil uses Scripture himself to deceive. Just because a friend, preacher, or teacher uses Scripture does not mean they are not leading you astray. You must examine the Scriptures yourself to understand the truth. This is also your only defense against the enemy. Jesus knew the Scriptures and spoke them back in correct context to the devil. Girlfriends, don’t go about being defenseless because you are not aware of the Word of God.

It is essential to examine your life and recognize who might be used of the enemy to mislead you. Jesus did this when He told his good friend Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

What about you? Have you ever been the misleader in your friend’s life? Anytime you do not have in mind the things of God, you influence on your friends can be damaging to their souls.

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would be alert at who’s misleading us and be careful not to be an instrument of the enemy to mislead others.

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:33-34 NIV
 
… “Obey the LORD by doing what I tell you. Then it will go well with you, and your life will be spared. But if you refuse to surrender, this is what the LORD has revealed to me: All the women left in the palace of the king of Judah will be brought out to the officials of the king of Babylon. Those women will say to you: “‘They misled you and overcame you— those trusted friends of yours. Your feet are sunk in the mud; your friends have deserted you.’ ~ Jeremiah 38:20-22 NIV
 
 The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The oracles they gave you were false and misleading. ~ Lamentations 2:14 NIV
 
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ”‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” ~ Matthew 4:5-7 NIV
 
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. ~ Acts 17:11 NIV
 
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” ~ Matthew 16:21-23 NIV
 
Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. ~ 1 John 3:7-8 NIV